Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2008-09-19

Four pastors from Kenya and their Alabama hosts learned from each other during a summer program sponsored by the Global Center at Samford University's Beeson Divinity School.

The divinity school partnered with Samford's Resource Center for Pastoral Excellence and Vestavia Hills Baptist Church to hold the three-week program.

The goal was to provide reciprocal learning opportunities between the institutions and the pastors, and to explore the diversity of perspectives and commonality of faith.

During their Birmingham stay, the Kenyans visited sites related to their specific areas of interest and service, including prisons and AIDS network ministries. They also preached at Birmingham area churches and attended Beeson's Pastors School.

The Kenyan visitors were Richard Owiti Kogola, lay pastor and former civil servant and educator; Paul Mbogo, pastor of a Baptist church in Thunguma village; Benson Mwangangi, a prison chaplain and director of a theological seminary in Nyandarua; and Josphat Thiori, pastor of Mutathi-ni Baptsit church and head of the training department of Baptist Aids Response Agency.

The four were chosen through their association with Institute for Quality Christian Leadership in Africa, a program founded by Kenya native Samson Mathangani.

Mathangani is a graduate of Beeson and a member of Vestavia Hills Baptist Church.

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. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 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 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.