The Rev. Leighton Ford, longtime associate of evangelist Billy Graham, has announced plans to move out from under the shadow of his more famous brother-in-law and colleague and launch a ministry of his own.

The parting of the two was amicable, with each pledging to continue to assist and support the ministry of the other.

Ford "has many gifts and I believe some of them could not be used to fullest capacity in our organization," Graham said in commenting on Ford's decision, which Graham said they had discussed "several times during the last 20 years."

Graham added that Ford "will have more freedom now to do the things the Lord has for him. I will support him in every way I can."

Ford said a part of his new ministry will be "helping younger men and women to develop their ministries," a move that he said was prompted by the death four years ago of his son Sandy.

Ford will also give increasing time to the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, a movement launched by Graham 11 years ago. Ford said he will "continue my current commitments as a vice president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association," pending the development of more specific plans for his own work.

At the request of Christians in the Peoples Republic of China, the National Council of Churches is providing 11 teachers of English and one professor of Western philosophy to teach for one or two years in Chinese universities and trade schools in Jiangsu Province.

It is the first such venture since relations with the communist nation were resumed. The request came from the Amity Foundation, which was formed last April by Chinese Christians under the leadership of Bishop K.H. Ting, president of the China Christian Council and well known to old China hands in church circles in this country.

The Rev. Franklin J. Woo, who directs NCC's China program, stressed that it is not a return to missionary efforts in China, but an educational exchange that encourages American visitors to live among and know Chinese Christians.

By sending teachers, he added, churches here are "enabling Christians in China to play a more active role in the upbuilding of the country."

An unusual interfaith program to train persons in skills useful for working with seriously ill or bereaved persons begins next week in Montgomery County.

The basic training program of the Interfaith Training Network will be held on Wednesday evenings at Hughes United Methodist Church in Wheaton and on Mondays at St. Paul's Catholic Church in Damascus.

The 14-week program will deal with attitudes toward death and dying, grief and bereavement processes, stress management, crisis intervention, suicide, pain control, children and death, and spiritual beliefs and rituals.

The program is for professionals as well as volunteers, who must enroll through their religious congregations or organizations. Call Marie Yates, (301)593-5841 for details.

The Jewish Community Center is offering an expanded program of classes in its Institute for Jewish Learning, beginning next month. Courses range from single sessions on challah baking to 15-week courses in Yiddish and Hebrew at all levels.

Most classes are at 6125 Montrose Rd. in Rockville, but some language classes will be scheduled for the Northern Virginia and D.C. Jewish community centers.

Rabbi Fred N. Reiner will be installed Friday evening as spiritual leader of Temple Sinai, succeeding Rabbi Eugene Lipman, who retired this summer after 24 years as rabbi. A native of Chicago, Reiner has served congregations there and in Topeka, Kan.

The Rev. Jean Alexander, who has been on the staff of First Congregational United Church of Christ, has been called as pastor of Bethesda United Church of Christ. She will begin Oct. 1.

The Rev. Paul J. Langsfeld, associate pastor of the Church of Our Lady of Victory, has been appointed to the staff of the Congregation for the Clergy at the Vatican.