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

Twelve earn certification in Youth Ministry Leadership

YMLI grads Carrie Pannell, Suzanne Cornett,
Wendy Tomlinson, Patricia Burch, Rebecca Leonard

“On September 12, I graduated – again,” says Patrick Laney, associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Tuscaloosa, AL. “I completed a three-year journey with 11 other youth advisors/directors/ministers enrolled in Columbia Seminary’s Youth Ministry Leadership Initiative (YMLI).

“At the conclusion of the journey," Laney continues, "We all received a certificate and a beautiful new stole. It was a wonderful journey, where I learned a great deal about youth ministry through eight weekend courses ranging from pastoral care to Bible study to spirituality.

“I was reminded yet again that one of the greatest resources in the academic world is not the books we read, but the persons we share the reading with.” Laney and his classmates received Certificates in Youth Ministry Leadership during the third Capstone Retreat for YMLI, September 11-12. 

“That brings to 25 the number of people who have earned this certificate over the past five years,” says Sarah Erickson, director of Lifelong Learning. “All are involved in youth ministry as pastors or youth directors.”

Worship leaders at the Saturday afternoon service were Rodger Nishioka, the Benton Family Associate Professor of Christian Education, and YMLI co-directors Sarah Erickson and Neema Cyrus-Franklin, director of youth ministry for the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta. Nishioka’s sermon theme was, “A Lesson from Eutychus,” based on Acts 20:7-12.

The graduates, who completed eight courses and related readings and assignments, were presented stoles in recognition of their call to youth ministry. The graduates are as follows:

Patricia C. Burch, Birmingham, AL
Tonya Derringer Annis, Douglasville, GA
Suzanne Cornett, Birmingham, AL
Wade R. Hatter, Abilene, TX
Gary D. Holloman, Combine, TX
Patrick Wayne Laney, Tuscaloosa, AL
Rebecca Harvard Leonard, Durham, NC
Carrie C. Pannell, Anderson, SC
Michelle Lynn Phillips, Parkville, MO
Mary L. Shaw, Bentonville, AK
Wendy Beth Tomlinson, LaGrange, GA
Jeremy Cain Wilhelmi, Richardson, TX

More information about YMLI