President Don Dowless speaks at last year’s Christmas on the Hill. SHORTER UNIVERSITY
ROME — Shorter alumnus Cliff Duren, worship pastor at First Baptist Church in Woodstock, will be the featured speaker at Shorter University’s 2019 Christmas on the Hill President’s Gala. The second annual event will be held Thursday, Dec. 5 in the Winthrop-King Centre. A reception will begin at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m.
“We are excited to have Cliff returning home to Shorter for this year’s President’s Gala,” said University President Don Dowless. “Cliff and his wife, April, are wonderful examples of Shorter graduates who are serving the Lord in dynamic ways. In addition to the leadership he provides for worship, Cliff is a talented arranger of music; his compositions have won him two Dove Awards. Cliff and April also have a heart for supporting Christ-centered education and impacting the lives of students who study at Shorter.”
Shorter’s Christmas on the Hill event celebrates the Christmas season while raising funds to help students.
“Supporters of the Gala truly impact the lives of our students as proceeds from the event go to fund student scholarships,” Dowless said. “More than 99% of our traditional students receive financial aid, and for the majority of that group, scholarships make it possible for them to attend Shorter.”
A contributor in many ways
Duren returned to First Baptist earlier this year as the head of the church’s music ministry. He also served as FBC Woodstock’s staff arranger from 2006–2012, leading worship for the contemporary service and playing piano for the blended service with choir and orchestra. From 2012–2019, he was worship pastor at the Church at Station Hill, a regional campus of Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood, Tennessee.
Duren arranges, orchestrates, and produces music resources for various publishers while also producing various artist recordings. He is grateful for the opportunity to fulfill his passion of creating resources for the local church.
After becoming a Christian at age 17, Duren pursued a music education degree from Shorter University and a master’s degree in church music from Lee University. He has won two Dove Awards for his contributions to church music ministry resources. In 2014, Duren released his first instrumental record, “Tune My Heart: Hymns of Worship Featuring Piano and Orchestra.” In 2016, he released a follow-up record, “Tune My Heart: Christmas.”
In March of 2002, Cliff married his college sweetheart, April. The two have been leading worship together since they were students at Shorter. The Durens have four children; Mac, Sydney, Elijah, and Emma Kate.
Sponsorship passages available
Shorter University is offering sponsorship packages for the event, which may be purchased by calling (706) 292-3900 or online at www.shorter.edu/gala.
“We have a number of sponsorship levels available, and we invite businesses, corporations, and individuals to partner with us in making a Shorter education available for an even greater number of students,” said Ben Bruce, Shorter’s vice president of University Advancement. “We’ve put together sponsorship packages with benefits ranging from reserved seating to being featured on the event webpage and on screen at the event.”
In addition, general admission tickets are available for $50 each.
Founded in 1873, Shorter University is a Christ-centered, four-year liberal arts university committed to excellence in education. U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review annually include Shorter on their lists of best Southeastern Colleges. The University offers traditional bachelor’s degrees in 40 areas of study, online courses, and degree programs, undergraduate programs for working adults, associate’s, and master’s programs. Learn more about Shorter at www.shorter.edu.