Educating imaginative, resilient leaders for God's changing world.

Courses and Events


Baptism and Beyond: Scaffolding a Life of Discipleship

Starting: 4/23/2014
Ending: 4/25/2014

How does one guide children, youth, and young adults in being followers of the living Christ in the world rather than simply handing them information about Jesus? How do we nurture all ages to live out their baptismal vows in their daily lives in ways that are counter-cultural to a life of consumption and self-fulfillment? This event looks at ways that we can act as a scaffold for age-appropriate engagement with mission in the church and world. Special attention will be given to the elementary school ages of six-twelve, but there will also be times of engaging with how these methods of discipleship may then lead to continued progression in the youth and young adult years. 

Instructors: Anne H.K. Apple and Kathy Dawson

Details and Registration.


Evangelism in Ministry - Thompson Scholars 2014

Starting: 4/29/2014
Ending: 5/2/2014

Thompson Scholars 2014 will take place April 29-May 2 and explore the topic,  "A Different World: Evangelism for the Screen Share Generation." For program description and application instructions, please visit http://www.ctsnet.edu/thompson-scholars.


Coming Home to Your True Self: A Lifelong Journey

A Contemplative Retreat for Women; Certificate in Spiritual Formation

Starting: 5/5/2014
Ending: 5/9/2014

As Christians, we know ourselves to be both deeply flawed and richly blessed, prone to attachments and distractions, all the while knowing that our true call is to become fully who God made us to be, "imago dei," light for the world. We know that only in God can we find the peace, freedom and joy we seek, yet we resist the dying that leads to life. Trappist monk Thomas Merton, in trying to describe this struggle between our lesser self and the self God made us to be, coined the terms False Self and True Self. In our time together on retreat we will look at God's call to fullness of life, and what gets in the way. The retreat will include presentations, conversation, ample quiet time to ponder the meaning of these learnings for your life.

Facilitators: Lalor Cadley and Deedra Rich                   Location: Sacred Heart Monastery, Cullman, AL

Details and Registration


Exploring the Monastic Experience: A Contemplative Retreat for Men

Certificate in Spiritual Formation

Starting: 5/5/2014
Ending: 5/9/2014

Saint Benedict described a monastery as a “school for the Lord’s service.” Medieval Cistercian monks described the monastery as a “school of charity.” Both of these definitions can help us to discover the unique gifts (charisms) of monasteries, even for those who are not called to become monks. Monasteries are intentional communities devoted to prayer, contemplation, and the gospel; and because hospitality has always been a part of the monastic way, they are ideal settings for non-monastics to explore the heart of Christian spirituality. Our retreat schedule includes a balance of prayer, silent time, presentations, and group discussion. No prior experience at a monastery, or with contemplative prayer, is required. Our goal will be, against the backdrop of the monk’s chanting and the natural beauty of the monastery grounds, to seek God’s still small voice so that we may “be still and know God” in a supportive communal setting.

Facilitator: Carl McColman is the author of Answering the Contemplative Call and The Big Book of Christian Mysticism. He is a lay associate of Holy Spirit Monastery in Conyers, Georgia. He blogs about Christian spirituality at www.carlmccolman.com.

Location: St. Bernard Abbey, Cullman, AL

Details and Registration


Reconciling Paul (weekday course)

2014-15 Horizons/Presbyterian Women Bible Study Leader Training

Starting: 8/4/2014
Ending: 8/6/2014

This course is designed for those who will lead the 2014-2015 Horizons Bible Study; others interested in a contemporary study of 2 Corinthians are also welcome to attend.  Dr. Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty, author of this year’s study and a scholar in the field of theological ethics, will lead participants in revisiting Paul’s theology as it relates to our contemporary context. Course participants will dig deeply into the material, hear from a panel of leaders, participate in listening groups and receive tips for leading the study throughout the coming year.

Instructor: Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty

Details and Registration


NEW COURSE in the Center for Lifelong Learning: Educating In Faith

Starting: 8/7/2014
Ending: 8/9/2014

Continuing a commitment to fostering excellence in Christian Education and faith formation, The Center for Lifelong Learning offers this new course taught by Associate Dean Israel Galindo. Participants will explore selected theories and models concerning individual faith development and the ways persons are educated in faith formation. A primary focus will be on understanding faith development in the congregational context and its implications for educational ministry in the local church. 

Instructor: Israel Galindo

Details and Registration


Reconciling Paul (weekend course)

2014-15 Horizons/Presbyterian Women Bible Study Leader Training

Starting: 8/15/2014
Ending: 8/16/2014

This course is designed for those who will lead the 2014-2015 Horizons Bible Study; others interested in a contemporary study of 2 Corinthians are also welcome to attend. Author of this year’s study, Dr.  Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty, has written a Bible study that considers Paul’s theology as it relates to our contemporary context.  Course attendees will have the opportunity to dig deeply into the material and receive tips for leading the study throughout the coming year. 

Instructor: Sharol Hayner

Details and Registration


Evelyn Underhill: Foremother of Contemporary Spirituality

Certificate in Spiritual Formation

Starting: 8/21/2014
Ending: 8/24/2014

Through her writing, retreats and spiritual direction Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941) pioneered a revitalization of interest in mysticism and the spiritual life as lived by ordinary people.   In her elegant, powerful, and accessible prose she focused on personal religious experience, its nurturance in prayer, its protection by institutional religion and its implications for daily living.  For Underhill the mystics were  those "who knew for certain the love of God" and the spiritual life was described as "that life in which all that we do comes from the center where we are anchored in God." 

In this class we will explore Underhill's life and her writings on mysticism, worship, the spiritual life, the church, prayer and spiritual direction.  Underhill's insights will serve as stimulation and inspiration for deepening our own spiritual life, our concurrence that there is "a splendor burning in the heart of things." 

Instructor: Dana Greene                                             Location: Columbia Theological Seminary

Details and registration


Key Practices for Intergenerational Ministry

(A GenOn Ministries course)

Starting: 9/16/2014
Ending: 9/16/2014

The Center for Lifelong Learning will host this one-day GenOn Ministries seminar focusing on intergenerational ministry. Educators, clergy and other leaders interested in intergenerational ministries are encouraged to attend.

Instructor:  GenOn trainer and Columbia Theological Seminary graduate Paula Hoffman.

Details and registration


Exodus: Freedom and Formation

Certificate in Spiritual Formation

Starting: 9/18/2014
Ending: 9/21/2014

The story of the Exodus was foundational for ancient Israel. Time and again, in many different contexts, they reminded themselves that they were once slaves in Egypt, that God saw their brutal oppression, and that God came down to set them free so that they might worship and find new life. Come and explore this important narrative again and consider its significance for Jewish and Christian communities and for your own faith. We will pay particular attention to what the story reveals about God and God's work in the world, the experience of liberation, and what it means to be a covenant people.

Instructor: Christine Yoder                                         Location: Columbia Theological Seminary

Details and registration


Guthrie Scholars 2014 Learning Cohort

Starting: 9/22/2014
Ending: 9/26/2014

The Guthrie Scholars Program is a learning opportunity offered in the fall on an application basis.  Scholars are invited to campus to pursue their topic choice focusing on a pressing issue of the church from a Reformed perspective.  The program covers the cost of a single room and meals in the dining hall during the week. Applications reviewed as they are received, and enrollment is limited.  Additional information including the program brochure and application may be found on the seminary website, http://www.ctsnet.edu/guthrie-scholars.


Introduction to Spiritual Direction

Certificate in Spiritual Formation

Starting: 9/28/2014
Ending: 10/1/2014

This is an introductory exploration of spiritual guidance, including its history, theological foundations, various models and practice.  We will look at the differences between spiritual direction, pastoral counseling, and psychotherapy, and also seek to understand why people seek spiritual guidance. We will offer some guidelines for ethical and effective practice as a spiritual companion, and discuss how one might find a spiritual director.  The class will include presentations, small group meetings, and practicum experience of observing and participating in spiritual companionship.   This class will be helpful if you are curious about what spiritual direction is and want to explore it at an introductory level.

Instructors: Deedra Rich and Debra Weir                  Location: Montreat Conference Center

Details and registration


Immersion Experience: An Invitation to a Deeper Spiritual Life

Certificate in Spiritual Formation

Starting: 10/2/2014
Ending: 10/5/2014

Discover the key ideas and foundational practices for the grand adventure of life in the Spirit! During this Thursday-Sunday Spirituality Immersion Experience, you will explore the origins of the Christian spiritual tradition, while learning the formative elements of Biblical, monastic, and Reformed spirituality. Our schedule includes time for personal reflection through guided meditative journaling — an exercise for exploring your own unique journey with the living God. Getting to know your fellow students, in both small group and one-on-one settings, will support your practical application of the knowledge acquired over the course

Instructors: CTS Faculty                                              Location: Columbia Theological Seminary

Details and registration


Money and Your Ministry

An Online Course

Starting: 10/6/2014
Ending: 10/31/2014

Using the current book by Margaret Marcuson by the same title, this course will focus on helping participants interpret and reframe their understanding about money in the congregation, and, approach the issue of money in the church from a less anxious frame of reference.

This study presents us with deeper and less talked-about issues related to churches and money. Oriented from a systems theory perspective, Marcuson’s text addresses the matter of money and ministry rarely touched upon: coming to terms with one’s relationship with money and how that impacts ministry leadership for stewardship.

This course raises generative questions that will help the participant clarify how her or his relationship with money influences the capacity to provide pastoral leadership for the congregation. The course’s premise is that until the pastoral leader resolves his or her personal issues about money, no amount of fiduciary expertise will have lasting impact on the church’s issues about stewardship is “right on the money.”

This course begins October 6 and ends October 31, 2014. Early registration discount deadline is August 15, 2014. Register early!

Instructors: Israel Galindo, Margaret Marcuson

This is an online course.

Details and Registration 


Spiritual Direction Supervision Training Program

One Year Training Program

Starting: 10/10/2014
Ending: 10/11/2015

Together in the Mystery is an organization that offers a year-long training program in partnership with Columbia Theological Seminary. This training program is for experienced spiritual directors who want to be trained as a spiritual director supervisor as well as for those discerning a call to supervise other directors and those in spiritual direction training programs.

Spiritual directors seek supervision as they attempt to grow in their ability to notice and respond to God’s presence during their spiritual direction practice. Supervisors mentor, teach, and consult with spiritual directors as they grow in their ability to
· identify what opens them to God’s presence during sessions and what distracts them,
· perceive and better understand instances in which they hold space for directees to encounter God and those in which they   distract directees from doing so,
· offer spiritual direction ethically and with integrity, celebrate their strengths, and more.

Weekend I: October 10-12, 2014 (early registration discount ends on August 15, 2014 )

Weekend II: October 9-11, 2015 (early registration discount ends on August 14, 2015 )

Details on Training Program

Application Information

There will be a separate registration for Housing and Meals once you have been accepted into the program. 


Growing Into Tomorrow…Today

(PCUSA Board of Pensions Pre-Retirement Planning Seminar)

Starting: 10/21/2014
Ending: 10/22/2014

Planning for retirement can be challenging. This free-two day seminary is for members of the PCUSA Board of Pensions and guests planning to retire within the next fifteen years. Look beyond finances to inform, educate, and inspire a journey toward wholeness in retirement.

  • Identify key questions for discernment
  • Assess your finances and options for saving before retirement
  • Discuss healthcare and housing options
  • Create next steps in life balance, relationships, housing, health and finances

The seminar will be led by a Board of Pensions Education Specialist and Retirement Planning Consultants. Seating is limited to 30 participants. Course registration for this event is through the Board of Pension (www.pensions.org/seminars) and will be announced in the summer of 2014.  Please direct general inquiries to education@pensions.org or call 800-733-7752 ext 7223.. Registered participants will receive instructions about housing and meals as part of the registration process.

Instructors: Board of Pensions Education Team 


Food & Garden Spirituality in the New Testament

Certificate in Spiritual Formation

Starting: 10/23/2014
Ending: 10/26/2014

Garden. Vineyard. Mustard seed. Tree of life. Soil. Root. Branch.  In this session we will explore together agricultural imagery that is at the heart of biblical stories and teachings. Our traditions invite us to return regularly to the garden, to experience anew how human beings can only thrive when we are integrated into the whole of creation.

Instructor: Gail O’Day                                                 Location: Montreat Conference Center 

Details and registration 


Post-Retirement Seminar

(PCUSA Board of Pensions Post Retirement Living Seminar)

Starting: 10/23/2014
Ending: 10/23/2014

Retirement planning doesn't end when you retireThis free one-day seminar is an informative update on the state of the Pension Plan and other applicable resources. It’s designed for those who receive a pension check from the PCUSA Board of Pensions: retired plan members, survivors, and their guests. Covered topics include:

  • One’s vocation in retirement
  • Pension Plan update
  • Medicare and Medicare supplement update
  • Post-employment financial management
  • Housing allowance and retirement
  • Assessing your estate plan (including updating wills)

 The seminar will be led by a Board of Pensions Education Specialist. Seating is limited to 30 participants. Course registration for this event is through the Board of Pension (www.pensions.org/seminars) and registration will be announced in the summer of 2014.  Please direct general inquiries to education@pensions.org or call 800-773-7752, ext. 7223. Registered participants will receive instructions about housing and meals as part of the registration process.

Instructors: Board of Pensions Education Specialist


NEW COURSE: Small Churches: Adventures in Vitality

Starting: 11/3/2014
Ending: 11/5/2014

Do you have fewer than 150 in your worship service?  This event is for you! 

Three former Alban Consultants present material specially designed for small congregations. A series of four learning modules address key aspects of small church vitality, including a closing session designed to help participants integrate their learning. Discounts for teams are available.  

Instructors: Congregational Consultants Sarai Rice and John Wimberly, and Senior Consultant Dan Hotchkiss. 

This event was developed by the presenters as an Alban seminar, while they were associated with the Alban Institute. For a full description of that event, click HERE.  

Details and registration


The Still Small Voice is the Sound of Sheer Silence: Contemplative Prayer for Beginners

Certificate in Spiritual Formation

Starting: 11/10/2014
Ending: 11/14/2014

When Elijah went to the mountain of the Lord and experienced the presence of God, traditional Bible translations say he encountered a “still small voice.” But the New Revised Version translates that same phrase as the sound of sheer silence! For centuries, Christian saints, scholars and mystics have recognized that silence is the key to spiritual growth — and that meditation and contemplation are the keys to silent prayer. But beginning (or deepening) a practice of meaningful, regular silent prayer can be challenging indeed. This experiential retreat, perfect for beginners (but suitable for everyone), explores the elements of contemplative prayer in a gentle, structured, and supportive way. We will address the common challenges in the practice of contemplation: from distracted thoughts, to restlessness, to difficult or “afflictive” memories and feelings, as we consider the wisdom of both past and present teachers of the contemplative way. Best of all, we will have time every day to begin and deepen our own adventure of meeting our loving God in silence.

Instructor: Carl McColman                                         Location: Columbia Theological Seminary

Details and registration


Leadership in Ministry Workshop (Atlanta) NEW Extended Learning Opportunity

Starting: 11/17/2014
Ending: 11/19/2014

Dates:             Session I - Nov. 17-19, 2014

                      Session II – March 9-11, 2015

The Center for Lifelong Learning is a new location for Leadership in Ministry (LIM) workshops beginning in the fall of 2014. Participants will learn how the concepts of family emotional process can be applied to their own ministry contexts, and, explore the theological implications of these concepts. This program is comprised of two three-day sessions (fall and spring). Each session follows the themes of Dr. Edwin Friedman’s book, Generation to Generation, with one day devoted to each of the minister’s three interlocking families: the minister’s own personal family (nuclear and extended), congregation member families and the congregation as a family. 

The Program fee of $480 includes all program fees, refreshments and six meals for each session (dinner Monday through lunch Wednesday. Housing on campus is available for an additional cost).

Details and registration 


The Church: A System of Relationships. An Introduction to Bowen Systems Theory and Congregational Leadership

Starting: 4/14/2015
Ending: 5/1/2015

This course is an introduction to Bowen Family Systems Theory (BFST) applied to the congregational context and to congregational leadership.  Through formal guided discussions, reflecting on personal experience, and examining latent theological ideals of congregation, Church, and leadership, participants will gain a new understanding of their congregation and their leadership roles. This is an online course

Instructor: Israel Galindo

Details and Registration


Registration 4-8 weeks prior to each course is encouraged, as pre-course preparation and reading may be required.  Courses may be canceled or postponed if sufficient numbers of participants are not enrolled 3-6 weeks prior to the start date of the event.