European Summer Scholar Program

Every summer for six weeks a group of twelve to fifteen leaders from the Church in Central and Eastern Europe engage in an academic project, receive guidance from Wheaton professors, and utilize the high-quality academic resources and evangelical library that Wheaton College has to offer.

This program is also provides the opportunity for participants to become more familiar with Christian churches in the United States and with Christian higher education and to undertake an academic project related to their work as current or future Christian leaders.  When possible, each individual is mentored by at least one Wheaton College faculty member with expertise in the project topic.  In addition, the leaders benefit greatly from the interaction and shared experience they have with one another. While this is an academic study program, it is also an opportunity to live and participate in Christ-centered learning community with fellow Europeans and Americans. 

Every three years, some of the alumni from the Summer Program are able to come together in Europe to enjoy fellowship and dialogue about the major challenges for the Church and spread of the Gospel in Post-Communist Europe.

2024 Program Information

The program will be taking place from June 9th to July 18th, 2023. Participants should try to arrive on June 8th and need to be out of college housing by July 19st.

Each program participant is expected to spend 6-8 hours per day in the study of their selected topic. In addition to your directed project mentored by a Wheaton faculty member, there will be daily group meetings each weekday. During the first two weeks of the program, each participant will share a bit about their own personal story and ministry.

Each weekend, all participants are expected to participate in a variety of worship, educational, and community building activities. Together we will visit churches, cultural sites, and private homes as we seek to better understand community and culture. All personal travel must be scheduled prior to the program or after the program has ended.

Again, please do not hesitate to communicate with us as you have questions, we look forward to meeting you in June. God bless you as you prepare to join us in Wheaton.

Summer Program Story

Don ChurchIn the summer of 1994 Don Church, a former professor and track coach at Wheaton College, visited a study and tutorial program at Cambridge University, England intended for American and Western European scholars. A thought came to his mind, "This study program is great, but the wrong people are here." 

In the 1990's, many pastors and Christian leaders in Post-Communist Central and Eastern Europe had an opportunity, for the first time in decades, to begin work on advanced degrees in Bible, Theology, Church History, and other ministry-related disciplines. Don, who had been visiting the region for decades, was aware that many of his friends who had lived behind the Iron Curtain did not have access to the high quality academic resources and evangelical libraries required to complete work on their theses, dissertations and books. 

Don returned to Wheaton and started spreading the vision of a summer study and tutorial program for Central & Eastern European Christian leaders at Wheaton College. Several professors and people in the Wheaton community caught the vision, and started working together as a team to plan a Summer Study Program that would be a blessing to the church in Central & Eastern Europe. In the summer of 1995, under the direction of Dr. Walter Elwell, six people were invited and participated in the first Central & Eastern European Summer Study Program.