Columbia Friendship Circle
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 printed brochures to share, email Valrie Thompson.
2021 CFC Scholarship Recipients
My name is Thomas Miller and I am in my final year of the Dual-degree MDiv/MAPT program and will graduate in May 2021. I am currently serving as the EM/Youth Pastor at Korean Presbyterian Church of Tampa in Tampa, FL. I am a Candidate on the ordination track for the PC(USA). In 2014 I graduated from Appalachian State University with a B.S. in International and Comparative Politics, and a minor in Spanish. For a few years after my undergraduate studies I worked for a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting Gold Star children and families. God has blessed me and my wife, WooRi, with a beautiful son, Michael who is currently 8 months old. He was born right before the COVID-19 lockdowns and has lived his life in the midst of this current pandemic. I am hopeful that God will bless and transform the church in many ways both now and after COVID-19. I have witnessed firsthand how churches have adapted and evolved to continue ministering toGod’s people during this time.
This scholarship is a great support to my family during this uncertain time. My wife was furloughed earlier in the year due to the pandemic, thus making our financial situation unstable. This scholarship will help our family to secure necessities such as rent, groceries, etc. I am grateful to the CFC for their generosity and compassion. This scholarship has truly been an unexpected blessing in an unexpected season. It encourages my family to dive deeper into our faith to know that we have a God who provides for us. Thank you to the members of the CFC for helping our family in this upcoming year. May God bless you and your families with abundant love, joy and peace.
Mary Beth Walker
My name is Mary Beth Walker, and I am a third-year student at Columbia Theological Seminary. I began my seminary journey in 2011 taking classes part-time while working full time in youth ministry at Peachtree Presbyterian Church. In 2015, I began working at the Lovett School as the lower school chaplain. As a full-time chaplain and teacher, I had to stop taking my seminary classes. I loved my role at Lovett so much that I felt a sense of call to become ordained in order to better serve my community as a chaplain. This call was bittersweet as it meant that I was forced to leave Lovett in order to finish my degree, but it offered me the ability to join the community at Columbia. I am seeking a Master of Divinity and am anticipating graduation in May 2021.
I am a native of Atlanta and actually live in the same neighborhood that I was raised in! I attended Vanderbilt University for my undergraduate studies where I earned a degree in Elementary Education. I quickly realized I had a passion for encouraging and discipling young people and shifted my focus towards ministry. I stayed at Vanderbilt an extra year and got my Master of Education. After college, I came back to Atlanta to work at Peachtree Presbyterian Church. It was in my last year on staff at Peachtree when I met my husband, Ryan, when he came on staff in the high school ministry. We were married in 2015 soon after we both left Peachtree. He is currently a Wealth Advisor, and we have three boys that are three and under! Charles will be 4 in December, Shep turned 2 this July and David turned 1 in September. They keep us on our toes, but we are incredibly blessed with such sweet and loving children.
We currently attend Kairos Church, a PC(USA) church in Sandy Springs with about 200 members. I am on the leadership team and have had the honor to help build out our new youth ministry program. I am currently a candidate for ordination within the PC(USA) and am hopeful that I will receive a call after graduation this Spring. As I think about life after Columbia, I hope to find a role that will allow me to utilize all the knowledge and wisdom that Colombia has given me to encourage and equip those around me to deeper faith.
I am so honored and deeply grateful for this scholarship opportunity. As a mother of three children and our family being reliant on one source of income, this scholarship allows me to place my focus on my calling as opposed to fretting over the costs associated with pursuing a Master of Divinity. I am grateful to the Columbia Friendship Circle for all they have done to fund this scholarship for which I am so grateful.