"The fellowship and the meetings of the Intercollegiate gathering at Silver Day have been of tremendous help to me." These are the words of a Harvard undergraduate and what he says regarding the conference last year has been echoed by literally thousands of college men since the first summer student conference in 1886. In the thirty-six years that have elapsed, these college summer conferences have multiplied until last year 166 conferences were held throughtout the world with a total attendance of 31, 311. What was a venture of faith on the part of Dwight L. Moody in 1886 is now so vital a part of the Christian experience of the world that the elimination of any of these conferences is practically unthinkable. The tendency is all in the other direction. The reasons are not difficult to discover. They become quite apparent as one searches. The setting, the program and the leadership of a conference like Silver Bay for instance reveal the secret of its popularity and power.
Attractive Situation Chosen
Like George stands practically supreme for its beauty and charm among all the lakes of our country. In one of its most attractive bays the conference grounds are located. Every facility for recreation of all kinds and all the material equipment for a large gathering are there ready for the use of the six to eight hundred college and, university delegates. The setting is ideal and its charm is immediately apparent.
The program is designed of challenge all that is most adventurous and Christian in the lives of the delegates. The first hour of each day of the conference is devoted to a careful study of campus problems in the light of the teachings of Jesus. The second hour is the great forum hour. At this period in forum fashion such subjects as the following are discussed under very able leadership: Christian Foundations.
Social Implications of the Christian Gospel.
International Problems and Christian Solutions.
Homeland Problems and Christian Solutions.
Two hours of each day are devoted to platform messages that deal with the outstanding Christian needs of the hour. As one delegate has put it: "One sees the world in ten days; that is, those parts of the world at home and abroad that are in most desperate human need."
Christian Spirit Needed
It is assumed that all delegates are Charistian and that therefore all, whatever their future vocation, will share and share alike in the responsibility of Christianizing all human relationships upon the campus and in the world at large.
The task is so huge and fraught with so many difficulties that only the most adventurous enlist for life, but even so, the whole conference is lifted to high levels and many who do not reach the heights catch visions of service that never leave them even though they follow the Christ haltingly and afar off.
The leadership of the conference, especially this year, is unusually strong. Such men as Henry Sloane Coffia, Harry Fosdick, John McDowell, Robert E. Speer, John R. Mott, Fletcher Brockman, F. E. Johnson, Arthur Rugh, E. T. Colton guarantee the rare quality of the service in advance. These men with one or two exceptions were selected by the delegates of last year's conference because of their unusual acceptance to college men. Other leaders of proven quality will also be on the grounds and available for friendly interviews.
The conference lasts not for a day or for a week end but for eight full days, giving ample time for recreation, for fellowships, for inspiration and above all for that quiet study of one's self, one's world, one's God, that is so indispensable to all our college men in these days of little thinking and much jazz.
Aside from the task of helping all delegates to become more vitally and intelligently Christian, the object of the Conference is to achieve in eight days what we hope each college and University Association will accomplish for all their students in a given year.
"The Silver Bay Conference led me to a definite decision to enter the Christian ministry and I am confident that it was equally helpful to other fellows. We must have more Harvard men there next year and we will."
May this prediction from the pen of another Harvard delegate prove true.