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Columbia Theological Seminary Announces Distinguished Service Awards


Decatur, GA.—At its annual Alumni/ae Association meeting on April 19, Columbia Theological Seminary presented the Distinguished Service Awards for 2005 to Jefferson Aiken, Jr. and Deborah D. Wells. The awards are presented annually to two graduates who have shown outstanding Christian service in ministry. Dr. Aiken, a 1969 graduate of Columbia, has served as pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Dallas, NC; Paw Creek Presbyterian Church, Charlotte, NC; and First Presbyterian Church, Sumter, SC. Since 1992 he has been senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Allentown, PA. During his pastorate, each one of these churches has showed significant growth and renewal in their mission. Aiken also serves as vice-chair of the Board of Trustees of the Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network in Allentown; on the Board of Directors of the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in Philadelphia; and the Board of Directors of Presbyterian Homes, Inc. in Pennsylvania. Wherever he has lived, Dr. Aiken has been active in community affairs, having received two Governor’s Awards for Community Service, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award, and the Rotarian of the Year award. In addition, he has chaired or served as president of his local United Way, Rotary Club, Habitat for Humanity, and the Chamber of Commerce. The Rev. Deborah D. Wells, who graduated from Columbia in 1991, has been chaplain to Presbyterian Village, a residential community for older adults, in Austell, GA, since 1992. She provides holistic care for the residents and their families, including providing for their spiritual needs, pastoral visitation, worship services, care during transitions and at the end of life. Commenting on her ministry to older adults, Wells says, “I’m helping the church to fulfill all of its baptismal promises by caring for and nurturing people for all of their lives.” She also served on Columbia’s Alumni/ae Council from 2000-2003 as Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President, and President. Columbia Theological Seminary, located in Decatur, Georgia, was established in 1828 and is one of 10 theological institutions of the Presbyterian Church (USA). 

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