Posted by Philip Poole on 2010-10-05

 Samford University graduates Brian and Renee Lankford Pitts will lead the annual Homecoming worship service Nov. 7. The service is at 10 a.m. in Samford’s Andrew Gerow Hodges Chapel.

Brian Pitts is a 1996 Samford graduate and serves as the university’s minister to students for spiritual formation. Renee Lankford Pitts, a 1995 graduate, is minister to students for global involvement. The husband-and-wife team has worked at Samford for the past seven years and are popular speakers throughout the state and region. 

Eric Mathis will be worship leader for the service. Mathis joined Samford’s faculty this fall as instructor in church music and worship. He was a featured leader at Samford’s annual hymn sing in September and already is developing a strong presence on the campus as a worship leader, according to David B. Goodwin, Samford’s director of alumni and parents programs and Homecoming committee chair. 

The Samford Ministries Choir will sing, and former members of this group, which also has been called the BSU Choir, Student Ministries Choir and the Hear and Now Singers are invited to join the 2010-11 choir for the worship service. The reunion choir will rehearse at 8:30 a.m. in Hodges Chapel. For several years, the Ministries Choir has sung for this service. 

This year’s service is the 16th homecoming worship. The first service was in October 1995 in what was then the new divinity chapel. The original service was an opportunity to showcase the new chapel for alumni returning for homecoming, Goodwin said. The service featured popular religion faculty member Sigurd Bryan preaching and attracted an overflow crowd. 

In recent years, the tradition has been to use Samford graduates, students and staff as workshop leaders, and the guest speaker usually is from one of the reunion classes, as Renee Pitts is this year, Goodwin added. 

From the first year, the servide has included a brief time of remembrance for alumni who died during the preivous year. Another tradition is concluding the service with the singing of the Samford Alma Mater arranged by alumnus Timothy P. Banks, class of 1974. 

The worship service will be the concluding event for homecoming weekend. Other events are scheduled Nov. 5-7.

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 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.