May 6, 2020
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Huntingdon Leadership Academy Moves to Online Format
Montgomery, Ala.— Huntingdon College’s annual Huntingdon Leadership Academy has been rescheduled to a two-week, online format for 2020, according to program director Rev. Macon Armistead. The program, originally planned for late June, will be offered virtually June 15–19 and June 22–26. The decision was made in light of the global pandemic. “Informed by global, national, state, community, and institutional advisors, we have decided to shift our on-campus HLA experience to an online format,” said Armistead. “The safety of our community, students, faculty, and staff is our utmost priority. While we are unsure what the world will look like in late June, we are acting out of extreme caution and are committed to providing a robust virtual, theological experience for our students.”
Huntingdon Leadership Academy is a summer program that serves rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors who feel called to ministerial vocations in the Christian church. Mentoring, discussion of current topics in the life of the church, cultural and mission-related events, and time for fun, praise, and worship are included.
Normally a week-long, intensive experience, the two-week format will allow participants to be involved through live meetings and taped modules. “Our first week will focus on community-building and fellowship,” said Armistead. “Our second week will include worship services, academic lectures, spiritual reflection, and engaging, interactive discussion. Spreading HLA out over two weeks allows our community to log on a few times a day and still find time for individual vocational discernment.”
Dr. Edgardo Colon-Emeric, associate professor of theology and reconciliation at the Divinity School at Duke University, will serve as theologian-in-residence this year, providing spiritual and academic reflections through digital access. The program involves Huntingdon faculty in the Department of Religion, Huntingdon student mentors, and ministers in local United Methodist Churches, among others.
Forty high school students have registered for HLA 2020. Because more students can be involved through digital access, registration has reopened until May 18, should other students wish to register. “We welcome any students whose summer plans may have prevented them from signing up to attend an in-person program, but who may find they have time now to attend a virtual program.” The payment deadline has been extended to June 1, 2020.The cost is $100, with $50 provided by the student’s church and $50 provided by the student.
In addition to the planned curriculum, this year’s Academy will reflect on the deep theological implications of the global pandemic. “Why does God let bad things happen? Why do people have to suffer? How do we form community when we’re social distancing? What does my calling look like when I can’t leave my house? These are all heavy theological questions that our young people are asking, so we want to meet the need that is in front of us and provide rich, sound, theological education for our community this summer in light of COVID-19,” said Armistead.
Huntingdon junior Ben Harris will serve as a student-mentor and discipleship coordinator for this year’s academy. “Despite this being a time of confusion and fear, I could not be more excited for HLA 2020,” said Harris. “Online sounds scary, but I believe in the power of God and I know He is with us all—even over Zoom!”
Huntingdon’s spring term classes moved online in mid-March because of the pandemic, which HLA media coordinator and Huntingdon junior Kerigan Pickett believes has prepared the staff and student-leaders well for offering a virtual academy this year. “Since the transition to online classes, meetings, and gatherings we are fully prepared and excited to host an online HLA experience. Although it will look different we believe that it will still have a significant impact on our students’ lives,” she said.
Ministers or parents/guardians may register students for HLA 2020 at https://www.huntingdon.edu/campus-life/campus-ministries/hla/. Payment may be made online or via check mailed to Huntingdon Leadership Academy, 1500 E Fairview Ave, Montgomery, AL 36106.
Huntingdon College continues a legacy of faith, wisdom, and service through a liberal arts academic tradition grounded in the Judeo-Christian heritage of the United Methodist Church.
Huntingdon College is committed to a policy against legally impermissible, arbitrary, or unreasonable discriminatory practices. Therefore, the College, in accordance with applicable federal and state law and stated College policy, prohibits discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, religion, age and/or national origin. Inquiries and/or complaints may be addressed to: Huntingdon College Title IX Coordinator, 1500 East Fairview Ave., Montgomery, AL 36106; TitleIXCoordinator@hawks.huntingdon.edu; or 334-833-4420.