Started UPSem 2015: Rev. Gail Henderson-Belsito (MDiv 2020)

  1. Started UPSem 2002: Rev. Lori Raible (MDiv 2006)
  2. Started UPSem 2003: Rev. Dr. Ophelia Garmon-Brown (MDiv 2008)
  3. Started UPSem 2004: Rev. Nadine Ellsworth-Moran (MDiv / MACE 2011)
  4. Started UPSem 2005: Rev. Noe Juarez-Loayza (MDiv 2010)
  5. Started UPSem 2006: Rev. Lorenzo Small (MDiv 2013)
  6. Started UPSem 2007: Rev. Ken Fuquay (MACE 2011 / MDiv 2015)
  7. Started UPSem 2008: Rev. Jonathan Davis (MDiv 2014) 
  8. Started UPSem 2009: Rev. British Hyrams (MDiv/MACE 2016)
  9. Started UPSem 2010: Rev. Charmaine Smith (MDiv 2017)
  10. Started UPSem 2011: Rev. Vikki Brogdon (MDiv 2016)
  11. Started UPSem 2012: Rev. Dr. Doug Harr (MDiv 2018)
  12. Started UPSem 2013: Martin Pruitt (MDiv 2018 / MACE 2019)
  13. Started UPSem 2014: Rev. William Joseph “Joey” Haynes III (MDiv 2019)
  14. Started UPSem 2015: Rev. Gail Henderson-Belsito (MDiv 2020)
  15. Started UPSem 2016: Rev. Eric Tang (MDiv 2021)
  16. Started UPSem 2017: Rev. Marina Luckhoo (pursuing MDiv)
  17. Started UPSem 2018: Jason Smith
  18. Started UPSem 2019: Ryan Atkinson
  19. Started UPSem 2020: Sedae Slaughter (pursuing MACE)
  20. Started UPSem 2021: Matt Wiedle (pursuing MDiv and MACE)

The following is part of a series of 20 profiles that represent each year that Charlotte has been enrolling students. 

Associate Pastor
Caldwell Presbyterian Church
Charlotte, North Carolina

From Brooklyn, New York, Rev. Gail Henderson-Belsito (MDiv 2020) has called North Carolina home for many years since her husband transferred to the city to continue his work in banking. While still “up North,” Henderson-Belsito had attended Williams College and, then, Wesleyan University. Following graduation from Williams, she took teaching and administrative positions at several schools before choosing to stay at home once her first child was born. The next two decades were spent as a homeschool teacher, mother, wife, and new Presbyterian.

Having grown up Baptist, Henderson-Belsito eventually joined First Presbyterian Church, Charlotte after arriving in the Queen City. While teaching Sunday school at her new church, members of her class regularly nudged her to consider seminary. Despite being encouraged by a friend to drive over to the Union Presbyterian Seminary Charlotte campus to speak with Richard Boyce, she kept putting it off. But one day during a training meeting for the Session, providence intervened. “During Session training, Dean Boyce came to First to teach us about polity. I approached him after the class and said, ‘Well, I never went to visit Union, so God sent Union here to me at Session training.’” Her choice of UPSem Charlotte was easy. It was in the city where she lived, and it was connected to her new denomination, the PC(USA).

Her time at UPSem Charlotte provided even more than she might have initially hoped. Seminary proved to be not just a place to learn but a place to change. “I appreciated and loved the conversations in class, over lunch, and in the library, even though we should have been quiet in the library. I learned so much during those conversations, wrestling with Scripture and theology and each other when we disagreed.”

While studying at UPSem Charlotte changed her thinking, it confirmed her vocation and verified her conviction that a seminary campus in Charlotte is vital. “A seminary in Charlotte matters because there are many people here who are wrestling with the call of God on their lives, while also wrangling families, careers, church involvement, and other activities. Charlotte needs a place for the study of the Word of God, church history, and the future of the church. And UPSem Charlotte provides a place for preparation for ministry and also for the deepening and strengthening of ministry that is already happening.”