Augustine -- The City of God
July 21-August 4, 2018
Potlatch, Idaho

The world has set this among the few greatest books of all time.

--Marcus Dods

"The City of God" is the most powerful, comprehensive, profound, and fertile production in refutation of heathenism and vindication of Christianity, which the ancient church has bequeathed to us...

--Philip Schaff

What is Summer Hall?

Hill Abbey’s Summer Hall is a one or two-week summer program devoted to the slow reading of one of the early church fathers, with a small group of like-minded people in pleasant, quiet surroundings and a structured, rhythmic schedule. The daily rhythm is begun with matins (Morning Prayer) and ended with vespers (Evening Prayer); and it is varied with walks in the woods, evening fires, short-story reading, and star-gazing. Hill Abbey’s summer session, located in beautiful northern Idaho, is more like a temporary monastery than a college study program or summer camp, and is dedicated to the idea that wisdom and happiness require periodic times of withdrawal from the tyrannical pace and myriad distractions of “normal” life for the sake of reflection, meditation, and focus. In this time we find our focus in listening attentively to the wisdom in the voices of the great fathers of the Christian church. Read more!....


July 21-August 4. Arrive on Saturday afternoon, July 21, opening session on Sunday afternoon, July 22; last session Friday evening August 3, depart on Saturday, August 4.
The Hill, the Callihan's ancestral farm near Potlatch, Idaho, home of Hill Abbey and Schola Classical Tutorials.

Participants arrive on Saturday, July 21th. If flying, airport choices are Spokane (WA) International (airport code GEG), or Lewiston (ID) (airport code LWS). Please make arrangements to arrive at the airport about mid-day (between noon and 5 PM is best) so that we can pick you up and have you back at the Hill in time for dinner. If you arrive earlier than noon or later than 5pm, we can arrange your transportation but it will be more difficult, so strive for that window. See the section on Fees, below, for information on cost of transportation between the airport and Hill Abbey.
Make arrangements to depart on Saturday, August 4; please try not to schedule a very early departure time. Late morning or early afternoon is best. Both airports (Spokane and Lewiston) are around an hour and a half away, so travel time from Potlatch must be taken into account as well as the hour or more you should be at the airport before your flight departs (security waits at both airports are not long).
Housing and food:
All Hill Abby participants are housed and fed right here on the Hill, and we make every effort to provide a comfortable and peaceful environment. Please be sure to alert us as to any food allergies or other medical issues you might have.

What to Bring:

1. Clothing: North Idaho in high summer is hot during the day (80s and 90s) and cool at night (50s) but with low humidity. Bring light casual clothing (shorts, tees, sandals, etc.) for warm weather, but include a sweatshirt, long pants or casual skirt, and tennis shoes/light hiking shoes, etc. for cool evenings and some hiking. Bring some nicer clothes, too, for church services Sunday mornings: casual is fine, but at least long pants (clean jeans are perfectly acceptable) and polo or button shirt for men, skirt or dress for women.

Personal toiletries: the usual, including soap, shampoo, allergy medication, etc. Bedding, pillows, towels, and washcloths will be provided.

3. Bible and any free time reading. There is no need to bring notebooks, pens, or pencils as these will be provided for you.

4. Camera

Cell phones: we do have wifi, but phones must be turned off and put away completely during the reading and quiet times or sparingly as camera in airplane mode. Full use is fine during free times after meals. But please remember, the spirit of Hill Abbey is to avoid such distractions as much as possible, and to pay attention to the readings, to each other, to nature, and to God.


Here is the daily schedule and here is the list of daily readings (except on weekends).

Who can come? (Prerequisites):

This program is for adults 18 to 99 (with flexibility in both directions, of course) of all Christian communions who are interested in hearing what the early church fathers had to say about the Christian faith. It helps greatly to have had some background in Hellenistic (Graeco-Roman) history and literature though this is certainly not a requirement. Being an introvert is not a requirement but the ability to take pleasure in sitting quietly, often alone but also with others, for long stretches is kind of a necessity, because, well, that's a lot of what we do!

Cost and registration:

The Hill Abbey 2018 fee is $995. This includes transportation during Summer Hall (to and from church and some local trips), housing, food, books (Augustine text and personal journal), your official Hill Abbey Summer Hall 2018 t-shirt, and other supplies (pens, pencils, highlighters, etc.).

The fee does not include transportation to and from the airport. We can provide all such transportation for an additional fee of $25 each way. This should be included in the payment of balance (see next paragraph).

To register, or for further information, contact Wes Callihan.

After receiving confirmation of your acceptance, a $200 deposit is required at time of registration in order to hold your place. The balance ($795) is due by June 1, 2018. Make checks out to Wes Callihan and mail to P. O. Box 546, Potlatch ID 83855. Or you may make an electronic payment via PayPal or Square Cash by going to the bottom of this page (ignore everything else on that page).

It opens our eyes to the deep and vital view of history which is the Christian and mystical view, the vision of St. Paul and of the Evangelists who knew that Christ had come into the world "to draw all things to Himself" (John 12:32) and who saw that "all things worked together for the good of them that love God" (Romans 8:28) because all the good and evil of history, all the prosperity and adversity which come upon the saints in this life serve only to forward the growth of the Mystical Christ "unto a perfect man and unto the measure of the age of the fulness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13).  This eschatological view of history contemplates with joy the running out of the sands of time and looks forward with gladness to the Last Day that will make manifest the full and final glory of the "Whole Christ."  The City of God, for those who can understand it, contains the secret of death and life, war and peace, hell and heaven.

--Thomas Merton

Augustine is a philosophical and theological genius of the first order, towering like a pyramid above his age, and looking down commandingly upon succeeding centuries. He had a mind uncommonly fertile and deep, bold and soaring; and with it, what is better, a heart full of Christian love and humility. He stands of right by the side of the greatest philosophers of antiquity and of modern times. We meet him alike on the broad highways and the narrow footpaths, on the giddy Alpine heights and in the awful depths of speculation, wherever philosophical thinkers before him or after him have trod. As a theologian he is facile princeps, at least surpassed by no church father, scholastic, or reformer. With royal munificence he scattered ideas in passing, which have set in mighty motion other lands and later times.

--Philip Schaff