Two New Faculty Appointed at Columbia Seminary

Two New Faculty Appointed at Columbia Seminary

March 31, 2017—On Tuesday, March 28, the Board of Trustees of Columbia Theological Seminary approved the recommendations made by two search committees to President Leanne Van Dyk for the appointment of two new tenure-track faculty members: Dr. Melinda A. McGarrah Sharp as Associate Professor of Practical Theology and Pastoral Care, and Dr. Christine J. Hong as Assistant Professor of Educational Ministry. Both positions are effective July 1, 2017.

“We are very excited about the appointments of these two remarkable new colleagues to our faculty. Dr. McGarrah Sharp and Dr. Hong each bring to Columbia the gifts of rigorous and relevant scholarship, inspiring and skillful teaching, broad interdisciplinary knowledge, demonstrated leadership in the church and world, and a profound pastoral identity,” said Christine Roy Yoder, Interim Dean of Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “We are eager to learn from and serve alongside them for many years to come.”

Dr. Melinda A. McGarrah Sharp serves currently as Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology and Ethics at Phillips Theological Seminary (Tulsa, OK). She received her MA and her PhD in Religion, Psychology, and Culture from Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN), her MAR with an ethics concentration from Yale Divinity School (New Haven, CT), and her BA in Religious Studies from The University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA). Dr. McGarrah Sharp is a member of the United Methodist Church.

A leading scholar on intercultural and postcolonial pastoral care, Dr. McGarrah Sharp is author of the book Misunderstanding Stories: Toward a Postcolonial Pastoral Theology (Pickwick, 2013), and many articles and chapters in books. She is co-editor of the peer-reviewed Journal of Pastoral Theology, and co-facilitator of an Intercultural Pastoral Theology Study group of the Society of Pastoral Theology. Her current projects include a book about navigating obstacles to postcolonial pastoral care.

Dr. Christine J. Hong serves currently as Assistant Professor of Worship and Evangelism at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (Louisville, KY). Prior to joining the LPTS faculty, she served as an associate for interfaith relations at the national office of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Dr. Hong received her PhD in Practical Theology with a concentration in Religious Education at Claremont School of Theology (Claremont, CA), her MDiv and ThM at Princeton Theological Seminary (Princeton, NJ), and her BA in English literature and communications from The University of Washington (Seattle, WA).

Dr. Hong is author of the book Identity, Youth, and Gender in the Korean American Church (Palgrave Pivot, 2015), as well as several articles and chapters in books. Her research and teaching interests include interreligious education, the theological and spiritual formation of children and youth among communities of color, and Asian-American spiritualities. An ordained Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA), she serves the wider church as co-convener for the Interreligious Table of the National Council of Churches of Christ (NCCC) and co-convener and steering committee chair of the NCCC’s Muslim Christian dialogue. Dr. Hong is also an executive council member of Religions for Peace (USA) as part of her commitment to the cultivation of inter-religious understanding and peace.

“With the appointments of Dr. Hong and Dr. McGarrah Sharp, Columbia continues its legacy of leadership in the disciplines of practical theology, and moves forward in timely and fresh directions,” says President Leanne Van Dyk. “We are fortunate to welcome them to the Columbia Seminary community.”

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 and formation for ministry in the service of the Church of Jesus Christ. Columbia 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

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