Oct 29 2008

Finding the Holy in the Hectic

From Kimberly Knight:

Ok, so this is my first blog entry, in the first semester of my last year at Candler. Where should I begin on this chilly October day? Well, we are at the midterm point but it seems as if finals are coming in fast. With all the papers due, OT exams and Contextual Education verbatim assignments piling up it can be hard to remember that we are blessed to be immersed in this holy endeavor and faithful community in order to answer our particular calls to ministry.

So what do folks around here do to connect with the Holy in the midst of the hectic? Lets take a look at.

Every week we gather in Cannon Chapel

This is an opportunity for regular worship with our colleagues. Here we experience a variety of worship styles, individual gifts and the graciousness of a diverse Body of Christ. In the midst of a week of hurries and worries, it is a gift to be able to rest for a while in the healing sights, sounds, and touches of services; Word and Table is on Tuesdays, a service of Word on Thursdays, and a welcome Friday Eucharist. This week is such a week of diverse gifts:


Preacher and Presider: Dr. Thomas E. Frank, Professor of Religious Leadership

and Administration, Coordinator of the Initiative in Religious Practices and Practical


Music: Candler Singers; Organist, Jamie Shiell

10/30 SERVICE OF WORD: Black Church Studies Worship

Preacher: Rev. Dr. Walter M. Brown, Senior Pastor, Believer’s House World Wide Ministries,

Jacksonville , Florida

Music: Organist, Dr. James Abbington


Presider: Rev. Bradley Schmeling, Pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Atlanta, GA

Other ongoing refreshment for the soul:

Morning Prayer

Tuesday—Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 7:50 a.m.

A daily office of song and scripture using the liturgy of multiple communities:

Tuesdays – A sung Anglican service, Rite II of the Book of Common Prayer

Wednesdays – A United Methodist Order for Morning Praise and Prayer

Thursdays – A Celtic Order featuring prayers of the Iona Community

Fridays – A modern Anglican service accompanied with meditative music from the Taize Community

Evensong and Holy Eucharist

Wednesday, 5:30 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.

Traditional Anglican worship open to the entire Emory University community


A contemporary service of praise and prayer

Wednesday, 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Click here to see many great slide shows of worship services in Cannon Chapel

Coming up!

Next week we are excited to hear from our first guest blogger of the semester, Karl Kroger. Karl, who was selected Emory University Student Leader of the month, will share with us the inspiring work in which he has been engaged. About this work, Cindy Meyer, in the Candler Chronicle, writes:

Each month during the academic year, Emory’s Office of Student Leadership and Service recognizes a student who has demonstrated outstanding commitment in the realms of leadership, service or scholarship and has gone above and beyond the call of duty to make Emory a vibrant, growing and welcoming community.Cited for his tireless work in leading Candler students to action in petitioning clemency for Troy Davis, third year MDiv student and president of Candler School of Theology’s Social Concerns Network Karl Kroger, was named Emory University’s Student Leader of the Month. Congratulations, Karl!

Aug 29 2008

Here we go!

From Brad Schweers:

Candler School of Theology has just wrapped up New Student Orientation week for our 174 incoming Master of Divinity (MDiv), Master of Theolgical Studies (MTS), Master of Theology (ThM), and Doctor of Theology (ThD) students. We are completely moved into our new home at 1531 Dickey Drive. The Theology and Ethics building is a five-story, LEED-certified green building with fantastic natural light, spacious offices and classrooms, and all of the latest technology. The Theology building is over twice the size of the old Bishops Hall, and yet uses less electrical power! Woohoo!!!

Here are some highlights of the week:

Students checked in for pre-orientation, taking care of IDs and parking passes, configuring laptops, and tidying up financial aid matters. Some thoughts and themes heard as people anticipate starting seminary include: excited, anxious and excited, wondering how classes are going to be after being out of school for ten years, nervous, happy to be in Atlanta, looking forward to classes starting, and not feeling ready for the summer to be over.

ThM and MTS students spent Tuesday around campus, meeting with Dr. Steve Kraftchick and their advisors, touring the Candler and Emory campuses and libraries, and finished up with night swimming and dinner at Drs. Medi Volpe and Lewis Ayres‘ house. No doubt St. Augustine was on the menu.

MDiv students were on campus for orientation. Chapel service was led by Rev. Dr. Joel LeMon, Asstistant Professor of Old Testament. The Scripture text was from Psalm 119–a 176-verse acrostic poem and the longest chapter in the Bible–and Dr. Lemon had the entire chapel chanting the Hebrew alphabet from Aleph to Tav while exploring the He verses (33-40) which emphasize God’s movement in our lives. (A side note: I sat in the west balcony of Cannon Chapel, where I have sat many times before, but for the first time noticed the similarities between Paul Rudolph‘s square design (see right, view from the west balcony) and the design of the Frank Lloyd Wright‘s Unity Temple (below, view from east balcony) in Oak Park, IL. Both have wonderful natural light filling the worship spaces from above, seating in-the-round, long vertical elements, and a great square pillar of space in the center. Wright’s Temple is more symetrical, orderly, and rectilinear while Rudolph’s Chapel is flowing, raw, and spiraling–both are great and unique spaces.

MDiv students heard about the new curriculum from Dr. Gail O’Day and other faculty members. Worship was led by Rev. Dr. Teresa Fry Brown. Her sermon was about newness–the theme for Candler these days!!–and new Candler Assistant Professor of Theology and Culture Andrea White lent her musical talents on the violin. Students met their advisors and visited their Contextual Education I sites.

Books are being bought in the bookstore and online, classes are being added and dropped, and, most importantly, new student get-togther parties have been planned on Facebook for the Labor Day weekend.

Here we go!

May 16 2008

The Journey

Today is my last day of interning in the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at Candler School of Theology. I have had four wonderfully amazing and nurturing years here—three as a Master of Divinity student and one after graduation as an intern and research assistant. But I know from the lyrics of Steven Tyler, lead singer of Aerosmith, and other wise sages, who have spoken these words through the ages that, “Life’s a journey not a destination.” Candler was a significant stop along the journey, but the journey of life certainly does not end here. In fact, many things are just beginning. It seems fitting that the word seminary was used to describe a plot where plants were raised from seeds back in the mid 1400s. My calling, much like a seed, was nurtured from its tiny conception into a spout of new possibilities for living and ministry during my time at Candler.

Candler has played midwife to my pastoral identity and personhood while still allowing me to find my own way. This community has helped birth me into a new way of being in ministry and care of the world, my neighbor, and myself. Candler has allowed me to ask the challenging questions and created space for deep dialogue. As I prepare to go, I pack with me a box full of friends, memories, moments, and their loving words as I take the next step in my vocational journey in ministry. As I prepare to be appointed as the Associate Pastor at First United Methodist Church of Amite, LA, I realize that Candler will still be with me along the journey. Sure, the relationship will change and grow, but Candler has become and will remain a large part of my very being and my ministry for years to come.

I carry Candler with me as a journey to the Louisiana Annual Conference on June 1 where I will be commissioned a probationary elder in The United Methodist Church. Candler will be there as the clergy vote on my preparedness for ordained ministry, for Candler helped prepare me for this. Candler will be in the congregation on the night of my commissioning as other alums from the seminary participate and attend the service. Candler preaching professors, Dr. Tom Long, Dr. Teresa Fry Brown, and Dr. Gail O’Day will be with me in word and spirit as I call upon their teachings as I write my sermons. On June 15, my first Sunday at my new church, Candler will be present in the face of my former housemate that I lived with during seminary, who is driving 5 hours to come hear me preach my first sermon as Rev. Lane Cotton Winn.

Candler will be along for every step of my journey into ministry—as I visit parishioners in the hospital, as I lead meetings and teach classes, as I administer the sacraments and bake communion bread using the same recipe we use here in Cannon Chapel. Candler will be there when a church member tells me she feels called to ministry and is interested in going to seminary. I will tell her of my mystical and amazing time at Candler, and I can confidently say that I believe God does marvelous things in the halls, classrooms, corners, chapel, courtyard, and offices of Candler School of Theology. We’re growing a beautiful garden here, and this spring of my time at Candler, I am ready to be in full bloom for others as I move into local church ministry and service to the world. Candler has prepared me for this next step, and I am ready to be harvested.

Poet Mary Oliver ends her poem “The Summer Day,” with these words that I leave with you today. I hope you will carry Oliver’s closing question around in your heart as you discern the next steps for you along your journey.

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

May 9 2008

Candler Exchange

By Guest Blogger Mark Rowland

Time flies as the old adage says, and that has certainly been the case for my time here at Candler School of Theology. I came here last August for one school year on exchange from the UK, where I’m training to be a presbyter (elder in United Methodist Church terms) in the Methodist Church of Great Britain. As I sit here a week away from leaving Atlanta it doesn’t seem long since I stepped off the plane at Hartsfield-Jackson, the Atlanta airport, wondering how anywhere could possibly be so hot!

The UK system works quite differently to the US one and one effect of my coming on the exchange is that I will have spent the three years of my training (1 year discernment and 2 years pre-ordination) in different places. I began in September 2006 in the Urban Theology Unit (UTU) in Sheffield, UK. UTU is a small institution – very small by comparison to Candler – situated in inner-city Sheffield and devoted to study and action in the inner-city context. There’s a strong emphasis on contextual and liberation theologies and being situated in the midst of the context stops you from having any illusions about it.

It was in May 2007 that I heard that I had been accepted as a candidate for ordination and chosen as the exchange student to come to Candler. There was a lot to sort out in the few months between then and when I had to be in Atlanta. The array of forms for Candler, the visa, accommodation and so on; travel plans to sort out, arrangements to be made for my possessions in the UK while I was gone. There were times when I thought that it would just be easier to stay at home.

UTU to Candler was a big shift in many ways, but there were some exciting things in common: context is still an important word and an inclusive ethos is at the heart of what happens. We read some books by familiar authors and the familiar strains of liberation theology began to play, though sounding a little different in the US South to the inner-city of Sheffield, in a large university rather than Edwardian townhouses. There were some new themes too and they make exciting harmonies.

At a time when the Methodist Church back home has been cutting back on spending for training clergy, the resources at Candler present an impressive contrast. There is so much available in terms of people, facilities, equipment and possibilities. Many things are possible here that we cannot do. Training for ministry in this setting presents a lot of exciting opportunities – indeed, far too many for me to be able even to scratch the surface in just one year.

One of the most exciting opportunities at Candler is worship in Cannon Chapel, which is always an inspiration – in the thought that goes into its preparation, in the community coming together in worship as part of its daily life, in the diversity of traditions represented. The group that gathered daily for Morning Prayer was a constant source of support and fellowship. Music has always been a passion for me and singing in the Candler Singers (see our photo to the right) – one of the choirs that assists in worship – has been fantastic. As well as our regular place in the rhythm of worship, we have traveled to various places, from the mountains to the beach to the rodeo! We sing a wide variety of music, reflecting the diversity of our community and the wider church.

I’ve been really interested by the number of different vocational goals and aspirations that students at Candler have: some training for ordination, some for lay ministries, some for work outside the church, some aiming to the academy and some still in discernment. Different routes and stages bring different questions to the task of theology and the broad sweep of perspectives present has opened my mind to other ways of asking theological questions and to new approaches for responding to them.

My winding path continues as I head home for the summer and then to Wesley House in the ancient University city of Cambridge, where I’ll be excited to be joined by two Candler students – the first exchange students in the other direction. The long and winding road of vocational discernment takes me to many places, each different to the last. Candler has been an interesting, stimulating and exciting stop along the way: I go on from it greatly enriched and wondering what will get written on the next page.

Mark Rowland was born and brought up in Aberystwyth, on the west coast of Wales, UK. After graduating from the University of Cambridge in 2003 with a Masters degree in Chemical Engineering, he worked for three years in the field of chemical and pharmaceutical patents. Blown by the wind of the Spirit (or something…), he began training in September 2006 towards ordination as a presbyter in the Methodist Church of Great Britain. He is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Theology and Religious Studies and will be appointed to one or more churches somewhere in the UK beginning in September 2009.

If you are interested theological education through international travel and exchange programs, you should consider Candler a destination for your adventure. We offer a wide variety of travel opportunities for students, and would love to give you more information about them. Please contact us in the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at candleradmissions@emory.edu, call us at 404.727.6326, check us out online at www.candler.emory.edu/admissions/ and join the Candler School of Theology Group at www.facebook.com.