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Institutes draw pastors from around the world to Olford Center

JACKSON, Tenn.Aug. 12, 2013 – The two spring Institutes courses offered at Union University’s Stephen Olford Center in Memphis, Tenn., brought pastors from Nigeria, Myanmar, Liberia, Singapore, Mozambique, the Philippines and South Africa.

The Institutes are four-day ministry development courses that have blended theological foundations with practical essentials for pastors since the 1980s.

David Olford, son of the late Stephen Olford and the Stephen Olford Professor of Expository Preaching at Union, and Ted Rendall, chancellor emeritus of the Prairie Bible Institute and pastor emeritus of the Prairie Tabernacle Congregation, taught the spring courses.

Ezekiel Ajibade, a Nigerian pastor who traveled to Memphis to attend both Institutes, said the professors and special lecturers were rich in knowledge, yet taught in a down-to-earth manner.

“I have been through preaching classes as a Master of Divinity student in seminary, but never have I been exposed to such an in-depth teaching and training on expository preaching,” Ajibade said. “The course is rich, practical and it gives room for contextualization.”

Ajibade said he enjoyed learning within a diverse community of pastors.

“The break times were wonderful times of interactions, caring and sharing,” Ajibade said.

He returned home with a list of contacts for the other Institutes attendees, hopeful to stay in contact with his new friends.

Pastors from other countries can go through a rigorous application process to receive financial assistance for the program through Olford Ministries International, said Roberta Hoppe, director of operations at the Stephen Olford Center.

Each fall and spring, the Institutes take place at the Stephen Olford Campus in Memphis. The 2013 fall courses include Preaching and Teaching for Spiritual Growth, Sept. 17-20; Strengthening Expository Preaching, Sept. 24-27; and a Practical Preaching Workshop, Oct. 22-25.

To learn more about the courses and register, visit www.uu.edu/centers/olford/programs/institutes.

By Samantha Adams (’13)

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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