Columbia Friendship Circle

Save the Date: Come See Columbia Day on April 16, 2020

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.

Sarah Vungsuanching Lane

My name is Sarah Vungsuanching Lane. Currently pursuing Master of Divinity at Columbia Theological Seminary. I am in my 2nd year and look forward to graduating in 2020. I am a member of Zo Presbyterian Church where my late father, Rev. Dr. Lianchinkhup was the founding pastor. I was born and raised in India. I have a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from Kennesaw State University. I also have an Associate degree in Science from Georgia State University. I have been and continue to be a full-time wife and mother, raising three beautiful daughters. My husband is Clint Lane and our oldest is Angelina, 14 years of age. Our middle child is Cameron, 12 years old and our baby is Katherine, 10 years old.

I am so grateful and thankful for this wonderful surprise. The scholarship will help remove some of the financial burden off my husband, who has been supporting me. And through this, I can now spend more time with my family. Not having to commit to Seminary study work will not only give me time with them, it will also take away the stress of having to adjust and readjust my long commute from Woodstock.

I want to let Columbia Friendship Circle know that you have made a difference in my life. Thank you for your act of kindness through this generous scholarship.