The CTS Alumni Board, which plays a critical role in the life of the seminary, is excited to welcome three new members: Rev. Raymond Austin, Jr., Rev. Carmen R. Fernandez, and Rev. Chesla T. Nickelson.
An involved alumni community is essential for every thriving institution of higher education, and CTS is no exception. The Alumni Board is responsible for overseeing the activities of the CTS Alumni Association, and it works in numerous ways to strengthen alumni relations and build generational connections to the student body. Rev. Luis Gierbolini, Associate Pastor at Central Christian Church in Indianapolis, currently serves as the Alumni Board President.
Joining the Alumni Board are three CTS grads who bring considerable ministry and vocational experience to their new roles. Rev. Raymond Austin, Jr., earned his MDiv from CTS in 2012 after completing an undergraduate degree from American Baptist College. Austin has served church communities across the northeast and Midwest, and he is currently the Senior Pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church and Head Chaplain at Northeast Ohio Correctional Center. He is currently pursuing a DMin at Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit, MI.
Rev. Carmen “Charito” R. Fernández has served in pastoral leadership for several congregations, most recently as Associate Minister of Gender Road Christian Church in Canal Winchester, OH. After hoping to attend seminary for several years, Fernández enrolled in CTS’s MDiv program in 2006 and graduated in 2010. She has since served in bilingual and English-speaking ministries.
Rev. Chesla T. Nickelson is a minister, consultant, and coach, who works with individuals, groups, and institutions on mental health, sexuality, and faith formation. Nickelson earned an MDiv and MAMFT from CTS in 2013 and has served in congregational ministry, denominational leadership, and non-profit work. Nickelson now offers an array of counseling and pastoral services in and around the Hampton Roads, VA, area.
We are excited to welcome these three new members and are looking forward to their contributions to the life of the CTS community!