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Ask Christian Theological Seminary alumni what the most formative part of their student experience was, and often you will see faces light up as they tell you about the value of their relationships with classmates and professors. Some classmates continue their collegiality across long miles and borders. Others have the good fortune of being able to gather in person. One thing is the same across the board:  the cohorts and collaborative support they found during seminary did not end when they walked across the commencement stage.

CTS Associate Dean for Student Life Rev. Ayanna Garrett graduated from CTS with her Master of Divinity degree in 2010. During her years as a student, she met incredible people who helped her grow as a minister and leader.  Rev. Ayanna formed such strong friendships at CTS that they continue to be a regular part of her life over a decade later. Once every 6 weeks or so, Rev. Ayanna meets up with 5 former classmates and fellow CTS alumni for dinner, social activities, or a relaxed gathering at one of their homes. This group of six self-proclaimed sisters completed their MDiv degrees together and includes:

  • Alexia Ellis, a former elementary education administrator who is now Executive Pastor at New Beginnings Church and a Lilly Endowment clergy consultant
  • Andrea Lewis, a former clinical project manager at Lilly who now serves as a correctional chaplain
  • Loretta Thomas, a former executive assistant who is now a hospital staff chaplain in Indianapolis
  • Anastasia Holman, formerly a corporate human resources manager who is now Director of Chaplaincy Education for Indiana University Health System, ACPE certified educator, NAVAC and BCCI board certified chaplain, ministerial staff with the AME Zion church, and current Doctor of Ministry student at CTS
  • Myra Whitaker, a former defense logistic agency team lead and marketing representative for Turbine Manufacturer, now a hospital staff chaplain
  • Ayanna Garrett, former educator and admissions recruiter, current Associate Dean for Student Life at CTS

When the group gathers, the connections they made in seminary provide a solid foundation for continued accountability, growth, support, and respite. “It’s like a reunion of the sisters when we get together – we just love on one another. The comradery we built in seminary continues to bless our lives,” says Garrett. The formation that happens at CTS truly goes beyond the classroom, beyond the pulpit, and continues to have impact well beyond the seminary years.


From left: Andrea Lewis, Loretta Thomas, Myra Whitaker, Ayanna Garrett, Alexia Ellis.


Anastasia Holman


Ayanna Garrett and Andrea Lewis