Rome, Ga. – Shorter alumnus Cliff Duren, Worship Pastor at First Baptist Church, Woodstock, will be the featured speaker at Shorter University’s 2019 Christmas on the Hill President’s Gala.
“We are excited to have Cliff returning home to Shorter for this year’s President’s Gala,” said University President Dr. 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,” Dr. 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.”
The second annual event will be held Thursday, December 5, in the Winthrop-King Centre. A reception will begin at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m.
Duren returned to First Baptist, Woodstock, earlier this year as the head of the church’s music ministry. He also served as FBC Woodstock’s Staff Arranger from 2006 to 2012, leading worship for the contemporary service and playing piano for the blended service with choir and orchestra. From 2012 to 2019, he was Worship Pastor at the Church at Station Hill, a regional campus of Brentwood Baptist Church in Brentwood, Tenn.
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.
Cliff became a Christian at age 17 and soon after 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.
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 Dr. 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.