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Columbia Theological Seminary announces 2020 Alumni Awards

A pastor and a ‘pastorist’ will be honored during a Feb. 4 luncheon

by Columbia Theological Seminary | Special to Presbyterian News Service

Columbia Theological Seminary is giving its 2020 Distinguished Service Award to the Rev. Dan Milford. The Rev. Lisle Gwynn Garrity is receiving the Pioneer in Ministry Award. Both will be honored during a Feb. 4 luncheon at the seminary. (Contributed photos)

DECATUR, Georgia — Columbia Theological Seminary has announced the recipients of its 2020 Alumni Awards to be presented during their annual “Homecoming” alumni reunion event to be held Feb. 3-5 on campus in Decatur, Georgia, near Atlanta.

The Rev. Dan Milford will receive the Distinguished Service Award, as someone who represents the ideals of Columbia Theological Seminary. The Rev. Lisle Gwynn Garrity will receive the Pioneer in Ministry Award, representing the mission of Columbia Theological Seminary “to educate and nurture faithful, imaginative, and effective leaders for the sake of the church and the world.”

The Alumni Association Luncheon and Awards Ceremony will be hosted on Feb. 4.

This year’s alumni reunion will include worship, lectures and workshops by Columbia Seminary faculty and alumni, and will include the 2020 O’Connor Lectures by biblical scholar, pastor and author the Rev. Dr. Renita Weems. Weems will deliver two lectures offered free to the public in the Harrington Center Chapel on the seminary campus located at 701 S. Columbia Drive, in Decatur. The first lecture will be from 7-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 4. The second lecture runs from 11 a.m. through noon on Wednesday, Feb. 5. A reception will be held immediately after the first lecture.

Distinguished Service Award

Milford has degrees from Texas A&M (B.A. in Modern Languages) and Columbia Theological Seminary (M.Div. ’93 and D.Min. ’08).

He has been a pastor for 25 years, serving Lake Murray Presbyterian Church in Chapin, S.C.; First Presbyterian Church in Sand Springs, Okla.; and Covenant Presbyterian Church in San Antonio. He has been the moderator of Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery, a commissioner to two General Assemblies and has served in a variety of presbytery leadership positions. He was president of Sand Springs Community Services, helping modernize and revitalize a social services organization for basic needs assistance.

For nearly 28 years he’s been married to Nadia Rosales. Their three children — Austin, Joshua, and Alexis — are in their early 20s. They love traveling, camping and other outdoor activities and playing games as a family.

Mental health ministry became a passion for Milford four years ago. The “Beautiful Minds Coalition” leads the effort at Covenant Presbyterian Church, and Milford is helping to create the nationwide Presbyterian Mental Health Network. He said that he and members of Covenant Presbyterian Church are grateful to have the opportunity to learn from peers, families, professionals and other congregations to integrate mental health ministry into their congregational life.

Pioneer in Ministry Award

The Rev. Lisle Gwynn Garrity (M.Div./M.A.P.T ’15) is a pastorist (pastor/artist), retreat leader and creative entrepreneur seeking to fill the church with more color, paint, mystery, and creativity. Her ministry is rooted in the prophetic and freeing power of art to connect people more deeply to God and one another.

She is the founder and creative director of  A Sanctified Art LLC, a collaborative arts ministry providing multimedia resources for worshiping communities. She works with a team of artists in ministry to bring scripture and theological themes to life through visual art, worship films, poetry, liturgy, graphics, banner art designs, devotionals and more. The organization’s mission is to support churches with practical resources to get creative beyond the barriers of limited funds, expertise and time.

In addition to her work with A Sanctified Art, Gwynn Garrity travels widely to work with congregations and communities of faith. She leads creative retreats of all kinds, facilitates communities in creating large-scale art together, live paints for worship and events and creates commissioned art for churches and individuals. She approaches her work as an artist primarily through the lenses of pastor and theologian, and vice-versa. Her unique calling is to fully integrate both roles in ministry to serve the wider church. Learn more about her work by visiting and

About Columbia Theological Seminary

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, leadership development, and formation for ministry in the service of the Church of Jesus Christ. Columbia Seminary offers six graduate degree programs and dozens of courses and events as a resource for church professionals and lay people through The Center for Lifelong Learning. For more information, visit


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