PO Box 4405
Ithaca, NY 14852-4405
Live Lecture Attendances in 2022
Meals Served in 2022
Course Enrollments Since 2014
What We Do
Every semester, we bring highly sought after speakers who are at the top of their fields to Cornell to speak about their work and the role that their faith plays in it. Click to find out what lectures and other events are coming up.learn more
Chesterton House's living-learning community is made up of three beautiful residences and offers male and female students the opportunity to live in intentional Christian community at Cornell. Click to learn more or apply.learn more
Too many students in college fail to integrate their intellectual growth with their religious faith. Explore your questions about the Christian tradition in Chesterton House’s Logos Seminar, designed to help students develop their minds for God in a sustainable way.learn more
The rationale behind our mission.
Upon graduating from Cornell in 1989, Karl, along with graduate student Ray Zimmerman and a few others, began a small ‘intentional Christian community’ at 201 Stewart Ave. The community was characterized by daily prayer, community meals, and ‘living simply.’ This was not the first such community at Cornell…learn more about our story
We recently purchased the house next door to the men’s facility to be the new women’s residence and built a beautiful patio between the houses to create a unified living-learning campus. We look forward to completing renovations over the next year. Interested in what we’ve done and what we hope to do? Check out our Building for the Future Campaign.learn more about our plans for the future
Executive DirectorRead bio
Pastoral Care & Residential Formation ManagerRead bio
Pastoral Care & Residential Formation Manager
Bailey Trimmell is originally from Texas where she graduated from West Texas A&M University with a degree in social work. From Texas Bailey moved to Memphis, Tennessee for a Systematic Theology program where she worked in various ministry settings. Upon learning of Chesterton House Bailey was immediately drawn to the work Chesterton House was currently involved in and the community they fostered at Cornell University. She moved to Ithaca in 2019 to join the team full time and has since attended Bread of Life Anglican Church. On her days off she can be found curating beautiful spaces, completing the daily Wordle, and feasting among friends.
Student Engagement & Operations ManagerRead bio
Student Engagement & Operations Manager
Marissa was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA where she also graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. In the height of the COVID-19 shut downs, she expanded her knowledge in digital marketing, combined it with her experience in web/graphic design, and founded her own business in Social Media Management. She was recently a member of The Equipping Academy at Mission City Church in NYC developing her skills and knowledge as a Christian leader. Marissa is an anomaly of creative and analytical; in her free time you can find her dancing, reading by the water, or working out tricky calculus equations.
Round Table Project DirectorRead bio
Round Table Project Director
Office ManagerRead bio
Stevie Lazenby graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in Social Work and worked with special needs populations until departing the workforce to start a family. In addition to raising a family, she has filled her time participating in various volunteer activities. She also enjoys baking, paper crafting, hiking, running, biking, and gardening.
Mary Milbrath graduated from Minnesota State University-Moorhead with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting. She passed the CPA exam upon graduation and worked in banking and public accounting before serving as the Director of Finance and Operations of the Fargodome. Mary has spent the last 18 years raising and homeschooling her four children, continuing her work in accounting, and volunteering.
Building SuperintendentRead bio
Thomas grew up in the Finger Lakes region often taking trips to Ithaca with his family, first introduced to Cornell through a Corning Incorporated summer science program tour of the synchrotron. Years later he attended Chesterton House lectures on Cornell’s campus and worked with the organization’s founder Karl Johnson to help the organization establish its residential facilities. He has had the great pleasure of watching God’s blessing on the Chesterton House ministry since 2014.
Executive Assistant and Development CoordinatorRead bio
Executive Assistant and Development Coordinator
Katlyn Wilhoit graduated from Liberty University with a degree in Special Education and Elementary Education. Both during and after graduating, Katlyn worked alongside numerous nonprofit organizations, including campus ministries and churches, in several different administrative and leadership roles. She is currently a stay at home, homeschool, mother of three children.
Peter Biles was born and raised in Ada, Oklahoma and received his B.A. in English at Wheaton College in Illinois. He just recently earned an MFA in creative writing from Seattle Pacific University. He is the author of the novel Hillbilly Hymn (Resource Publications, 2022) as well as many essays and stories in publications such as Plough, The Gospel Coalition, Dappled Things, and Wheaton Magazine. Besides reading, studying, and writing, Peter loves to ride his unicycle, play pick up basketball, kayak, and record music.
Originally from snowy Western New York, Adam received a BA in Religious Studies from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. He is interested in communal learning, ecology, and his catholic faith. Interests which have taken him on journeys to Japan, France, and best of all, the Chesterton House. He recently graduated from the John Jay Institute, a Christian graduate program for development in leadership, prayer, and grounding in philosophy and church history. Aside from these, Adam is a musician, playing the piano, French horn, and accordion for fun.
Learn About Our Founder
Chesterton House Senior FellowRead bio
Chesterton House Senior Fellow
Ryan O’Dowd serves as Chesterton House Senior Fellow and is the founding rector of Bread of Life Anglican Church in Ithaca, NY. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Reformed Theological Seminary, and the University of Liverpool (PhD 2005). His teaching and research interests include Old Testament law, wisdom literature, and poetry, as well as Christian ethics. He has a particular interest in the way cultures throughout history have understood the nature and purpose of work and vocation (calling). He also holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve with almost 30 years of combined service, both Active Duty and Reserve. Ryan and his wife Amy live in Ithaca and have four children.
Articles and chapters:
- “Pain and Danger: Unpleasant Sayings and the Structure of Proverbs,”Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 80 (2018) 619–35
- “Aesthetic Shaping of Agur’s Oracle in Proverbs 30:1–9,”Inner Biblical Allusion in the Poetry of Psalms and Wisdom, eds. Mark Boda, Kevin Chau, Beth Tanner, Society of Biblical Literature (Atlanta: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2018) 103–119
- “A Prophet in the Sage’s House? Origins of the Feminine Metaphors in Proverbs,”Riddles and Revelations: Explorations into the Relationship between Wisdom and Prophecy in the Hebrew Bible, eds. Mark Boda, Russell Meek, William R. Osborne (LHBOTS; London: Bloomsbury/T&T Clark: 2018) 165–79
- “Wisdom and Poetry,”The Old Testament: A Christian Companion, ed. Hywel Clifford (Norwich: SCM Press, 2016) 101–129
- “Epistemology in Ecclesiastes: Remembering What It Means to Be Human,”The Words of the Wise are Like Goads: Engaging Qohelet in the 21st Century, eds. Mark Boda, Tremper Longman III, and Cristian Rata (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2013) 197–219
- Proverbs, Story of God Biblical Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2017)
- Old Testament Wisdom Literature: A Theological Introduction, with Craig Bartholomew (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Academic Press, 2011)
- The Wisdom of Torah: Epistemology in Deuteronomy and the Wisdom Literature, FRLANT (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2009)
Professor and Harold John Ockenga Chair of Biblical StudiesRead bio
Professor and Harold John Ockenga Chair of Biblical Studies
After receiving her undergraduate degree in social psychology from Cornell University and the Master of Divinity degree from Biblical Theological Seminary, Elaine Phillips, along with her husband, Perry, studied and taught for three years in Israel. Upon their return, they taught at a small Christian junior college outside of Philadelphia from 1979-1992 and Elaine earned her Ph.D. in rabbinic literature from The Dropsie College for Hebrew and Cognate Learning in Philadelphia. She has taught biblical studies at Gordon College since 1993 where she serves as the Harold John Ockenga Chair of Biblical Studies. She and Perry have continued to take Gordon students back to Jerusalem University College, where they serve as adjunct faculty for the three-week summer study program in historical geography. In addition to field study in Israel, her areas of interest and scholarly writing include the books of Exodus and Esther, biblical wisdom literature, and rabbinic texts. Her book-length commentary on Esther is included in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, edited by Tremper Longman III and David Garland. In 2014, her devotional, With God, Nothing is Impossible, was published by Deep River Books. Her latest book, An Introduction to Reading Biblical Wisdom Texts was published by Hendrickson Publishing in August 2017. She has received both the Junior and Senior Distinguished Faculty Awards and at the commencement ceremonies in May 2014 was granted the inaugural Distinguished Professor award. She also enjoys music, hiking and all things related to summers in northwestern Ontario.
See how you can get involved and utilize your time, talents and resources.
In addition to residential facilities, courses, and lectures, Chesterton House offers pre-orientation programs for incoming students. Find links to resources for students below.
Cornell University is one of the most prestigious institutions of higher education in the world. Founded in 1865, Cornell is a member of the Ivy League, and the land grant institution for New York State. It consists of thirteen colleges, including both privately endowed and state-assisted colleges. Professional schools include management, law, medicine, and veterinary medicine.
About GK Chesterton
Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was one of the most brilliant and prolific writers of all time. This British journalist’s 100 books, 200 short stories, and over 4000 newspaper essays include history, philosophy, theology, economics, social commentary, and literary criticism. His best known works include Orthodoxy, The Man Who Was Thursday, and the beloved Father Brown detective stories.
Annual Report 2021-2022
Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was one of the most brilliant and prolific writers of all time. This British journalist’s 100 books, 200 short stories, and over 4000 newspaper essays include history, philosophy, theology, economics, social commentary, and literary criticism. His best known works include Orthodoxy, The Man Who Was Thursday, and the beloved Father Brown detective stories. Chesterton’s balance of wit and wisdom with humor and humility makes his style as unforgettable as his person. According to one description, Chesterton “weighed about 300 pounds, usually had a cigar in his mouth, and walked around wearing a cape and a crumpled hat, tiny glasses pinched to the end of his nose, swordstick in hand, laughter blowing through his moustache.”* For his ability to make others both think and laugh at the same time, he was greatly admired even among debating opponents such as George Bernard Shaw, who called him a “colossal genius.” One of the most quoted writers in the English language, Chesterton was a defender of the poor, of the amateur, of common sense, and of Christian faith. First a Unitarian, later an Anglican, and finally a Catholic, Chesterton wrote with broad appeal. His works inspired Mohandas Gandhi to challenge British colonial rule in India, and C.S. Lewis to become a Christian. Chesterton attended art school but never went to college. *Dale Ahlquist, American Chesterton Society
Chesterton House celebrates life, learning, and the study of all things in grateful response to the God of all creation—Father, Son, and Spirit. Made in God’s image, we are called to love our God and serve our neighbor. We are also called to conserve and cultivate the world he has made. Whether we study art, engineering, law, literature, philosophy, or physics, we understand that our calling as students and scholars includes discovering what God is disclosing. We seek to be good stewards of our aptitudes and affections for the flourishing of creation and all who live in it; ideally, our work and worship are one.
Tragically, we have not always been good stewards of this calling. By means of ingratitude, exploitation, and fixing our faith on all the wrong objects, we suffer estrangement where God intended harmony. We witness evidence of this in the fragmentation of self and community, and the abuse and idolization of creation. Christians have often failed to sustain serious reflection on the spheres of life that bear the wounds of this estrangement—including family, church, business, government, and education—resulting in a compartmentalization of faith rather than a holistic integration of faith and learning.
We long for a better world. We also dare to hope for a better world—a world of whole persons, of peace and justice, and of harmony in all creation. Our hope is sustained by God who, according to his ancient promises, is at work in the world renewing and reconciling all things to himself through Jesus Christ. We seek to join him in this work. Historically, Christ’s love for the world has inspired his followers to contribute to the founding of hospitals and universities, the articulation of human rights, and the development of modern science. In keeping with such service for the common good, Chesterton House aims to draw upon the Christian tradition and its resources to enrich academic inquiry and professional practice.