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Columbia Seminary offering courses on theological reflection, spiritual formation

Spring 2020 older adult ministry courses announced

The Vernon S. Broyles Jr. Leadership Center on the campus of Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. (Photo by Gregg Brekke)

DECATUR, Georgia — The Center for Lifelong Learning at Columbia Theological Seminary invites registrations for two upcoming courses in its Older Adult Ministry (OAM) course of study in the winter and spring of 2020.

“Theological Reflection and Older Adult Ministry” is now offered in an online format January 27- February 6, 2020. The six-week course will focus on theological topics of greatest interest among older adults, including salvation, heaven and resurrection; sin, forgiveness and grace; and the church as a caring community for children of God of all ages and stages of faith. It will equip participants to identify and use effective methods to support theological reflection among older adults. Dr. Paul “Skip” Johnson, a United Methodist pastor and pastoral counselor who also teaches Pastoral Theology and Care as part of the United Methodist Course of Study at Candler School of Theology at Emory University, will facilitate the course.

The courseSpiritual Formation and Older Adultswill be held on the seminary campus April 27-29. The course will focus on how congregations and other communities of faith can engage in conversations and practices that allow them to actively nurture spiritual formation into older adulthood by addressing pressing questions related to identity, leaving a legacy, loss of relationships, role in family and community, and facing diminishment and death. Rev. Mary Anona Stoops will facilitate the course. She currently serves at North Decatur Presbyterian Church in the realm of adult spiritual formation, with a particular eye toward the care and spiritual nurture of older adults. Stoops is also a spiritual director and coordinates the leadership team for the Certificate in Spiritual Direction program at Columbia Theological Seminary.

Registration information can be found here. Guest rooms and dining facilities are available on campus and housing may be reserved during the registration process.

“We are pleased to offer both online and on-campus courses in the OAM series, and are grateful for the experience and leadership Johnson and Stoops bring to the program,” said Sarah Erickson, director of Lifelong Learning and coordinator of the program. “These courses help faith communities — congregations, senior living communities and outreach programs — enrich their ministry among those who are in their “third 30” years of life.

The Center for Lifelong Learning at Columbia Theological Seminary partners with Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries Network to offer the Older Adult Ministry course of study to better equip those working in churches and faith-based organizations to address the needs of older adults. Older Adult Ministry courses are open to participants from any denomination or faith tradition There are four core courses, with two courses offered each year. A certificate in Older Adult Ministry may be earned by completing all four courses and a capstone project.

For more information about the Center for Lifelong Learning and their other courses and certificate programs, visit or email the CLL at

Columbia Theological Seminary is “cultivating faithful leaders for God’s changing world.”  As an educational institution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Columbia Seminary is a community of theological inquiry and formation for ministry in the service of the Church of Jesus Christ. Columbia offers six graduate degree programs and up to 60 courses and events each year as a resource for church professionals and lay people through The Center for Lifelong Learning (CLL). The Center for Lifelong Learning offers three other certificate programs including training spiritual directors and coaches, two scholars programs, and a post-graduate Pastoral Excellence Program that is focused on clergy leadership development. Over 800 persons attended CLL’s programs last year. For more information, visit


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