Board of Trustees

 

Columbia Theological Seminary’s Board members come from different locations across the southeast. Our Board members also represent many different vocational backgrounds, bringing a wealth of experience to bear on the leadership of our institution.

Columbia is pleased to announce six new Board of Trustee members!

We are thankful to these committed leaders as they endeavor, along with the existing Board of Trustees, to share their gifts with the CTS community.

INCOMING TRUSTEES Class of 2023

Rev. Aisha Brooks-Lytle
Executive Presbyter, Atlanta, GA,
Presbytery of Greater Atlanta Synod of the South Atlantic

“I have spent the majority of my life and ministry in the Philadelphia tri-state area, in a variety of communities, cultures, and congregations. Before coming to Atlanta, I spent significant time serving in a large urban-suburban partnership that resulted in the creation of a shared ministry space nonprofit called, The Common Place. I treasure the experience of walking alongside clergy, community partners, lay leaders and donors to help create an organization meeting the needs of children, youth, and families in the heart of Southwest Philadelphia (www.thecommonplacephilly.org) I have lived and served in Atlanta for two and a half years in my role as Executive Presbyter. This presbytery is the largest in our denomination and holds rich theological depth, diversity of all kinds, and commitment to equipping clergy and congregations to fulfill their purpose and mission as disciples of Jesus Christ. A key factor of my most recent identity as a leader is my experience as a younger widow. My late husband succumbed to his five-year struggle with a degenerative neurological condition in 2018 at the age of 43. As I watch churches and institutions grapple with leading in the midst of change, I have found that the language and experience of grief, lament, resilience, and hope has been beneficial in conversations about how we can heal, grow, and become who God has called us to be.”

Rev. Dr. Brandi Casto-Waters
Pastor: Faith Presbyterian Church, Cape Coral, FL,
Peace River Presbytery Synod of the South Atlantic

Originally from Point Pleasant, West Virginia, Dr. Casto-Waters graduated from Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC and attended Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA from which she also earned her doctoral degree. She is pastor at Faith Presbyterian Church in Cape Coral, and previously served First Presbyterian Church of Greer. She also served as Associate Director of Celtic Cross and an adjunct member of the religion faculty at her undergraduate alma mater, Associate Pastor for Mission and Pastoral Care at John Knox Presbyterian Church in Greenville, SC, Hospice Chaplain in Atlanta, GA, Youth Minister at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, and Pastor Intern at First Presbyterian Church in Asheville, NC. She also was a member of the board of Triune Mercy Center in Greenville for eight years, for which she chaired several committees and was vice chair of the board. Dr. Casto-Waters is married to the Rev. Andrew Casto-Waters, also an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA). He graduated from Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC and earned degrees from Columbia Theological Seminary and Union Presbyterian Seminary. The Casto-Waters have two teenage daughters, Ella and Lucy.

Florida Ellis
Member: First Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, GA,
Presbytery of Greater Atlanta Synod of the South Atlantic

“One of the greatest blessings of my life has been serving on the Board of Columbia Seminary. Altogether I have served nearly 30 years since first being elected in the 1980s. When I graduated from college I went to work for IBM as a systems engineer, followed by a season of full-time homemaking and volunteer work. At 40 I went back to school, earned a degree in business and computers, and worked for a decade before retiring again. I had found that my volunteer work was more life-giving. I have served on the board of FCS Urban Ministries for about 30 years, as Clerk of Session at First Presbyterian for a season, and as moderator of Greater Atlanta Presbytery twice. From 2003-2013 I was on the Board of the Fund for Theological Education (now The Forum for Theological Explorations) and served as its board chair from 2011-12. I have recently joined the board of Opportunity International/Nicaragua, seeking wholistic development to lift subsistence farmers into the middle class. Doug and I enjoy traveling and spending time with our daughters and their families – sometimes both at once since our family is dispersed in Atlanta, Michigan, and Vancouver. Our family has grown to include eight grandchildren. My most noteworthy hobby is baking with freshly milled flour. My grandchildren enjoy coming for pancakes made from flour milled minutes earlier.”

Rev. Dr. José Irizarry
Affiliate: St. John’s Presbyterian Church, Devon, PA,
Presbytery of Philadelphia Synod of the Trinity

Dr. José R. Irizarry serves as Vice President of Education at the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (USA). He also teaches theology and culture courses for the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Villanova University. For the last 20 years, Irizarry has occupied academic administration positions as Program Director, Dean, and President. An ordained Minister of the PC(USA), he holds degrees from the University of Puerto Rico (BA), McCormick Theological Seminary (MDiv), and Northwestern University (PhD), as well as professional certificates from Boston University (PFr) and Cornell University (CPm). As a scholar in the field of religious education and intercultural relations, he has traveled internationally to lead seminars and conduct research. In 2007 he was elected President of the Religious Education Association in the US and Canada. Irizarry served on the Board of Directors of the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation for eight years, and has served on the Editorial Board of five ecumenical journals. He was appointed to the Faith and Order Commission of the National Council of Churches and to the Committee on Theological Education of the PC(USA). His major academic interests are international and intercultural relations, justice theory, critical pedagogy, aesthetics of space, and religious teratology.

Rev. Pen Peery
Pastor: First Presbyterian Church, Charlotte, NC,
Presbytery of Charlotte Synod of the Mid-Atlantic

Pendleton B. Peery (“Pen”) is a 2003 graduate of Columbia (M.Div). After graduation, he served as associate pastor to Second Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Virginia. Currently, he serves as pastor to First Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC, having served at First Presbyterian Church in Shreveport, Louisiana previously. Pen is married to Lindsey Wells Peery (also an ordained Presbyterian pastor), and they have four children, eldest son Wells Campbell, twins Tyler and Eliza, and youngest son Liam. Describing his call to pastoral ministry, Pen said, “Through nature and nurture of Presbyterian churches and institutions, I believe God has equipped me serve the mainline church that now finds itself at a crossroads. Preaching, teaching, and equipping leaders are my interest and passion – all to the end that the corporate witness of the church I serve will reflect the faithful, self-giving love of Jesus Christ.”

Rev. Dr. Kathryn Threadgill
Coordinator for Vital Congregations,
Presbytery of South Alabama Synod of the South Atlantic

Kathryn is the Coordinator for Vital Congregation for the Presbyterian Church (USA). She attended Montreat College, PC(USA) on a soccer scholarship. There she obtained her B.A. majoring in Bible and Religion with a concentration in Youth Ministry. Kathryn went on to study at Columbia Theological Seminary for both her Masters of Divinity and her Doctorate of Educational Ministries degrees. Her thesis explored why youth today are not experiencing the wonder of God in worship. As a minister of the Word and Sacraments, Kathryn has served churches in Greensboro, NC. and Mobile, AL. Kathryn is the beloved daughter of Ollie Rix and Dorothy Threadgill, and has twelve siblings from all over the world. Kathryn enjoys oil painting, wood working, kayaking, hiking, and spending time with the people she loves.

New trustees join the Rev. Elizabeth Goodrich who began her term midyear.

Rev. Elizabeth Cole Goodrich
Minister at Large,
Presbytery of Shepherds and Lapsley, Synod of the South Atlantic

Elizabeth is a native of Memphis, TN, and a graduate of Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and Columbia Theological Seminary (’03). She currently serves as a minister-at-large in the Presbytery of Shepherds and Lapsley and a co-owner of Thank You Books, a general interest, independent bookstore in Birmingham, AL. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of Gateway Family Services and the current President of the Mike and Gillian Goodrich Foundation. Elizabeth enjoys running, travel and sharing good food with friends and family. She and her husband, Mike, have three kids- Catherine, Gibson, and Andrew. They are members of First Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

 

Trustees elected for an additional term include:

Chris Henry
Pastor, Second Presbyterian Church Indianapolis, Whitewater Valley Presbytery, Synod of Lincoln Trails

Millie Snyder
Pastor, Myers Park Presbyterian Church, Charlotte Presbytery, Synod of the Mid-Atlantic

Tony Sundermeier
Pastor, First Presbyterian Church Atlanta, Greater Atlanta Presbytery, Synod of the South Atlantic

Scott Weimer
Pastor Emeritus, North Avenue Presbyterian Church, Greater Atlanta Presbytery, Synod of the South Atlantic

Damon Williams
Pastor, Providence Missionary Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia

 

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