In the footsteps of generations of Columbia graduates who have gone before them, these alumni enter ministry deeply formed and equipped for the holy opportunities and challenges of leadership in the church and the world.
Margaret Fleming, MDiv ’20, completed a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) requirement at an Atlanta trauma hospital. Through this experience, her call was revealed, and she will begin a residency program in chaplaincy in the fall. “In these exceptional times, I have relied even more on the creativity and resiliency that was instilled in me at Columbia, which has enabled me to reimagine ways to do the holy work of extending comfort, care, and compassion to God’s people in need.”
Rev. Bobby “B.J.” Graham, MDiv ’20, serves as the solo pastor of an Atlanta church, even while studying full time at Columbia.“I have learned to look beyond doing church in the four walls that we knew it to be. My congregants have found comfort and fellowship in online worship, prayer vigils, Bible study sessions and spiritual development classes. I’m especially grateful for one of my worship courses at Columbia that taught me how to integrate imagination, technology, scriptures and the arts. That class and so many others prepared me for the many ways our church has needed to adapt and to know that ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ Phil 4:13.”
Rev. Stephanie Hankins, MDiv ’06, is a campus minister and associate pastor. COVID-19 has impacted her community heavily, leaving many without enough to eat. She led her congregation in a swift and compassionate response to adapting the church food pantry to one that distributes hundreds of boxes of food per week to those in need, including many children. “My Columbia education was incredibly formative and equipped me for experiences I could never have known. When I realized that our community was experiencing material need, I was equipped to lead with imagination, faith and resiliency to get through a time such as this. Uncertainty still exists, yet, we continue to walk in faith, aware that our ministries are always open to change as we answer God’s call to care for our neighbors.”
Columbia Seminary has persevered through all kinds of challenging times during its nearly 200-year history. In every time, Columbia has remained faithful to its mission to prepare gifted and resilient leaders, like Margaret, B.J., and Stephanie, to serve the church and the world—in whatever extraordinary circumstance they faced. Would you join us in this mission with your gift today? Your generous support is indispensable in calling, preparing and sending those whom God has claimed for ministry.