Montgomery, Ala.—Twenty-one high school students from 15 regional churches participated in the Huntingdon Leadership Academy at Huntingdon College, June 24–29. The students, from rising high school sophomores to seniors, devoted their week to vocational discernment. Most of the students expressed feeling called to ordained or lay ministry vocations. Others were considering careers in nursing, teaching, or engineering, as examples, but wanted to stay connected to their faith communities and to their call to follow Christ.
During the six-day program, students worshiped in morning chapel and evening contemporary services, attended academic lectures led by seminary and Huntingdon College professors, explored the fullness of the Church by visiting organizations and ministries in the River Region, and discussed their experiences in small groups led by Huntingdon College student mentors. This was the third year for the program.
The following students attended HLA 2018:
The Rev. Macon Armistead directs the Huntingdon Leadership Academy, working with clergy and laity in the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church and with faculty and staff at Huntingdon College. Armistead graduated from Huntingdon in 2014 with a degree in youth ministry and from Duke Divinity School in 2017 with a Master of Divinity degree. A commissioned deacon in the UMC, Armistead serves both Huntingdon and the Alabama-West Florida Conference by connecting students and churches to the program. HLA is funded almost entirely by the Lilly Endowment, Inc. Students and sponsoring churches partner to pay $100 per participant for the week-long experience.
HLA summer staff included Huntingdon students and recent graduates: Eliza Langille, director’s assistant; Morgan Clausell, programming; Meagan Clausell, logistics; Milan Branch, programming; Miles Barnhardt, worship; Diamond Branch, logistics; Libby Varnum, programming; Chase McKoon, logistics; Colleen Collins, worship; Justala Simpson, logistics; Lucy Burch, programming; Scott Aspden, worship; Kerigan Pickett, communications; Mary Stanley, communications; and Laura Vermillion, worship.
Huntingdon faculty and staff, as well as ministers from the region, assisted with the program, including The Rev. J. Cameron West, president of the College; the Rev. Rhett Butler, Huntingdon College chaplain; Duke Divinity Theologian-in-Residence Dr. Valerie Cooper; Huntingdon College Department of Religion faculty, the Rev. Dr. C. Jason Borders, the Rev. Dr. Sarah Sours, and the Rev. Dr. Jimmy Jeffcoat; guest preachers the Rev. Robin Wilson and the Rev. Patrick Hitchman-Craig, both of Opelika First UMC, and Bishop David Graves, a Huntingdon trustee; and guest panelists the Rev. Richard Williams (Aldersgate UMC), the Rev. Tony Jeck (Auburn Wesley and QuadW), Celeste Eubanks (Conference Office), the Rev. Emily Dueitt Kincaid (Orange Beach UMC), the Rev. Audrey Rodgers (Tuskegee Wesley), and Jeff Wilson (Blue Lake Camp).
Huntingdon College is an institution with a rich liberal arts tradition that is grounded in the Judeo-Christian heritage of the United Methodist Church. The College embraces the development and growth of its students in faith, wisdom, and service, providing a solid foundation that will enable them to respond to the needs of today’s global and complex world.