Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2006-01-06


Faculty and students from 12 colleges and universities throughout the nation will meet at Samford University Jan. 12-15 to explore the role of faith in social movements of the past, present and future.

During the Faith in Action national student conference, about 80 participants will discuss topics ranging from the struggle for black women's leadership during the Civil Rights Movement to intercultural explorations in South Africa.

The immersion experience will provide a forum to discuss faith, learning and justice issues, and will include visits to seminal civil rights venues, according to program organizer Dr. Nancy C. Biggio.

Major discussion topics during the four-day event include social movements in a contemporary world, reflections on the Civil Rights Movement, agents of renewal, and social justice within the context of a Christian faith.

Keynote speakers include Karen Jackson-Weaver, executive director, New Jersey Amistad Commission; Dr. Wayne Flynt, historian and professor emeritus, Auburn University; and David Beckmann, executive director, Bread for the World movement against hunger.

Participants will visit Birmingham's Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and Civil Rights Institute, as well as the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute and Pettus Bridge in Selma and the Rosa Parks Museum and Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in Montgomery.

On Saturday evening (JAN. 14), they will engage in a poverty simulation experience in Samford's Bashinksy Fieldhouse.

The Faith in Action conference is sponsored by Samford in Mission (SIM), a grant initiative funded by the Lilly Endowment, Inc., Programs for the Theological Exploration of Vocation.

Registrants represent schools that have received grants from Lilly Endowment, Inc., to study the intersection of theology and vocation. Participants will come from as far as Santa Clara University in California and St. Bonaventure University in New York.

"We are very excited about the conference and greatly encouraged by the enthusiasm of participants from across the country," said Biggio, SIM special projects coordinator. 

"The topic of faith in action resonates with many students and faculty, and we look forward to hearing many different perspectives."


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.