Category Archives: Seminaries

Columbia Theological Seminary: Repairing the Breach

Columbia Theological Seminary Commits to Repair the Breach Caused by White Supremacy Deepening Columbia’s Commitment to Black People and Their Flourishing

Decatur, GA — Throughout the 2019 academic year, Columbia has wrestled with its history and participation in the enslavement and oppression of Black people. On Monday, June 15, 2020, the Board of Trustees met via Zoom to continue wrestling with Columbia’s history and future. The board meeting occurred in the midst of a national outcry for justice on behalf of the killings of Ahmaud Arbury, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Rayshard Brooks. Within this context, the Board of Trustees voted to unanimously affirm a commitment statement titled, “Repairing the Breach: Deepening Columbia’s Commitment to Black People and their Flourishing.”

The commitment statement explicitly outlines steps Columbia is implementing to begin directly addressing the harm that slavery and its aftermath have done to Black people and communities. New commitments include:

  • Full tuition and fees for all Black students who apply and are admitted to masters-level degree programs;
  • Naming Columbia’s signature residence hall Marcia Y. Riggs Hall (Riggs Commons) in public recognition of her ground-breaking research, teaching, and dedication to this seminary that has often failed to fully appreciate and celebrate her contributions and the those of other Black scholars;
  • Implementation of new policies to develop external partnerships with and support for others who are actively working to combat police brutality and anti-Black racism.

Columbia’s board, leadership, faculty, staff, and student body have collectively acknowledged that these new commitments represent one step toward dismantling systems of oppression. Therefore, the Board also reaffirmed a commitment to long-term processes that work to disrupt global cycles of oppression and create new realities at Columbia and beyond. Reflecting on this new commitment, Columbia President Van Dyk stated, “Columbia is more diverse than it has ever been. We work together and challenge one another to put our faith into action. Now is a time for us to move beyond conversations and toward concrete actions that decenter whiteness, center Black and brown people, and transform the structure of this seminary. We are committed to the long journey – and, we are committed to doing this tough work together.”

The full text of “Repairing the Breach,” as well as additional information about other Columbia commitments to equity, diversity, and inclusion, can be found at

About Columbia Theological Seminary

Columbia Theological Seminary’s exists to cultivate faithful leaders for God’s changing world. As the most diverse educational institution of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Columbia Seminary is a community of theological inquiry, leadership development, and formation for ministry in the service of the Church and the world. Columbia offers six masters and doctoral degree programs, and opportunities for continuing education through The Center for Lifelong Learning. In the fall of 2019, Columbia committed to the Transforming Community Conferencing (TCC) process with Dr. David Hooker. This process is designed to unearth Columbia’s deep narratives and invite the community to adopt and live into a new preferred narrative. More information about the TCC process is forthcoming. For more information, please visit our website:

Emergency student loan management enacted during COVID-19 crisis

Original article on

PC(USA)’s Financial Aid for Service: Payments on eligible federal student loans are suspended through Sept. 30

by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service

Melonee Tubb, the associate for Financial Aid for Service, is photographed during worship in the Chapel at the Presbyterian Center in Louisville. (Photo by Rich Copley)

LOUISVILLE — New resources from the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Financial Aid for Service provide guidance on how to manage one’s student loans, now that the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) has been signed into law by President Donald Trump.

Melonee Tubb, associate for FAF, said what people need to know right away is that they could be “off the hook’” for their federal student loan debt through Sept. 30.  The new law automatically suspends payments on eligible loans for six months, with no interest accrued.

By law, lenders have until Easter weekend to alert borrowers that their payments have been suspended.

Under the CARES legislation, loans made under the Federal Direct Loan Program that are eligible for suspended payments include Direct, Subsidized, Unsubsidized, PLUS, and Consolidation loans. Payments for loans acquired through the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP), transferred to the Department of Education, are also eligible.

Tubb said people with a FFELP loan should check immediately because those loans managed by a private bank or institution aren’t eligible for automatic suspension.  Federal Perkins Loans managed by universities and any private loans are also not eligible under the CARES ACT.

“If you are having trouble making payments and have one of these ineligible loans, call your servicer immediately,” she said. “Some servicers are offering additional emergency deferment or forbearance options.”

The bottom line: Tubb encourages those with student debt to contact their servicer to find out more about how the new law will impact them. For example, Tubb said anyone working towards public service loan forgiveness (PSLF) or loan rehabilitation will get additional relief under the CARES legislation.

“Their suspended payments will be treated as if the borrower made the payments and count toward the 120 payments necessary for forgiveness,” she said.

Additional information on how the CARES Act might impact your federal student loans and tips on how to manage student loan debt during emergencies can be downloaded here.

Creative_Commons-BYNCNDYou may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.

Extension on Apollos Scholarship Deadline

The Omaha Presbyterian Seminary is extending the deadline on Apollos Scholarship Applications to May 1, 2020.

You are eligible for an Apollos Scholarship from Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation if you are:

  • A member of a PC(USA) Congregation
  • Under care within a presbytery as an Inquirer or Candidate
  • Enrolled as a full-time student in the Master of Divinity degree program in one of the 10 Presbyterian seminaries
  • An individual who possesses quality of excellence for ministry

Click here to Apply

Click here for more information about Apollos Scholarships

Continuing Education Opportunities at Union Presbyterian Seminary Online

Online registration is open for Union Presbyterian Seminary’s Pathways to Learning and Leadership online courses for the 2019-2020 academic year. The Pathways program was developed initially in consultation with presbytery leaders to provide an educational component for Commissioned Ruling Elder (CRE) training.

They offer nine (9) online courses led by faculty of Union Presbyterian Seminary or experienced practitioners. The courses are organized between Phase I and Phase II categories. Phase I consists of four foundational courses, to include Biblical Interpretation, Reformed Theology/Church History, The Christian Life, and Mission & Evangelism. Phase II consists of five practical ministry courses, to include Pastoral Care, Polity & Administration, Preaching the Bible, Teaching the Bible, and Worship & Sacraments. See the attached flyer for the full schedule for the 2019-2020 academic year, with course descriptions. Each course includes five (5) online class meetings.

Courses are open to all, including church and lay leaders seeking continuing education to deepen their own knowledge and application. Each certificate of completion grants 3.0 CEUs to include class meeting time, reading, assignments, and class preparation..

For additional information, look on the website at: The direct registration link can be found here: 2019-2020 Online Courses.

New Walker Presidential Scholarship To Make Seminary An Affordable Reality For PC(USA) Students

For Immediate Release:

At Columbia Theological Seminary, we are committed to providing an accessible, affordable theological education that is both academically rigorous and spiritually transformative. Scholarships are an essential part of this commitment.  Columbia Seminary offers one of the most expansive financial aid programs in the country. Financial aid awards include scholarships, grants, and tuition waivers that are awarded based on both merit and need.

Columbia Seminary continues to deepen our commitment to providing an affordable theological education by working with strategic partners to create new scholarship opportunities for our students. This fall, Columbia Seminary is excited to announce, once again, the creation of the Rev. Dr. Thomas W. & Jan C. Walker Presidential Scholarship. The Walker Presidential Scholarship will be awarded to Master of Divinity students from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) who show outstanding promise for pastoral ministry. The award will cover the full cost of attendance (tuition + fees) and provide each recipient with a $5,000 living stipend.

Are you interested in being considered for the Walker Presidential Scholarship? Apply online today! Visit to begin your application. The priority deadline to be considered for the Walker Presidential Scholarship and other merit-based scholarships is February 1, 2019. All application materials must be submitted by this date to be considered.

Full-Tuition Awards:

The Columbia Scholarship covers full tuition, a single living unit and the full meal plan. Full-time enrollment is required, and each recipient must maintain a 3.50 GPA over the course of the degree program.

The Honors Scholarship covers the full cost of tuition and is awarded to a full-time student who must maintain a 3.3 GPA.

Take the next step on your journey to seminary: schedule a campus visit.

About the Scholarship:

The Walker Presidential Scholarship was made possible by an endowment gift from an anonymous donor in honor of the life of Christian ministry and service by the Rev. Dr. Tom W. & Mrs. Jan C. Walker of Palms Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. Columbia Theological Seminary was formative in Tom’s pastoral leadership and this endowed award will provide permanent recognition of Tom and Jan’s ministry and will continue to support the development of future ministerial leaders at Columbia Theological Seminary.

About the Seminary:

Columbia Theological Seminary “exists to educate and nurture faithful, imaginative, and effective leaders for the sake of the Church and the world.” As an educational institution of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Columbia Seminary is a community of theological inquiry, leadership development, and formation for ministry in the service of the Church of Jesus Christ. Columbia Seminary offers six graduate degree programs and dozens of courses and events as a resource for church professionals and lay people through The Center for Lifelong Learning. For more information, please visit

Union Presbyterian Seminary – Upcoming Continuing Education

Click the course titles for more info or to register.

Christian Educator Certification Course — Hybrid course style

  • CourseHuman Growth & Faith Development
  • Dates: January 21 – February 212019 (at home and online), with February 19 – 21, 2019, scheduled for on campus learning in Richmond
  • Location: On campus portion at Union Presbyterian Seminary — Richmond campus
  • Led by: Dr. Becky Davis, Associate Professor of Christian Education at Union Presbyterian Seminary
  • Cost: $295, for both at home and on-campus learning
  • Note: This hybrid course meets the requirements for Christian Educator certification in the PC(USA), but is open to anyone who would like to participate.

Online Courses: Pathways to Learning and Leadership

  • Dates: Beginning January 2019 (check schedule below for specific course dates)
  • Location: Wherever you and your computer go (internet connection required)
  • Led by: Various faculty members and friends of Union Presbyterian Seminary
  • Cost: $ 100 for each five-week course
  • Note: These courses offer an excellent, affordable way to learn from and engage with theological and biblical scholars from the comfort of home (or wherever your computer may be), while interacting with fellow participants as well.

All courses are online and are tailor-made for church members, pastors, educators, those preparing to become Commissioned Ruling Elders/Commissioned Pastors, and anyone else who is interested in learning more. Here’s the winter and early spring line-up:

  • January 3 – 31: Preaching the Bible – led by Dr. Richard Voelz, Assistant Professor of Preaching & Worship (Thursdays)
  • January 8 – February 5: The Christian Life – led by Dr. Cindy Kissel-Ito, Associate Professor of Christian Education (Tuesdays)
  • February 14 – March 14: Pastoral Care – led by Dr. Carol Schweitzer, Associate Professor of Pastoral Care (Thursdays)
  • February 18 – March 18:  Mission & Evangelism – led by Dr. John Vest, Visiting Assistant Professor of Evangelism (Mondays)
  • Self-directed study available: New Testament Survey – led by Dr. John Carroll, Professor of New Testament (all web-based and paced by you)

Multidisciplinary Conference on Immigration Coming to CTS in 02/2019

Artists, Leading Theologians, Legal Scholars, And Community Leaders To Explore Migration And Border Crossings In Multidisciplinary Conference

Decatur, GA—Columbia Theological Seminary and Emory University’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion are excited to co-host a multidisciplinary conference on immigration—Migration and Border CrossingsFebruary 7-9, 2019 at Columbia Seminary.

“This conference will bring together leading theologians, legal scholars, artists, and leaders of faith communities to explore global migration,” says Leanne Van Dyk, president of Columbia Theological Seminary. “The speakers at this conference are extraordinary: Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States from 2015-2017 and the winner of National Book Critics award, will give the opening keynote titled ‘The Journey of the Migrant.’ Emilie Townes, Dean of Vanderbilt Divinity School, will give the closing keynote focusing on displacement and trauma.”

Other notable presenters include: Kwok Pui LanKhaled Beydoun,  Heval Mohamed Kelli,  Daniel CarrollKristin HeyerPeter C. PhanTodd GreenRose Cuison VillazorJehu HancilesClaudio CarvalhaesAzadeh N. Shahshahaniand Michele R. Pistone.

In addition to the presenters, the conference has made space for a strong presence of the arts during the three-day event. Emory University’s Staibdance group will present an original dance performance called “Moat,” an evening length exploration of human migration from Iran to a small Pennsylvania town during the Iran hostage crisis.

“Columbia Seminary’s proximity to Clarkston, GA, which is home to immigrants and refugees from about 50 countries and is often called ‘the most diverse square mile in America’ makes us the ideal seminary to host this major conference on immigration,” says conference co-convener Raj Nadella, Assistant Professor of New Testament and Director of MATS Program at Columbia Theological Seminary.

“We have observed that the issue of immigration moved to the center of our national discourse in the lead up to the 2016 presidential election and has become much more significant in the last two years. Although the issue is widely discussed in legal, political, and ecclesial circles, such conversations occur mostly in a piece-meal fashion. There have been few attempts to address various aspects of immigration—historical, political, religious, racial/ethnic, and theological/ethical—in a coherent and substantial manner,” says Nadella.  “Many scholars and faith communities across the United States have been attempting to address this issue that is affecting their communities, but they lack substantial resources to facilitate constructive conversations and take steps towards participatory action.”

The conference will feature three plenary sessions that explore the causes, the processes, and the effects of migration as well as multiple workshops that will offer insights and tools for addressing immigration related issues.

“Other entities are partnering with us to make this a truly international conference of global significance,” says Silas Allard, Managing Director of Emory University’s Center for Law and Religion, Harold J. Berman Fellow in Law and Religion and conference co-convener. “We are grateful to the World Council of Churches and the Council on American Islamic Relations for their partnership.”

More information on the even can be found on the Migration and Border Crossing webpage.

The Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University produces and promotes path-breaking scholarship, teaching, and public programs on the interaction of law and religion around the world. CSLR is a thought leader dedicated to producing innovative scholarship, facilitating challenging conversations, convening the best minds, and training the next generation of academics, lawyers, and religious leaders to advance the global conversation on law and religion. 

Columbia Theological Seminary is “cultivating faithful leaders for God’s changing world.” As an educational institution of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Columbia Seminary is a community of theological inquiry, leadership development, and formation for ministry in the service of the Church of Jesus Christ. Columbia Seminary offers six graduate degree programs and dozens of courses and events as a resource for church professionals and lay people through The Center for Lifelong Learning. For more information, please visit

Media Contact:

Michael Thompson
Director of Communications

For program information, please contact:

Dr. Raj Nadella
Assistant Professor of New Testament; Director of MATS Program,
Columbia Theological Seminary
404 687-4544

Silas W. Allard
Managing Director and Harold J. Berman Fellow in Law and Religion, Center for the Study of Law and Religion, Emory University