Donald Guthrie
November 4, 3 p.m. – November 6, 11 a.m.
Divinity School
Early bird, Aug. 1: $60 for alumni ticket and $50 for spouses; Regular registration, Sept. 1: $75 for alumni and $50 for spouses
Contact: Anna Russell
Phone: 205-726-4869

Get Tickets Conference Program

Beeson Divinity alumni and spouses are invited to the first annual Alumni Conference, Nov. 4-6. Celebrate God's faithfulness through a difficult year of life in ministry with fellow Beeson alumni, faculty and staff during Samford's Homecoming Week. Learn from Donald Guthrie, executive director of the Center for Transformational Churches at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and co-author of Resilient Ministry: What Pastors Told Us About Surviving and Thriving, as he speaks on the theme of resiliency in ministry.

Conference Schedule

Thursday, Nov. 4

(Pre-conference) 10 a.m.: Inauguration of Dr. Beck A. Taylor as Samford University’s 19th President (Leslie Stephen Wright Fine Arts Center)

3 p.m.: Registration Opens (Beeson Commons)
5:30 p.m.: Welcome Dinner (Divinity Courtyard and Commons)
7 p.m.: Worship Service (Hodges Chapel) with Harry White (D.Min. '04) giving a sermon and Kara (M.A.T.S. '20) and Caleb Fincher leading music
8 p.m.: Dessert Social (Divinity Courtyard and Commons)

Friday, Nov. 5

8 a.m.: Registration Opens (Beeson Commons)
8:30 a.m.: Morning Prayer (Hodges Chapel) with Hayden Walker (M.Div. '13) giving a homily and Amos Williams (M.Div. '20) leading music
9 a.m.: Plenary Session #1:  Exploring Five Themes for Sustainable Pastoral Service—Dr. Donald Guthrie (Hodges Chapel)
10 a.m.: Small Group Breakout Sessions (Various Classrooms)
10:30 a.m.: Morning Break
11 a.m.: Faculty Connect A (Various Classrooms)
12 p.m.: Lunch (Beeson Commons)
1:15 p.m.: Faculty Connect B (Various Classrooms)
2:15 p.m.: Break
2:30 p.m.: Plenary Session #2: Reviewing Current Research on Pastoral Wellbeing—Dr. Donald Guthrie (Hodges Chapel)
3:30 p.m.: Small Group Discussion (Various Classrooms)
4 p.m.: Break
6:30 p.m.: Reception and Banquet (Regions Room, Cooney Hall) 

Saturday, Nov. 6

8:30 a.m.: Plenary Session #3: Cultivating Gospel Health in Local Church Systems—Dr. Donald Guthrie (Hodges Chapel)
9:30 a.m.: Small Group Breakout Sessions (Various Classrooms)
10:15 a.m.: Worship Service (Hodges Chapel) with Frank Thielman giving a sermon and Brian (M.Div. '99) and Renee (M.Div. '98) Pitts leading music
*This chapel service is open to the entire Samford community for Homecoming Week.
11:15 a.m.: Dismissal

Conference Leaders

Keynote Speaker

Donald GuthrieDonald Guthrie (Ed.D.) is director of the Ph.D. (Educational Studies), executive director of the Center for Transformational Churches and professor of Educational Ministries at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS) in Deerfield, Illinois. Prior to joining the TEDS faculty, Guthrie worked in campus ministry with the Coalition for Christian Outreach in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and served on the faculty and administration of Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. He is the author of several books including, Resilient Ministry: What Pastors Told Us About Surviving and Thriving and The Politics of Ministry: Navigating Power Dynamics and Negotiating Interests, co-author (IVP 2019).

Worship Leaders

Harry WhiteHarry White
Caleb and Kara FincherKara and Caleb Fincher
Hayden WalkerHayden Walker

Harry White (D.Min. ‘04) is pastor of Watts Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he has served since 2006.

Kara (M.A.T.S. ’20) and Caleb Fincher  are a married couple based in Birmingham, Alabama. Kara serves as associate minister to college students at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church, and Caleb is a composer and producer.

Hayden Walker (M.Div. ’13) has served in various ministry roles, including assisting Beeson Divinity School’s Preaching Institute since 2013. She and her family live in Arkansas.

Amos WilliamsAmos Williams
Frank ThielmanFrank Thielman
Brian and Renee PittsBrian and Renee Pitts

Amos Williams (M.Div. ’20)  is associate pastor of the Village Church (PCA) in Huntsville, Alabama, and also serves part-time as Campus Ministry Assistant for Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) at Alabama A&M University.

Frank Thielman (Ph.D.) is the Presbyterian Chair of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School, where he has taught New Testament and Greek since 1989.

Brian (M.Div. ’99) and Renee (M.Div. ’98) Pitts are a married couple based in Birmingham, Alabama. Brian is a life and leadership coach with the Center for Executive Leadership and is the associate worship leader at Brookwood Baptist Church, both in Birmingham. Renee is the New Staff Shepherd for Entrust, a global leadership training organization based out of Colorado Springs.

Alumni Banquet

The alumni banquet will take place on Friday, Nov. 5, at 6:30 p.m. in the Regions Room in the Brook School of Business. During the banquet, Dean Douglas Sweeney will share his strategic vision for Beeson Divinity School and will give updates on the progress made on his vision. A special recognition and presentation will be made to the 2021 Alumnus of the Year award recipient. Directors of the school’s centers and initiatives will give updates, and Dr. Ken Mathews will be recognized for his 33 years of service prior to his retirement. Beeson alumnus Jacob Simmons (M.Div. ‘06/M.B.A. ’09) and his Gladys Improv Comedy group will provide entertainment.


What is Samford’s COVID-19 policy?

Effective July 30, following new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), Samford University is requiring all persons on campus, regardless of vaccination status, to wear face masks in all public indoor settings. Masks are not required when actively eating or drinking or outdoors. For the most up-to-date information, please find Samford’s protocols here.

Are nursing infants welcomed?

Yes, nursing infants are welcomed. A private room will be designated during the conference for nursing mothers.

Can I bring a non-alum friend instead of a spouse?

Only Beeson alumni and their spouses are allowed to attend.

Can I come for only part of the conference?


Is there a discounted price for those who can come to part of the conference?


What if I have food allergies?

When you register, you will be able to give us your food allergies. We will order food for you accordingly.

Is food covered in the cost of registration?

Cost of registration covers dinner and dessert on Thursday, Nov. 4; lunch, dinner and snacks on Friday, Nov. 5.