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Fresh from the Pulpit

Efird also has served numerous congregations as an interim pastor. What he learns in those churches, he shares with the future pastors in his classroom.

While he doesn’t consider himself a “frontline” minister in the day-to-day struggle of leading a congregation, Efird has a sense of what laity ask, and what they expect, and tailors his coursework to reflect these realities.

“Mickey Efird is an excellent teacher and communicator,” says Dean L. Gregory Jones. “He has made a significance difference for generations of people—divinity and Course of Study students and lay people. He continues to be a blessing in extraordinary ways.” Efird has taught many who have gone on to be United Methodist bishops and district superintendents.

Asked what might be on the plaque that will one day grace the Efird classroom, he joked: “You pays your money and you makes your choice.”

But he then offered a passage from the Wisdom of Ben Sira, “As long as there is breath in you, do not allow anyone to take your place.”

Duke Divinity School Archives

 Efird in action in the classroom, 1993 .

As planning for Duke Divinity School’s building addition began, the opportunity to honor Mickey Efird, who arrived as a young Ph.D. student in 1958 and has become a legendary professor of biblical interpretation, wasn’t lost on Dean L. Gregory Jones or Associate Dean for External Relations Wes Brown.

They and a small group of friends and alumni who have studied with Efird, met, considered strategies and set an ambitious goal: naming a classroom in the new building. After the initial $100,000 was raised in the quiet phase of the project, Efird was brought in on the secret. He was just as moved as they had hoped.

“Mickey was genuinely surprised and reacted with the humility that is typical of him,” says Brown. “That so many graduates and friends of the divinity school are excited about this project and want to be donors speaks volumes about Mickey’s contributions over many decades.”

To make a gift or for more information about the Efird Classroom, contact the External Relations Office at (919) 660-3456 or e-mail Director of Development Gaston Warner at gwarner@div.duke.edu.

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DIVINITY Online Edition :: Spring 2004 Volume 3 Number 3 Duke Divinity School