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Facilitating the thoughtful 
consideration of a Christian understanding of life and culture in the university community

PURPOSE

OUR PURPOSE

The Christian Study Center brings together students, faculty, and community members to explore the intellectual and cultural resources of the Christian tradition. Drawing on these resources we engage at the highest levels of scholarship in order to address enduring human questions and respond to challenges created by contemporary culture.

COMMITMENTS

OUR COMMITMENTS

While the center’s guests represent a broad range of viewpoints, the Study Center roots its work in the Christian faith as articulated in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments and as summarized in the early creeds of the Christian Church.
 

In keeping with its Christian commitment, the Study Center takes a conversational approach to its educational program and promotes academic freedom. We seek to enlarge and extend conversations rather than narrow or end them, and we gladly share our lectern with those who share our questions — whether or not they share our Christian commitments.
 

The Study Center supports higher education, affirms critical thinking, works collaboratively with the University of Florida, and seeks to contribute to the intellectual life of the university community. In all it does the Study Center promotes human flourishing and serves the common good.

STORY

OUR
STORY

The Christian Study Center was conceptualized by a group of Christian academics in Gainesville, Florida. Representing a spectrum of denominational backgrounds, their desire was to see a center introduced to the university community which would bring together faculty, students, clergy, and community members to explore the intellectual and cultural resources of the Christian tradition and to cultivate an on-going conversation about how the Christian tradition might contribute to the life of the university in ways that are both challenging and enriching. 

WE ARE DEDICATED TO ENCOURAGING THE THOUGHTFUL CONSIDERATION OF A CHRISTIAN UNDERSTANDING OF LIFE AND CULTURE IN SERVICE TO THE
UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY

PEOPLE

OUR STAFF

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MICHAEL SACASAS

Executive Director

Email: mike@christianstudycenter.org

Michael Sacasas earned his MA in Theological Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary in 2002. He was later a doctoral candidate at the University of Central Florida studying the relationship between technology and society with a focus on the work of Hannah Arendt. Along the way he has taught in a variety of settings, served as a school administrator, and written extensively on technology and society. He is an Associate Fellow in Ethics and Culture at the Greystone Theological Institute.

Michael has written for The New Atlantis, Comment, Plough, The New Inquiry, Real Life Magazine, Mere Orthodoxy, The American, and Second Nature Journal. His work has also been featured in The Atlantic, Vox, and the New York Times. He writes The Convivial Society, a popular newsletter on technology, culture, and the moral life.  Michael and Sarah have been married since 2008 and are currently delighted and exhausted by the task of raising their two young daughters. 

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ANABEL WHITE

Director of Advancement

Email: anabel@christianstudycenter.org

An Orlando native, Anabel graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s in Tourism and Hospitality. She came through our doors as a Pascal’s Barista Fellow from 2021-2023, where she treasured three years of formation and growth behind the coffeebar. Soon after, she stepped into the role of Hospitality Director, where she exercises her culinary creativity at all of our programming. In July 2023, she became the interim Administrator before becoming the Director of Advancement in January 2024. When she’s not at work, she’s likely cooking (surprise!), exploring Gainesville’s nature, Salsa dancing, or spending time with friends and family.

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LAURA LYNCH

Donor Relations

Email: laura@christianstudycenter.org

Laura, along with her husband Jay, had the privilege to help prepare for and begin the Christian Study Center of Gainesville in 2000. Early on she served as building manager, volunteer recruiter, prayer team leader, and publicity hound. She continues to promote the Center in churches and small groups, through the newsletter, Under Consideration, the quarterly prayer letter, and through special events such as our 10 year anniversary and alumni reunion.   Laura serves as a part-time, pro bono director of development. Laura has four grown children and three grandsons.

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SYCORA BENAVIDES

Manager, Pascal's Coffeehouse

Email: manager@christianstudycenter.org

Sycora Benavides grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, and graduated from the University of Florida in 2021 with a degree in Health Science. While still an undergraduate she joined the staff of the Christian Study Center of Gainesville as a barista in Pascal’s Coffeehouse, served as Assistant Manager in 2021-2022, and now serves as Pascal's Manager. Sycora also furthers the spiritual formation of our barista staff by leading our Barista Society in shared readings and dinners. Sycora views Pascal’s Coffeehouse as the embodiment of the understanding of life that the Study Center seeks to explore. She loves creating communities that thrive, and she also enjoys running, reading, singing, exploring--and really anything fun.

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RUTHIE JO POPP

Accountant

Ruthie Jo Popp grew up on a farm in central Illinois, received her BA in Biblical Studies from Wellesley College, and her MBA from Babson College.  With a CPA license she has worked for 14 years in public accounting, the last 6 years specializing in not-for-profit audits. She has been the accountant for the Christian Study Center in Gainesville since 2005.  She is married with 3 grown children. On free weekends, she and her husband, Mick, enjoy visiting their daughters in Jacksonville and St. Augustine. When time allows, they visit their son and daughter-in-law in Houston, Texas.  Ruthie Jo is active in her church and also likes to read, knit, do Sudoku puzzles, travel, and cruise.

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RICHARD HORNER

Director Emeritus

OUR BOARD MEMBERS

ERNESTO ESCOTO PhD Counseling Psychology, New Mexico State University. Director, Clinical Assistant Professor, Counseling and Wellness Center, University of Florida
 

LAURIE GODDARD MEd/EdS Marriage and Family Therapy, University of Florida. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

BRENT HENDERSON PhD Linguistics, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Associate Professor of Linguistics, University of Florida

JAY LYNCH  MD from Eastern Virginia Medical School. Assistant Dean for Admissions and Professor of Medicine in Hematology Oncology, College of Medicine, University of Florida 

MICHAEL NARDELLA JD, University of Florida, Levin College of Law, Managing Partner, Nardella & Nardella

MIKE O'MALLEY  MA Humanities, University of Chicago. Academic Advisor, College of Engineering, University of Florida

MICHAEL SACASAS  MA Theological Studies, Reformed Theological Seminary. Executive Director, Christian Study Center

KATHLEEN WEINERT BS, Family, Youth, and Community Sciences, University of Florida. Realtor, Keller Williams

CINDY ZIMMERMAN BA, English, University of Florida. President/CEO, SS Designs

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