Columbia Friendship Circle

Come See Columbia Day on April 16, 2020

Come See Columbia day POSTPONED until April 21, 2021

Columbia Friendship Circle began when the spouses of two seminary professors encouraged other Atlanta wives to contribute one dollar each to help the seminary. From that small group, Columbia Friendship Circle has grown to include all who participate in the Presbyterian Women’s organizations throughout the synods of South Atlantic and Living Waters. Churches from other denominations are also welcome to join.

Their mission continues today in three ways:

Pray for the students, faculty, staff, and all members of the seminary community

Encourage men and women to consider Christian ministry

Provide financial assistance through selected projects that help meet the seminary’s needs

In recent years support has focused on scholarships for students with families and fellowships awarded to outstanding graduates.

To support the goal of five scholarships — $60,000 — make a gift online (Be sure to select “Columbia Friendship Circle” from the Designation Drop-down menu!), by check, or with stock.

For questions, information, or brochures, email Valrie Thompson.


2020 CFC Scholarship Recipients

Karen Fletcher

I am Karen Fletcher, a third-year dual degree (M.Div. / MAPT) student anticipating graduation in the spring of 2021. My spouse, Z, and I live in the CTS Village, homeschool our four children Walker 13, Ellie 11, Noah 7, and Drew 6, and are members of North Decatur Presbyterian Church where we have attended since moving to Decatur when Z entered seminary 4 years ago.

Though my Associate degree was in my first love, music, I decided music education was not the career field for me and after 17 years in technology and customer service in the banking industry, I chose to answer the call of God on my life to attend seminary for the purpose of becoming an ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament for service to the church.

This journey began with completion of a BA in Christian Studies that led to Columbia Theological Seminary. I wasn’t sure ordination was the right path for me in the beginning, but I have since discovered a love for people and proclamation of the word that is undeniable. I have a sense of the guidance of the Holy Spirit to this place at this time and excitement for what lies ahead.

CTS has been an amazing experience so far and is made better by the Columbia Friendship circle who has helped to provide for my family’s needs so that we can focus on relationships and education rather than worrying about how to pay bills on top of deadlines and other obligations. As I move through the next year and a half toward graduation, I am immensely thankful for all of those, especially CFC, who have supported me and my family with love, prayer, and financial assistance as we discern this call to ministry.

Eben Alonge

My name is Ebenezer Alonge. I was born in the afternoon of Thursday 28th January 1982, in the rusty city of Ibadan, 100km North of Lagos, Nigeria. Growing up was tough, but my dad and mum always taught us to be content and to give thanks to God in all things. We were also taught to work hard, trust in God’s grace and favor, and to be hopeful for a brighter future. I am the 5th of 6 children, but my family was never nuclear, as less privileged cousins and other extended family members lived with us from time to time. Sometime there were as many as 15 people crammed in our two- room apartment. Our house was always filled because of my parents’ deep generosity in spite of our limited financial resources. This act of kindness and generosity, they ingrained in me and my siblings.

I left home at age 11 to live with my maternal uncle for the next nine years of my life. My Uncle who is a journalist by profession is also a church pastor on weekends. Bi-vocational ministry is a popular practice among pastors in Nigeria. Living with a more affluent family in my culture is usually a subtle form of indentured servitude. Living with my uncle therefore served dual, mutual purpose: as I helped him and his wife with their house chores, I was sponsored through high school. I grew up very quickly and became a lot more responsible than an average teenager of my age because I lived away from home. This high sense of responsibility and maturity helped me a great deal in College and ultimate in life generally.

I had my University education at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, where I obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English in February 2006, and Master of Arts in African Literature in 2011. It was at the University that I pastored my first congregation, a thousand five hundred Campus church.

While in college also, I met Oluwasimisola, who has been my wife since April 17th, 2010. We have three children: two boys and a girl. Simi and I, my wife co-pastored David’s Court Nigeria between 2014 and August 2017 when we left Nigeria for my Theological education at Columbia Theological Seminary, where I am currently a senior, graduating in May 2020.

We are currently members of North Avenue Presbyterian church, where I am also an inquirer for PCUSA ordination.

What a gift to be able to return to my country to begin my ministry without having the burden of loans! For those of you who have made this possible for me and so many others, I am so thankful.

Sarah Lane

I am Sarah Lane, married to Clint Lane and together we have 3 beautiful girls- Angelina (15yrs old), Cameron (13yrs old), and Kate (11yrs old).

I am in my 3rd year of MDiv and hoping to graduate in 2020. I am a member of Decatur Presbyterian Church here in Atlanta with a long commute from Woodstock, but at least I had a shorter drive for my undergraduate degree, Bachelors of Business Administration in Accounting from Kennesaw State University.

I do not have a dream of serving any specific church, rather, I am excited about the prospect of serving God in ministry. I do not know what that will be like and where it will lead me. So, the mystery of finding out where God will call me to serve, gives me a sense of joy in waiting on the Lord!

But this wait would not be possible without the generous gift of financial scholarship from Columbia Friendship Circle. Thank you for journeying along with me, as most of you know, walking by faith is never an easy path, especially when you have family obligations and children whose futures hang in the balance. The freedom from tuition-fee-worries has enabled me to study with a peace of mind. And with that peace, I can go home to my family and care for them by being present with them. I thank the good Lord for all the people whom He has blessed and in return they are a blessing to Columbia Friendship Circle through their generosity.

Emily Mooneyhan

Grace and Peace in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! My name is Emily Mooneyhan. My son, David Lyell, (age 13) and I live on campus at Columbia Theological Seminary where I am pursuing a Master of Divinity degree, graduating in May 2020. I received an Associates of Arts and Sciences degree from the University of South Carolina in 2017, majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Religious Studies. I am a lifelong member of Providence Presbyterian Church in West Columbia, SC, where I continue to worship with my church family.

I have been able to serve at Providence Presbyterian as Director of Youth Ministry, Elder, and Christian Educator for over ten years prior to my time at Columbia. I am very excited to begin a career in ordained parish ministry and to continue to serve the PC(USA) church in this capacity. Thank you and your organization for supporting me through your financial support. The scholarship I received made it possible for me to come into this final stretch of my education with a greater confidence for my future because of this financial security and peace of mind. This scholarship has allowed me to focus on my next steps without the burden of worrying over the needs of today. That is a great and liberating gift.

It is with a great deal of gratitude that I have been able to accept this gift from the Columbia Friendship Circle. I am humbled and deeply appreciative to be a part of your efforts to support families in their educational goals. Thank you so much for your generous gift that has been a blessing to my family and so many families here at Columbia Theological Seminary.