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2016 Huntingdon Leadership Academy welcomes new group of young leaders


For more information,
contact Su Ofe,
ofe@huntingdon.edu; (334) 833-4515

June 23, 2016
For immediate release:

2016 Huntingdon Leadership Academy welcomes new group of young leaders

Montgomery, Ala.—Huntingdon College welcomed a group of high school students who are members of churches in the Alabama-West Florida and North Alabama Conferences of The United Methodist Church for participation in the 2016 Huntingdon Leadership Academy yesterday. The summer youth experience is ongoing through Friday, June 24.

The Huntingdon Leadership Academy was established in 2015. High school juniors and seniors who have the gifts and graces for ministry of any sort—whether as deacons or elders, missionaries, music ministers, children’s or youth pastors, worship leaders, or lay leaders, among the many ways to minister—are welcome at this retreat.Through the Academy, pastors and youth pastors at churches in the Alabama-West Florida and North Alabama Conferences of the United Methodist Church are invited to participate in the identification and building of future church leaders, who come to the Huntingdon campus for an annual work-filled, learning-filled, and worship-filled retreat as they discern their individual calls to ministry vocations.

This three-day retreat is coordinated by the Huntingdon College Office of the Chaplain and executed by Huntingdon Department of Religion faculty, area United Methodist clergy, Huntingdon student volunteers, and the College Chaplain.

The Huntingdon Leadership Academy is supported by a grant from the Lilly Endowment.The grant is part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s High School Youth Theology Institutes initiative, which seeks to encourage young people to explore theological traditions, ask questions about the moral dimensions of contemporary issues, and examine how their faith calls them to lives of service. Huntingdon College is one of 82 schools participating in the Lilly initiative. The schools are located in 29 states and the District of Columbia.  Although some schools are independent, many reflect the religious heritage of their founding traditions. These traditions include Baptist, Brethren, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Reformed churches, as well as Roman Catholic, non-denominational, Pentecostal and historic African-American Christian communities. The grants, which total $44.5 million, are part of the Endowment’s commitment to identify and cultivate a cadre of theologically-minded youth who will become leaders in church and society.

“Huntingdon College, a College of the Church in the United Methodist tradition, has from its founding in 1854 sought to encourage young people in their vocations, especially when that calling entails service in the form of parish ministry,” stated Huntingdon President J. Cameron West. “The College’s general education curriculum and robust Religion department reflect these deep commitments, and the HLA represents an extension of this good in the lives of high school-aged youth.  It is my expectation that this program will help to create a culture of call and a seamless pipeline from high school to divinity school for students called to lives of leadership.”

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family—J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli—through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company.  The Endowment exists to support the causes of religion, education and community development. Lilly Endowment’s religion grantmaking is designed to deepen and enrich the religious lives of American Christians, accomplished through initiatives to enhance and sustain the quality of ministry in American congregations and parishes.

Huntingdon College, grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition of the United Methodist Church, is committed to nurturing growth in faith, wisdom, and service and to graduating individuals prepared to succeed in a rapidly changing world. Founded in 1854, Huntingdon is a coeducational liberal arts college. The Chronicle of Higher Education recently recognized Huntingdon among “The Fastest Growing Colleges in America.”


Suellen (Su) Ofe
Associate Vice President
for Marketing and Communications
Huntingdon College
1500 E. Fairview Ave., Montgomery, AL 36106
(334) 833-4515; Cell (334) 324-6591