“SUMMA was an unforgettable experience that fundamentally changed my life for the better.”

SUMMA brings together high school students (entering grades 9–12) from across the country to one of the largest and most beautiful college campuses anywhere—the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.

Each day at SUMMA begins and ends with prayer. In between stimulating lectures and discussions, campers explore the domain, play sports and music, engage in arts and crafts, and forge connections with members of the Sewanee community.

Working in small groups, campers research controversies, develop arguments, question claims, seek evidence, debate positions, and sharpen their skills in public speaking, listening, and critical thinking. At the end-of-camp tournament, each camper debates both the affirmative and negative positions of debate resolutions, which have included:

  • Civil disobedience is morally justified.
  • Churches should be gun-free zones.
  • Christians, Muslims, and Jews all worship the same God.
  • Outside the church, there is no salvation.
  • Separation between the state and religion is best for the state and best for religion.

Year after year, campers tell us that SUMMA marked a pivotal point in their lives by sparking their intellectual curiosity, preparing them for college, cultivating an appreciation for the art of rhetoric, and strengthening their appreciation for Christian faith traditions.

The 2024 session of SUMMA Camp will be July 16–24. Applications open in early Fall 2023. We hope you will join us on the Mountain!

Zaige shares how SUMMA broadened his perspective.

Zaige, first year camper, talks about his experience.

Our Mission

At SUMMA, we believe knowledge and reason are key to building a strong foundation for a life of faith. By exploring life’s biggest questions through theological debate, we broaden our students’ understanding of Christianity and its enduring power to deepen faith, hope, and love.

“SUMMA challenged me to think about my faith more deeply…and I will always appreciate that.”


Abby's SUMMA Story

Abby explored her interest in theology and learned how to think on her feet.

Our History

The Rev. Dr. Chris Keller had a big idea: Create a unique summer youth program that would teach high school students how to debate as a unique pathway to explore Christian faith traditions and science, philosophy, literature, politics, and history.

To realize this vision, Chris teamed up with Rev. Cindy Fribourgh and together they founded the SUMMA Student Theological Debate Society. The first SUMMA camp in July 2012 brought together bright, curious high school students to learn how to speak the truth in love.

Sponsored by the Beecken Center of the School of Theology at the University of the South, SUMMA has grown into a nationally known youth program, drawing high school students from across the United States and the globe each July to the University of the South in Sewanee.

“Not only am I more confident in debating with respect, but I feel that my faith has increased substantially.”


SUMMA and the Church with The Rev. Dr. Christoph Keller III

At SUMMA Theological Debate Summer Camp, we strive toward a deeper understanding of the Christian faith. Students learn the critical thinking and debating skills to explore life’s biggest questions and make thoughtful decisions. The program is based on the Anglican tradition, but SUMMA welcomes students of all faiths.

SUMMA campers learn how to connect the Christian intellectual tradition with issues critical to church and society by putting faith together with knowledge from every other sphere of life. SUMMA is raising up a generation of young people that live their faith, enjoy their faith, think deeply about their faith and how it grounds their moral responsibilities in the world.

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“I want young people to know in their bones that Christian faith is part of a great moral, intellectual and spiritual tradition in which questions are raised and opposing viewpoints can be voiced and heard in a spirit of love and reason.”