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 seven 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.


Rev. Dr. Carlos Cardoza-Orlandi
Professor of World Christianity, Baylor University
Iglesia Cristiana (Discípulos de Cristo) en Puerto Rico

Carlos and his wife, Aida Lizzette, live in Waco, TX and are members of Primera Bautista church. Educated at the University of Puerto Rico, Seminario Evangelico de Puerto Rico, and Princeton Theological Seminary, and ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Puerto Rico, Carlos is a world Christianity scholar committed to Christian communities in the global south and cross-cultural and inter-religious training. He currently serves on the faculty of Baylor University as the Frederick E. Roach Professor of World Christianity, where his teaching and research interests include the transmission, reception, appropriation and retransmission of the Christian religion in the global south (Africa, Asia & Latin America); the socio-cultural interplay between Christians and people of other faiths, particularly those who practice Afro-Caribbean, Amerindian, Spiritist religions, and Islam; and the theoretical and theological/missiological constructions of the current interplay between cultures and religions in Africa, Asia and Latin America, including immigrants and transnational movements.

Michele Garren
Elder: First Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, GA
Presbytery of Greater Atlanta

Originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, Michele began her career in New York as a buy-side trader and fixed income portfolio manager at Citibank Global Asset Management. In 1993, she joined American
International Group as a portfolio manager before working with Invesco after relocating to Atlanta in
1996. She was elected Global Partner at Invesco in 2004 and retired from the firm in 2012. Michele
remains active at her daughter’s school. She served on the Board of Trustees from 2013 to 2019 and
currently chairs the Paideia Endowment Board.
Michele also serves as a Trustee Elder at First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta, where she is a member of the Investment Committee. In addition, Michele serves on the Investment Committee of Columbia Theological Seminary, on the board of the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power and Potential (GCAPP), and is a member of Ribbons of Hope, a grant making organization focused on women’s and
family issues. She has actively supported Zoo Atlanta having co-chaired the Beastly Feast and served on the Leadership Council for many years.

Rev. Dr. Byeong Cheol Han
Pastor: Korean Central Presbyterian Church, Atlanta,
Presbytery of Greater Atlanta

Born in South Korea, Rev. Han graduated from Yonsei University with an undergraduate degree in sociology before going on to complete an MDiv at Hanshin Univeristy Graduate School of Theology. He also holds degrees from McCormick Theological Seminary and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he earned his DMIn. Rev. Han has served churches in Seoul, Korea, Fort Wayne, IN, and Atlanta, Georgia. He is currently serving Korean Central Presbyterian Church, where he was called as senior pastor in 2009.

Rev. Dr. Brian Henderson
Pastor: St. James Presbyterian Church, Charleston, SC
Charleston-Atlantic Presbytery

Born and raised in Rankin County, Mississippi, Brian graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi before going on to Johnson C. Smith Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, GA. During his time in seminary, Brian served as a student pastor at Lebanon Presbyterian Church in Ridgeway, South Carolina, did mission work in Jamaica, and preached at several other churches across the country. In 2008 Brian received a Master of Arts in Religion from Memphis Theological Seminary and graduated in May 2016 with his doctorate from the same institution. He currently serves as an adjunct professor in the preaching and worship department. Brian has served as the Senior Pastor/Head of Staff at St. James Presbyterian Church in Charleston, SC since 2018. Before being called to St. James he served a congregation in Memphis, where he was the first African American to serve as Moderator of the Presbytery of the Midsouth. He has also served as the chair of the presbytery’s coordinating council, delegate to the General Assembly, and a member of the
presbytery Commission on Ministry and finance committee for the Synod of the Living Waters. Brian is married to Tanjula Jackson Henderson, a 5th grade teacher. They have one daughter, Laila Marie Henderson, who is in elementary school.

Rev. Dr. Sam Rutland
Theologian in Residence: First Presbyterian Church, Vero Beach, FL
Central Florida Presbytery

Sam’s hometown is Charlotte, North Carolina. He also attended college in North Carolina, graduating from Wake Forest University with a degree in religion. After earning his MDiv, Sam entered full-time parish ministry and went on to earn his DMin degree from Columbia Seminary in 1989. Sam served as the pastor of four PC(USA) congregations in Florida before retiring as the senior pastor of Miami Shores Presbyterian Church in 2013. He currently serves as Theologian in Residence for First Presbyterian in Vero Beach, FL, and is honored to be invited to serve as a trustee on the Board of Columbia Seminary.
Sam and his wife Mimi have two grown daughters and report that by far the greatest recent joy in their lives has been becoming proud grandparents to two new grandchildren. In his free time, Sam enjoys golfing and scuba diving. He is also learning to play guitar and piano.

Hon. Alan Thornburg
Member: First Presbyterian Church, Asheville, NC
Presbytery of Western North Carolina

Alan was raised in a large, close family on a farm in Jackson County, NC. He attended public schools before entering Davidson College. After graduation, he served for four years in Washington as a Legislative Aide before earning his law degree from Wake Forest University. He then served as clerk to Judge Sam J. Ervin III of the Fourth Circuit US Court of Appeals. Following his clerkship, Alan returned to Asheville where he practiced law for seven years. He served as a judge of the NC Court of Appeals, and currently serves as Senior Resident Superior Court Judge for the 28th Judicial District.
Alan also presides over Buncombe County Adult Drug Treatment Court and serves on the Governor’s Task Force on Racial Equity in Criminal Justice, the Chief Justice’s NC Faith and Justice Alliance, the NC Conference of Superior Court Judges Equity Committee, the Buncombe County Justice Resource Advisory Council Steering Committee, and the Camp Grier Youth Camp Board of Directors. Alan is
married to attorney Sarah Thornburg, who is active in the PC(USA) (currently Moderator-Elect of the Presbytery of Western NC). Their son, Sam, is a freshman at Bates College and their daughter, Sally, is a junior at Asheville High School.

Mel Walker
Member: Crossroads Presbyterian Church, Atlanta GA
Presbytery of Greater Atlanta

Mel was born in Winchester, Virgina and raised in Richmond, VA. After completing his undergraduate degree in accounting, Mel went on to study law and business at Harvard. After graduate school Mel and his wife, Dr. Vanessa Siddle Walker, settled in Atlanta, GA. They have a daughter named Sarah and attend Crossroads Presbyterian Church. Mel’s professional experience includes both private law practice and government law practice, but he has served for the last 25+ years as in-house senior counsel with Wells Fargo and predecessor entities.

The rest of our Board of Trustees is as follows: