Nov 30 2007

Holiday Lights

We’re mere moments away from December, and as the fall leaves turn brown and become mulch under our feet and the turkey and pumpkin decorations are put away, the Advent and Christmas season is immediately ushered in. It’s that time of year when we get new candles for the Advent wreathe, compose Christmas cards, and hear Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree everywhere we turn. One of the harder tasks in decorating for the Christmas season has got to be untangling strands of lights and then successfully winding them around the Christmas tree in such a way that no cord is visible to the naked eye and there is an even distribution of lights at all angles of view, from the crawling baby to the towering uncle.

Lights have been a recent topic of discussion on both the campus level for Emory University, through the Office of Sustainability Initiatives, as well as on the seminary level here at Candler School of Theology. In fact, light bulbs, water conservation, electricity use, and sustainable food sources are all lively discussions and movements around campus. Last spring, the Office of Sustainability Initiatives invited the Emory University community to submit grants for sustainability projects. Brad Schweers 05T, admissions advisor in the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at Candler, wrote a grant to switch all of the standard incandescent light bulbs in Bishops Hall and Cannon Chapel, Candler’s academic, administrative, and chapel buildings, with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) in order to reduce Candler’s electricity usage. The second, and more far-reaching, purpose of the project proposed by Brad was to educate students, staff, and faculty about compact fluorescent lighting and larger environmental issues, from a Christian and religious stewardship viewpoint and empower them to switch their personal and congregational lighting from incandescent to compact fluorescent lighting.

Brad was awarded the grant, and began switching incandescent bulbs in Cannon Chapel and Bishops Hall with CFLs in late August, as classes resumed. Brad switched just under a hundred bulbs. Over the expected ten thousand hour life of the bulbs, each CFL will save approximately four hundred seventy kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity as compared to their incandescent counterparts. To measure results, Brad compared energy consumption from September and October 2007 with the consumption from those same months in 2005 and 2006.

Georgia Interfaith Power and Light (GIPL), a local non-profit working with religious congregations on environmental justice issues, whose Executive Director, Katy Hinman graduated from Candler with her Master of Divinity (MDiv) in 2006 and is a candidate for ordained ministry in The United Methodist Church, teaches that a compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) is fluorescent lighting designed to be used in a standard (incandescent) light bulb socket. Because incandescent bulbs work by heating up a metal filament until it is white-hot, they produce mostly heat, which is why a fluorescent bulb using only thirteen watts of electricity can produce light comparable to an incandescent hogging sixty watts.

Since switching our bulbs to CFLs two months ago, Candler has reduced energy consumption by twelve percent. We have saved almost eight thousand Kilowatt hours of electricity, which is more than an average household uses in a year. In addition, Candler has put 6,800 fewer pounds of carbon dioxide into the environment. That is four Honda Civics worth, by the way. We have saved $490 on our energy bills in September and October of this year. If you are thinking like a Candler student, that’s a lot of meals at Cox Hall, Dooley’s Den, and Emory Village, which are eateries in and around Emory that are frequented by seminarians.

Brad Schweers’ passion for energy reduction and environmental concerns continues. He says, “For me, energy conservation is more than just commonsensical, though it is that, of course. As a Christian, energy conservation is a matter of stewardship, a matter of caring for the Creation over which God has given us responsibility. Jesus said that the essence of life is to love God, love neighbor, and love your self. I think today he would add love Creation. Switching out a hundred light bulbs at Candler is, for me, a part of that Christian love.”

Georgia Interfaith Power and Light, along with their partners, are encouraging people to give Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs as Advent, Hanukkah, and Christmas presents this year. By switching one incandescent light bulb to a CFL, can save seventy percent of the energy used by an incandescent bulb; four hundred seventy kilowatt-hours of electricity (that’s like running a hair dryer non-stop for sixteen days); seven hundred thirty pounds (pounds!) of CO2 from entering the atmosphere; $36 over the life of the CFL bulb, which can be up to ten years. Katy Hinman 06T, at GIPL reminds us, “It is important that we not only make the theological connection between our faith and the need to be good stewards of our environmental resources, but also that we empower ourselves and our congregations to take positive action toward ensuring a thriving planet for generations to come.” Honor one of the colors of the holiday season, and be Green-friendly and give Green gifts that will honor God’s great creation.

Candler is a great place to explore pressing cultural and theological issues, such as the environment, as well as be in dialogue with timeless theologians and biblical texts. For more information about Candler School of Theology, visit our website at www.can
, or email the
Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at In addition, you can call us at 404.727.6326, or learn more about the admissions process at Candler by clicking here. Look for my profile on Facebook (Candler Intern-Theology) and the Candler School of Theology Group at

Lane Cotton Winn 07T

Candler School of Theology

Office of Admissions and Financial Aid Intern

Nov 23 2007

Thanksgiving at Candler

While I was a “Recruiter on the Road” last week, one of the pinnacle events of the fall semester at Candler School of Theology, Emory University was happening during my absence. Certainly, I was not expecting the Candler community to plan events around my schedule, but I was saddened to miss the annual Thanksgiving Dinner, nonetheless. It is all that I have been hearing about from friends around campus, and everyone turned out this year for this special evening of dining and fellowship. For well over ten years, the Office of Student Programming (OSP) at Candler has sponsored and hosted a traditional Thanksgiving dinner to students, faculty, staff, and families of Candler as a gift to the community.

Cynthia Meyer, Assistant Dean of Students, along with her staff of students, yearly transform Brooks Commons, the gathering grounds of the Candler student body for study, meals, and hanging out, into a warm, homey atmosphere that would make Martha Stewart proud. This year’s menu included favorite dishes such as turkey, gravy, stuffing/dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, carrot soufflé, macaroni and cheese, and dinner rolls. What more could a starving student want with just weeks left in the semester until final examinations? Well, if you had any room left after going back for seconds and thirds, there is always dessert. This year’s Thanksgiving dinner ended in sweetness with sliced treats like pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and red velvet cake, which I hear was the hit of the dessert table.

There is such a great turnout and excitement behind this event that they had to offer three seating throughout the late afternoon and evening to accommodate the number of guests at dinner. In reflecting on the event, Cynthia Meyer said, “The annual Thanksgiving Dinner has developed into a great tradition of feasting and sharing. Gathering together like a huge extended family reminds us of the importance of community. The dinner also prompts us to give thanks here at Candler for the gifts of one another and our shared experiences of learning, worshipping and growing together.”

Upon entering the newly decorated space and scanning Brooks Commons in search of friends to sit near, you see clusters of faculty and staff sitting among students. This is a setting of much dialog and celebration. In fact, Dr. Steven J. Kraftchick, Director of General & Advanced Programs and Associate Professor of the Practice of New Testament Interpretation was spotted eating with all the first year Master of Theological Studies (MTS) students. Dr. Kraftchick is the MTS Advisor, and because the first year MTS students had a colloquy, which is a fancy Latin word for discussion group, with the professor immediately following the first dinner seating, the group decided to attend the meal together before class began. Continuing to pan the room, you can see the staff of the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid eating merrily together, as well as Dean Jan Love greeting students as she munches on her plate of food.

Thanksgiving Dinner at Candler is one of my favorite events of the school year because it invites our entire community to take a break around the table together over a shared meal. Kim Jackson, Master of Divinity (MDiv) Middler said of the dinner, “I had an absolutely wonderful time. The food was great, and it was a welcomed break from all the studying that I’ve been doing as we near the end of the semester.” As this academic season comes to a close, there is much haste and excitement heading into final examinations and the winter break from classes. In this brief exercise of pause and fellowship, we are invited to give thanks, serve one another, and feast at the banquet that has been prepared for us. Sounds a lot like communion, doesn’t it? And for me, it is a sacred moment.

Where have you experienced sacred moments in your everyday life?

What are you thankful for?

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish or meal to eat?

We would love to host you next year at Candler’s Thanksgiving Dinner, and for you to become a part of this vibrant community. For more information about Candler School of Theology, visit our website at, or email the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at In addition, you can call us at 404.727.6326, or learn more about the admissions process at Candler by clicking here. Look for my profile on Facebook (Candler Intern-Theology) and the Candler School of Theology Group at

Nov 16 2007

Recruiter on the Road

As the academic days change from midterms to finals, my responsibilities continue to grow and develop in my Internship with the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at Candler School of Theology, Emory University. Over the past week, I have made two trips on behalf of Candler, joining the ranks as a “Recruiter on the Road.” I attended a Seminary Fair at Furman University in South Carolina, with twelve other seminaries present, as well as Texas Wesleyan University and TCU, both in Fort Worth, Texas, where I shared in a meal and conversation with current students.

This was my first experience to represent Candler solo to prospective students and future seminarians. Some of us may have been student ambassadors, tour guides, or student hosts during college, but being a Recruiter on the Road comes with new challenges and responsibilities. Luckily, Candler’s main Recruiter on the Road, Jena Black, gave me some pointers to remembering key facts about Candler when doing a presentation or when I may only have three or four minutes to tell people about all the amazing things Candler has to offer. For example, Jena uses a trick to remember the aspects of our new Master of Divinity (MDiv) curriculum, which we launched this fall.

Candler’s curriculum is like the USDA Food Pyramid. We offer a solid base of core classes that will nourish and sustain you in all your ministry endeavors. As you move higher on the food pyramid you find practical ministry classes as well as our Contextual Education program, which work hand in hand to provide you with tools you need to fully engage in your ministry sites from the very beginning. With our concentrations, which you might think of as a minor, you move higher on the food pyramid, as you gain expertise in a particular area of theological and ministerial interest, such as Theology and Ethics; Congregation, Society, and Personality; and Theology and the Arts. And finally, at the top of our food pyramid analogy are electives and free credits. You certainly don’t have to wait until your final year to take electives, for they are available sparingly beginning even your first semester. The electives will add some sweetness and round out your education as Candler, just as fats, oils, and sweets do at the top of the food pyramid. Another reminder trick that Jena uses for helping remember information is the analogy that the United Methodist Candidacy Process is like Dating, but you will have to ask her specifically to explain that one to you.

As I traveled northeast and westward this past week, I found that Candler is truly everywhere I go. I certainly took pieces of Candler with me, from a Candler School of Theology tablecloth to pins and stickers bearing our name and logo. However, what I discovered on both of these journeys is that Candler is already represented well beyond the four walls of the seminary, beyond the borders of Emory University, beyond the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia. Candler School of Theology is met in the face of Reverend Keith Ray 91T one of the campus ministers at Furman University, who hosted a seminary fair at Furman. Keith and I reminisced about professors and classes at Candler during lunch, and it turns out that Dr. Don Saliers, who before retiring in May, 2007, was the William R. Cannon Distinguished Professor of Theology and Worship and Director of the Master of Sacred Music Program for many years at Candler, baptized both of Keith’s children.

Candler is represented through two of the Texas Wesleyan University Religion Department faculty members, Dr. Jesse Sowell 63T and Dr. Ronald Ballard 60T, who each received a Master of Divinity from Candler before pursuing PhDs. Candler is met in the eager questioning and discernment of one of the prospective students I had the honor of sharing a meal with at TCU. His inquiries, soul searching, and passion for dialog and new discoveries are what makes Candler such a fantastic community to live, serve, learn, and grow in. Most of us who work in the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid are Candler graduates, so every time we host visitors to campus, recruit on the road, and answer phone calls and emails, we are sharing our own personal piece of the Candler experience with all of you. Candler has meant so much to us, that we have decided to share this community with others through our vocation and ministry.

Candler has Recruiters on the Road all the time, and I invite you to check out our schedule to see if we will be in your area in the coming months. In addition, we would love to host you here on campus, and you can schedule a visit online at our site as well. I would like to have the opportunity to further explain our Food Pyramid or Dating analogies to you, so please email us at to continue this conversation. You can also contact us by calling 404.727.6326 or check us out online at In addition, look for my profile on Facebook (Candler Intern-Theology), and the Candler School of Theology Group at

Lane Cotton Winn

Candler School of Theology

Office of Admissions and Financial Aid Intern

Nov 9 2007

Registration: Anticipation and Jubilation

Sweaty palms. Lying awake late at night with anxiety. Setting the alarm extra early to not miss the appointment. With the level of excitability and unrest around Candler School of Theology this week, you’d think it was the first day of starting a new job or the day of the GRE or final exams. Students and even the Registrar’s Office tend become a little more hyped up on caffeine and adrenaline during Course Registration. Today marks the end of a week of registration for the 2008 spring semester at Candler School of Theology and a month of conversations around campus about what classes and professors to enroll in next semester. I may be exaggerating ever so slightly about the nervousness of the students during the registration process, but with so many creative and intellectually stimulating classes being offered in the spring, I can understand why it would be hard to narrow it down to a manageable schedule.

There are a variety of new classes that are being offered in the spring from each of our four areas of study: Biblical Studies, History and Interpretation of Christianity, Christianity and Culture, and Introductory Arts of Ministry. In Biblical Studies, Professor John Weaver, the Head of Public Services at Pitts Theology Library at Candler, will teach a new class called “Missions in the New Testament,” which will study the literary and social history of missions in the New Testament and the practices explicitly involving the New Testament in the global history of Christian missions up to the present. A primary goal of the course is to cultivate informed and discerning use of the Bible in contemporary missions. In addition to this new class, Registrar Trudy Blackmon is finding that Professor Carol Newsom’s class “The Wisdom Literature” is a popular one this registration season and will likely fill up. Dr. Newsom’s current research focuses on the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Wisdom tradition, and apocalyptic literature. She is author of The Book of Job: A Contest of Moral Imaginations and she is the co-editor of the Women’s Bible Commentary.

History and Interpretation of Christianity also has a couple of very popular classes next semester. Professor Joy McDougall will teach “The Trinity, The Human Person, and the Christian Life.” This is an advanced seminar on classical and contemporary approaches to the doctrine of the Trinity and its implications for theological anthropology and the shape of the life of faith. Particular attention will be paid to contemporary proposals relating the doctrine to social and ethical issues that are challenging churches today.

Another highly popular class with a waiting list and full enrollment is Professor Ian McFarland’s class on “Sex, Sin, and Salvation: The Christian Doctrine of the Human Person.” This course examines some key themes in the topic of theological anthropology, with special emphasis on the diversity of ways in which Christians through the centuries have answered the question, “What does it mean to be human?” The material surveyed will pay particular attention to issues of gender identity, human sexuality, and original sin, since these topics have proven particularly important for the development of Christian reflection on human beings in the Western Christian churches; but attention is also given to the ways in which questions of race, ethnic identity, disability, and class have affected Christian understandings of personhood. I’m sure you can see why these classes are so wildly popular!

The area of study entitled Christianity and Culture is launching the largest amount of new classes this spring, including, “Spirituality and Liberative Pedagogy: U.S. Third World Feminists and Womanists Religious Practices of Healing,” with Professor Renee Harrison; “ Understanding Religion and Health in the Context of HIV,” with Professor John Blevins, which is also offered as a Pastoral Care class, and “Rastafari Religion,” with Professor Noel Erskine. Not only are these newly designed classes being offered, there are also several others in this area of study which have got students lining up for spots in the class. Both classes being offered by Professor Thomas Thangaraj are “sell outs” because this is his last year of teaching at Candler before retiring to his home in India; he has been a beloved professor here for many generations of students. He will teach “Images of Christ in World Christianity,” as well as “The Church’s Mission in a Pluralistic World.” Professor Liz Bounds is offering a one-credit class on “Skills in Conflict Transformation” that I have heard numerous students mentioning on their list of desired classes. Though some of these classes may be full before first year students are able to register, there are so many options that I believe each schedule will have depth and diversity of study.

We also have new classes in our Introductory Arts of Ministry area. Dr. Russell Richey, Professor of Church History and former Dean of Candler, will teach a new class called, “Evangelism and the Camp Meeting Movements in North America;” Professor Jimmie Abbington is teaching “Global Perspectives in Christian Worship;” and Professor Carol Lakey Hess will teach a new class on “Religious Education Through Fiction.” Dr. Hess’s class incorporates classic novels, including F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, as well as many other favorites.

What makes a class popular? Which classes get you most excited about theological education? If you were going to design a class, what would be its title and area of focus? Trudy Blackmon, Candler Registrar shares, “In the balance to meet the needs of two concurrent MDiv curriculums, it was exciting to see Candler produce a number of new courses for the upcoming semester that students have shown great interest in.” This is an exciting time to be in study, class, and reflection at Candler School of Theology.

If these classes sound appealing to you, we would love for you to make a campus visit to Candler to sit in on a class, attend chapel, and meet current students. You can register to visit campus by clicking here or email the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at You can call us at 404.727.6326, or learn more about Candler on our website Look for my profile on Facebook (Candler Intern-Theology) and the Candler School of Theology Group at

Lane Cotton Winn
Candler School of Theology
Office of Admissions and Financial Aid Intern

Nov 2 2007

Hymns of Peace

How many hymns can you name whose texts are about peace? After the suggestions of Let There Be Peace on Earth and This is My Song, what hymns are left to sing of peace? There may be a few choral arrangements and solo pieces we can uplift, but very few congregational hymns name our hearts weeping desire for peace. With over 3,000 casualties of American soldiers in Iraq, and countless—literally uncountable, numbers of Iraqis killed during this hostile season of their country’s history, we seem at a loss for hymns of peace and concord. What is there for us to sing? How can we keep from singing?

The recent Annual Women’s Forum at Candler School of Theology on “Women and Peacemaking” offered some anthems and themes for us to sing in times of great need for peace and stillness in our hearts, lives, and in the world. The Women in Theology and Ministry Program’s forum met for two days last week, and offered several conversations over meals, including “Peacemakers Telling Their Stories” and “Peacemaking Through Art.”

The noonday storytelling luncheon featured a Midrash written and orated by Kim Jackson, a Master of Divinity Middler, as well as a monologue written and performed by Kanisha Billingsley, MDiv middler, about AIDS and the violence and silence it causes. Kim’s provocative line, “I bled the tears I could not shed,” speaking from the voice of the woman who touched Jesus’ garment and was healed of her bleeding, found in all three synoptic gospels, led us solemnly into a conversation about peacemaking with Professor Renee Harrison, Interim Director of Black Church Studies and Visiting Assistant Professor of West African and African American Religious Practices and Culture, and Senator Nan Orrock, a Georgia State Senator since 1987, who began her work for justice and peace in the Civil Rights Movement with she worked for SNCC in Atlanta and Mississippi. Dr. Harrison asked us repeatedly, “How would you define peace in terms of your own existence and life experiences?” As each of us departed that lunch conversation, we contemplated our own thoughts on being peacemakers and peacekeepers in the context of our personal life as well as ministry.

When the forum resumed for dinner, three Candler students offered artist interpretations of peacemaking through presentations of photography, dance, and spoken word. The talent and gifts of the Candler community continue to amaze and delight me, and this evening was another such occasion. Just as I inquired above about hymns of peace, Professor James Abbington, Associate Professor of Music and Worship, in his presentation on “Peacemaking through Music,” also asked us that same question. While the dinner guests commiserated about the Church’s lack of hymns and sacred texts about peace, he introduced us to several contemporary women hymn writers who are writing moving, current, fresh hymn texts on peace, which can often be set to traditional and standard hymn tunes. I ask again, with this gift of new language for the gospel message and call to peace: How can we keep from singing?

Professor Abbington and his co-presenter, Rev. Cynthia Wilson, a Deacon in The United Methodist Church, popular preacher, teacher, conductor, concert artist, and Grammy nominee, shared a creative array of hymns and songs of peace, which we spoke and sang together, as we formed a congregation over the dinner tables.

As a closing reflection, I offer one of the hymn texts shared with us that evening. May the Peace of Christ Be Yours was written by Mary Louise Bringle, who received her PhD from the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University and is currently on the faculty at Brevard College in North Carolina. These beautiful words that take us through the seasons of the year remind me that peace does not just mean a lack of war or an end to violence. Rather, peace is a state of mind, a calm heart, a soothing spirit, and a grace-filled gift from God.

May the Peace of Christ Be Yours

May the peace of rolling oceans,
glinting green with silver foam
through the pull of tides and seasons:
may the peace of Christ be yours.

May the peace of winter stillness,
snowflakes piling white on white
showing ev’ry creature’s footprints:
may the peace of Christ be yours.

May the peace of springtime raindrops
and the scent of moistened grass
clad in lilies of the valley:
may the peace of Christ be yours.

May the peace of summer evenings,
darkness hung with shooting stars
and the fireflies’ dance of gladness:
may the peace of Christ be yours.

May the peace of autumn mountains
etched in gold against the sky,
hushed and strong through countless ages:
may the peace of Christ be yours.

Text: Mary Louise Bringle, 2002; Copyright 2006,
GIA Publications, Inc. Used by permission.

The Women in Theology and Ministry Program is not the only outlet at Candler to discuss peace, hymnody, and gather with the community for a free meal. There are countless opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to be in dialogue together about all of the pressing theological, social, and personal life issues surrounding us, and we would love for you to join in that conversation. If you are interested in enrolling at Candler or talking to someone about your own discernment process, please contact us in the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at, call us at 404.727.6326, find us online at and look for my profile on Facebook (Candler Intern-Theology) and the Candler School of Theology Group at

By Lane Cotton Winn 07T

Candler School of Theology
Emory University
Office of Admissions
and Financial Aid Intern