Samford establishes group to discuss issues at intersection of faith, culture

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Samford establishes group to discuss issues at intersection of faith, culture

Discussions about faith and culture, including matters related to human sexuality, are set to take place at Samford University in Birmingham.

The organized conversations will fall under an administration-appointed group, rather than an independent student organization, however.

The new group fulfills the promise Samford President Andrew Westmoreland made in July when he announced the controversial Samford Together organization would not be officially recognized by the school.

Samford Together’s stated purpose was to facilitate the discussion of topics related to human sexuality. When Westmoreland decided not to seek formal recognition of the group through the board of trustees, he promised to organize a way to address topics of culture that Christians face.

In a Sept. 1 email to Samford employees, Westmoreland announced the 12-member team.

The members are from the Samford community and “have accepted my invitation to serve as the working group for coordinating … our efforts to discuss issues at the intersection of Christian understanding and cultural reality,” he wrote.

Group includes:

• Four faculty members — Chuck Stokes as chair (associate professor, department of sociology), Dr. Michael Hogue (professor of pharmacy and associate dean for the Center for Faith and Health), Sara McCarty (associate professor of economics and Brock Scholars Program coordinator) and Fred Shepherd (professor of political science and chair of the Department of Political Science).

• Two Samford alumni — William Hargrove (Class of 2017) and Stephen Moss (Class of 2010).

• Two staff members — April Robinson (minister to students and University Care Team coordinator) and Jordaan Whitehead (production stage manager for the Wright Center).

• Four students — Lilla Bea Granger (senior), Lucy Kate Green (sophomore), Nelson Park (senior) and Isaac Sours (junior).

“It will take some time for the group to become organized and to begin their work,” Westmoreland wrote. “I hope that you will join me in prayer for each of them in the days ahead.

“To the hundreds of you who have written to me regarding these issues in recent months, I’m grateful for the full range of your comments,” he added. “Please know of my appreciation for your messages and your sustained prayers.” (TAB)