Community life at Columbia is a vital mixture of the ordinary and the extraordinary. Together we seek to live out our faith as members of the one body of Christ. It is often in the ordinary experiences of campus life that the grace of God is revealed in extraordinary ways.
Life at Columbia involves the whole person. We encourage an uncloistered mentality that balances the need for personal reflection and growth with the activities of the wider community. We affirm the value of a rich inner life, recognizing that every student must chart his or her own spiritual course through a variety of opportunities available at the seminary and in the community.
- Residential Life
- Family Life
- Area Schools
- Opportunities for Spouses
Worship is central to our life together. We hold chapel four times each week and celebrate communion each Friday when classes are in session. Students frequently lead vespers and prayer services, and a number of small groups meet to address spiritual concerns.
The Spirituality Program offers several spiritual enrichment retreats and events each year, providing nurture, Bible study, worship, and the practice of spiritual disciplines.
Wednesday forums offer the Columbia community opportunities to consider significant issues for the church in the world, to be exposed to persons from other traditions and parts of the earth, or to be directed in spiritual formation. Most of the forums are designed and led by student organizations under the direction of the Student Coordinating Council, Columbia's student government association.
Throughout the week, Columbia offers recreation opportunities such as volleyball, aerobics, and intramural team sports, including football, softball, and basketball. Community leagues provide opportunities for children and adults who wish to participate in organized sports or recreation. The local state-of-the-art YMCA offers student memberships as well.
Student groups organize picnics, parties, and study-breakers throughout the year. These events are opportunities for the community to gather for fun and relaxation. In addition to these organized events, students frequently get together for movies, dinners, music, or ball games.
Our location in metropolitan Atlanta also provides numerous opportunities for acts of service and mercy. In recent years Columbia students have worked as volunteers with Central Presbyterian Church's Night Shelter and other ministries offering sanctuary and support for homeless men, women, and children; Common Ground, a ministry with persons suffering from AIDS; and prison ministries. In addition, students have the opportunity to live in The Villages of East Lake, a model redevelopment community, where they lead a student-initiated outreach program for the children of the neighborhood.
Columbia is a campus and a neighborhood. The Columbia community is distinctive in that many faculty and staff members live in 21 seminary-owned houses on streets encircling the campus. The warmth of community life is one of the seminary's great strengths.
We maintain a variety of comfortable, affordable apartment units and residence halls on campus. For students who prefer to live off campus, there are a variety of housing options within easy commuting distance.
Columbia emphasizes the value of family to give students a sense of "home." Children are an integral part of community life and participate in many activities held throughout the year. The seminary provides a playscape and picnic area in the Village apartment community where children make friends among those with whom they live, play, and go to school. Many excellent day care programs are available in the Decatur area. Frequently, spouses of Columbia students offer child-care services in their homes on campus.
Children living on campus are in the City Schools of Decatur school district . Decatur students consistently perform above the state and national averages on standardized tests at all grade levels. City Schools of Decatur is currently ranked in the top ten school districts in Georgia in SAT performance and fourth in the state in overall performance in all schools on the Georgia Criterion Reference Test. Children in kindergarten through third grade attend Winnona Park Elementary School, a block and a half walk from the Village. Fourth and fifth graders attend Glennwood Academy, which is also close to the seminary. These neighborhood schools have wonderful reputations and are noted for parental involvement. Children in grades six through twelve attend nearby Renfroe Middle School and Decatur High School. The high school offers a broad curriculum with many advanced placement courses; its average SAT scores are well above the national average.
Spouses of Seminarians (SOS), one of our student organizations, helps support wives and husbands of seminarians through regular social events and group study. Those spouses who choose to work off campus find that employment opportunities abound in Atlanta. In addition, spouses may participate free-of-charge in most seminary courses and offerings of the Center for Lifelong Learning.