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The Rev. Shavon Starling-Louis Appointed Campus Minister at Columbia Theological Seminary

Columbia Theological Seminary has appointed the Rev. Shavon Starling-Louis – fresh off the culmination of her term as Co-Moderator of the 225th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) – as Campus Minister, effective August 1.

Starling-Louis returns to the campus where she earned a Master of Divinity degree with honors in practical theology in 2013.  

“I am overflowing with excitement and joyful anticipation as I accept the call to be the campus minister of Columbia Theological Seminary,” she said. “Returning to this vibrant community, which has been instrumental in shaping and supporting my ministry, feels like a homecoming. I bring with me over a decade of experience in pastoral ministry and the embodied knowledge and wisdom gained from serving in national denominational and international ecumenical leadership roles.

“I am eager to support the students and the community, fostering connections and reconnections that promote wholeness, peace, and justice,” Starling-Louis said. “Together, we will strive for both individual and collective thriving, turning ourselves over in mind, body, and spirit to curiosities and practices that promote God’s shalom. The opportunity to walk alongside each of you in this journey fills me with immense gratitude and hope.”

Starling-Louis has traveled the world extensively with Co-Moderator, the Rev. Ruth Faith Santana-Grace, as ambassadors and advisors for the PC (U.S.A.) since their term began in 2022 under the theme of “Unbounded, We Thrive.”

She also has a deep background as a pastor and co-pastor, currently serving as a project-based pastor with Unboxed Ministry where she partners with congregations and groups to promote justice, connection, and reparative healing.  She also has been a pastor at churches in Charlotte, N.C., Huntersville, N.C., Providence, R.I., and Midwest, City, Ok.  Her collaborative leadership includes the Charlotte Presbytery’s Anti-Racism Team, Planning Team for the 225th General Assembly, the NEXT Church Strategy Team, the Mo-Ranch Women’s Conference Planning Team, and the Quality Enhancement Plan Team for Columbia Theological Seminary in 2012-13.

“One of Columbia Seminary’s vision prayers mentions, ‘We pray that Columbia’s community will embody the welcome, hospitality, justice, and belonging of the reign of God,’” said Columbia Theological Seminary President, Rev. Dr. Victor Aloyo Jr.  “I am exceedingly grateful to God for the call of our new full-time Campus Minister, the Rev. Shavon Starling-Louis.

“We all have different sides of our persona, and at Columbia, we aspire to optimize support services to promote the holistic well-being of our students, staff, and faculty,” he said. “The Rev. Shavon Starling-Louis, a Columbia alumna and faithful servant of Christ and the Church, will bring passion and expertise to cultivating inclusive platforms for our campus community’s flourishing with the utmost integrity. We are grateful for the content of her ministry and all that she will bring as we forge new avenues of theological exploration, leadership development, and ministry formation.”

A native of St. Petersburg, Fla., Starling-Louis is a 2008 graduate of St. Leo University, with a bachelor’s degree (Cum Laude) in Psychology with a concentration in counseling.  Her master’s degree from Columbia focused on Anti-Racism and Art in the congregational setting. 

“It is a precious gift and a joyous day to be called to collaborate and create with a true friend and colleague in Christ’s ministry of the Church,” said the Rev. Dr. Kathryn Threadgill, Columbia’s vice president and Dean of Student Formation and Campus Culture.

“Rev. Shavon Starling-Louis brings such spirituality and passion, such experience and love, to this inaugural role of full time Campus Minister at Columbia Theological Seminary,” she said. “The Office of Student Formation and Campus Culture team cannot wait to welcome and work with Shavon in all that God is calling us to do and share with this beloved Columbia community. I want to thank the Search Committee: President Victor Aloyo, Dr. Christine Roy Yoder, Dean Natasha Patterson, Jody Sauls, Morgan Burge, and Susan Landrum for their wisdom in discernment, their thoughtful commitment of time, and the faithful following of the Holy Spirit that led us to Rev. Shavon Starling-Louis. This is an exciting new day at Columbia Theological Seminary. Thanks be to God!”

“Rev. Shavon is someone who poured into me from afar during my time in seminary,” said Morgan Burge, a 2024 Columbia graduate. “Her mentorship shaped my leadership and sense of call, and I couldn’t be more thrilled that more people in the CTS community will be blessed by her abundant gifts and ministry experience. Rev. Shavon is one of those rare people who is relatable and authentic while at the same time embodying wisdom, spiritual maturity, and theological depth. On top of that, her prayer life is rich and shines through all that she says and does. I look forward to witnessing all of the ways that Shavon will shepherd, resource, and care for our students, staff, and faculty in the years to come, and I’m praising God for making the way clear for her to step into this essential role.”