Published on June 19, 2018 by Ashley Smith  
Ken Medema at Piano

Samford University’s School of the Arts Center for Worship and the Arts opens its fifth Animate event June 25, with a special public concert preceding Animate featuring renowned Christian artist Ken Medema. 

Animate is a five-day summer program in worship leadership for teenagers and their adult mentors. Using biblical, Christ-centered principles, students hone worship leadership skills, adults sharpen their mentoring tools and everybody works together to reflect on the intersection between worship, theology and the arts, according to Eric Mathis, Center for Worship and the Arts director. 

Medema is among Animate’s featured guest artists and will also perform a free public concert on Sunday, June 24 at 5 p.m. at Birmingham’s First Baptist Church, 2209 Lakeshore Drive.  Though blind from birth, Medema custom designs every moment of his performances with improvisation that blends music and storytelling.

According to Joe Hopkins, School of the Arts dean and minister of music for First Baptist, “We are delighted to have Ken be a part of Animate and perform for the Birmingham community.  Make sure to join us at First Baptist to enjoy his incredible talent and spirituality.” 

Animate’s program will also include other highly regarded guest artists and worship leaders from across the United States. Mathis said 124 participants and close to 20 church groups will take part in this year’s event. 

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 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 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.