The Freed-Hardeman University Annual Bible Lectureship “strengthened both young and old,” according to FHU President David R. Shannon. “The depth of study enhanced by Christian fellowship and powerful worship made for an impactful time.”
“Even the weather was perfect,” Shannon said. “Tradition has it that it always snows or freezes during lectureship, but not this year.”
This year’s guests came from 36 states and six countries to hear the 125 speakers featured on the program. Total attendees numbered 4,126, including undergraduate students and registered guests. After five days of learning, worshiping, singing, praying and reuniting with old friends, guests departed; many are already planning next year’s trip to Henderson.
This year’s lectureship, “For Such a Time as This: Restoring God’s People in Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther,” truly had something for everyone, from lectureships for kids and teens to sessions designed for those more mature in the faith. Specialized workshops for youth ministers, Hispanic ministry workers and parents drew substantial crowds.
The updated Youth and Family Ministry Workshop, conducted at Mid-South Youth Camp and coordinated by Philip Jenkins, Jon David Schwartz and Ben McGreevy, attracted 125 attendees. Kids’ and teen lectureships also had large crowds, 208 and 181, respectively.
This year’s lectureship was dedicated to John D. DeBerry, Jr., senior advisor to Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and a state representative from 1995-2020. In addition to his work in state government, he has been a minister since 1968. He currently works with Coleman Avenue Church of Christ in Memphis and is in demand for lectureships across the country. A 1973 alumnus of Freed-Hardeman, he is a member of the FHU Board of Trustees. A dinner honored him Tuesday evening, Feb. 7.
Sunday night’s reception honored the late Malcolm George of Hohenwald, Tennessee, who passed away in December at age 92. He had faithfully served churches of Christ since 1950. At the time of his death, he was a member of the Lomax Church of Christ. A 1952 graduate of FHC, George had attended the lectureship for 71 years.
The improved lectureship app and streaming of the sessions on the main floor of Loyd made for a much-improved experience for virtual attendees, according to FHU Lectureship Director Doug Burleson. Videos of these sessions are available online at fhu.edu/lectureship.
An offer by FHU photography students to provide free portrait shots for attendees was gratefully accepted by 70 guests.
The illustration on the lectureship brochure and program of a beautiful blue bowl is an example of kintsugi, the process of repairing broken lacquerware or ceramic pieces. In kintsugi, a broken vessel is repaired by filling the crack with powdered gold or silver. Literally, it means “join with gold.” The gold enhances the scars rather than hiding them, a reminder of the beauty in broken things. Jim Gardner, an FHU faculty member who had explained the theme on a video, said, “Faults can mar us, but we can come out lovelier, more noble and more precious when we allow God to restore us.” He invited people to join this study “of a time in history when God’s people must have felt so broken yet later found themselves in a story of triumph – as they allowed God to use them.” The bowl pictured in the lectureship publications has been given to the university by the lectureship committee. It is on display in the Office of Academics located in Loyd Auditorium.
“We are already thinking about next year,” Burleson said, noting the theme for next year’s lectures will be “Triumph of the Lamb: The Battle with Evil in Revelation.” It is scheduled for Feb. 4-8, 2024.
Downloads for two books related to the lectureship theme have been published, one for general audiences and one specifically for women. The book may be purchased for $15 each through Amazon. The book for men has 14 chapters, and the ladies’ devotional book has 13.
The mission of Freed-Hardeman University is to help students develop their God-given talents for His glory by empowering them with an education that integrates Christian faith, scholarship and service. With locations in Henderson and Memphis, FHU offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees.