Dec 10 2010

Exploring Vocation through Youth Ministry

As a Candler student myself, I did not identify my calling as youth ministry. Indeed, my interests during my time there focus on historical theology, and this is the area of study in which I pursued my doctorate at Emory University later. Yet, I spent several summers of student years working for the Youth Theological Initiative, a program for high school students in justice-seeking theological education. This “summer job” turned out to be one of the most Jibye Talkingimportant experiences I had at Candler—spiritually, professionally and intellectually. At YTI, I had the opportunity to participate in innovative practices of religious education, learning how to engage in theological reflection with young people that enlivened their imaginations and inspired them to move out into the world to transform it. Living in an ecumenical, diverse community of fellow Candler students, Emory University PhD students, and high school students from around the country, and indeed around the world, I developed insights into the dynamics of race, gender and class, honed skills in teaching, pastoral care, worship planning, and conflict transformation, and came to understand myself better as a teacher and minister. Now that I am on faculty at Candler and serve as the director of YTI, I see how the roots of my professional and personal develop began during these experiences as a Candler student.

YTI Mentor and StudentThose who feel called to working with youth, whether in the local church, in a school or in a non-profit context, can explore this vocation at Candler easily. In addition to working with YTI, students can participate in internships in congregations and organizations in the Atlanta area that provide the space to experiment with new ways of engaging young people in transformative ministry. They can take courses in religious education and participate in research projects that draw on the voices and insights of young people directly. They can even pursue a Certificate in Religious Education with a focus in youth ministry.

Those who feel called to other vocations still have much to gain from the unique youth education resources at Candler, however. At YTI, for example, we are experimenting in interfaith dialogue, innovative worship, and new forms of building community that are invaluable for working with adults as well. We are learning new ways of “doing church” that will enliven the work of all congregational leaders, ordained and lay, senior pastors and youth directors, teachers and ministers.

What are you called to do? Come explore with us!

-Dr. Elizabeth Corrie

Dr. Corrie is Assistant Professor of Youth Education and Peacebuilding and Director of the Youth Theological Initiative at Candler.  Her research interests include theories and practices of nonviolent strategies for social change, the religious roots of violence and nonviolence, international peacebuilding initiatives, and character education and moral development with children and youth. She received her MDiv from Candler in 1996 and PhD from Emory University.

Jun 11 2010

Emory & the Environment

In case you hadn’t heard, Emory has a well-established program in green building — currently having one of the largest inventories by square footage of LEED-certified green buildings among campuses in America.  We have 13 LEED Silver or Gold buildings—including the Theology/Ethics Building—and counting.

Here are some of Emory’s Green Highlights—check back next week for more on the Greening of Emory, including Candler’s initiatives and what you can do at home, at school, and in your places of worship!

Emory Awards and Highlights

Bike Emory. Emory, Fuji Bikes, and Bicycle South bike shop have teamed up to provide all of Emory access to discounted bikes, on-campus bike repairs, free bike-share program, and more.

Food. Buy Local-Emory does! Emory has set a goal of providing 75 percent local or sustainably grown food in the hospitals and cafeterias by 2015. Organic Market Boxes are USDA certified fruits and veggies coming in three sizes—order yours online and pick up on campus the next week! Additionally, the Educational Gardens around campus—including the Theology Garden, shown here on the Sustainability Map—aim to provide fresh food and herbs to the community and get people reconnected to dirt, and water, and sunshine, and real food!

Recycling and Composting. Emory sent off it’s 3900 graduates this year with its first Zero Waste Commencement celebration. Emory diverted over 1900 pounds plastic bottles, aluminum cans, food waste, and compostable plates and service to recycling or composting bins. Speaking for the compostable and recyclable materials, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who gave the keynote address, said, “I’ll be back…as healthy garden soil and recycled goods” (not really). More and more of Candler’s events are Zero Waste, and we even have our own compost bin!

Emory Academics. At last count, Emory was teaching 129 courses with a sustainability-related curriculum in disciplines across the campus, such as medicine, law, ethics, theology, anthropology, spanish, philosophy, journalism, and English. 34 of 43 Emory departments had at least one course related to sustainability–that’s 79%! Emory College already has majors and minors in Environmental Science and will soon have  a Sustainability minor.

Make a Pledge Today! Emory has developed a Personal Sustainability Pledge, addressing personal behaviors related to energy, sustainable food, water conservation, green space, commuting, recycling, and other sustainability issues when at Emory and at home. The pledge is very sophisticated, calculating exactly what the carbon impact of your current sustainable practices is – how many cars are you keeping off the road, how many acres of forest and gallons of gasoline you are conserving – and what impact your pledged actions will have in the future. Take the pledge right now!

Check back next week for more about what Candler is doing to be sustainable, plus even more ways for you to get involved. Care of the Creation is all of our God-given responsibility (Genesis 2:15) – so let’s get to it!

Apr 16 2010

Candler Iron(wo)Man

LauraBeth Jones is a first year MDiv student from Philadelphia, PA. She graduated in 2008 from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Religious Studies. Her favorite things to study at Candler are religious education and Hebrew Bible.  She is currently on track for ordination in the United Methodist Church as a deacon. She hopes to pursue ministry with youth geared towards social justice in the future.

Sep 25 2009

Candler Evangelical Society


Evangelical. What does it mean to be Evangelical? How do Evangelicals view the world, humanity, and salvation through Jesus Christ? Are there “liberal” Evangelicals versus “conservative” Evangelicals? And what’s the difference? So many good questions!

Wrestling with what is means to be Evangelical and how this relates to all one’s relationships and work in the world is a big part of the work of the Candler Evangelical Society (CES). In the United States, there are positive connotations to the “E word,” evangelical.

Ben Gosden is a second-year MDiv Student at Candler and the President of CES. About the CES, Ben writes,

In and through our involvement at Candler we desire to reach out to the community and, hopefully, work to change the skewed view of what being evangelical means. Our view is one of love for ALL people, recognition of all human equality under God, and that salvation through Jesus Christ not only includes us with God in the world to come, but also that we are to work, in and through the Holy Spirit, to establish that world right where we are.

sandwichesThe term “evangelical” is a fairly new invention, considering the 2000 year history of the Christian faith. The term showed up in the middle ages, and only appeared in English in 1531. Given it’s short history, the term has had many definitions and permutations.

Today, Evangelicals are not monolithic, but are multi-faceted. For instance, among other things, the Candler Evangelical Society is committed to challenging the notion that Evangelicals are inactive in the world in terms of works of love and justice. Last week, students from the CES made over 500 sandwiches for the Open Door Community, a Christian ministry to homeless people in Atlanta.

CES has also been active in promoting a panel discussion about people of faith and health care reform that includes professors from Theology, Public Health, and other Emory departments. CES is also set to host Bishop Will Willimon (Candler grad ’73) for a talk in November.

There’s a lot going on at the CES–check out their Facebook Page (search for “Candler Evangelical Society”) and the video below, from their Kickoff Lunch.

So what does “evangelical” mean to you?

May 1 2009

Earth Day and a Green Emory

Two weeks ago, Emory and Candler celebrated Earth Day along with millions of people across the globe. You may not know this, but Emory University is one of the leading universities in the country in terms of environmental consciousness and sustainability.

One of the student leaders on Candler’s campus in terms of Greening the seminary and sustainability issues is Alison Amyx (pictured right). In honor of her green activities on campus, Alison, a first-year Master of Theological Studies student, won the Myki Mobley Memorial award at the 2009 Candler Honors Day awards. The Mobley award is given to an MTS student who “demonstrates both academic excellence and significant social concern.”

Alison hosted two events on campus on Earth Day, Wednesday, April 22 featuring Dr. Katy Hinman, a 2006 Candler MDiv grad who also holds a PhD in Ecology and Evolution from SUNY Stony Brook. Dr. Hinman is the Executive Director of Georgia Interfaith Power and Light (GIPL), a non-profit group in Atlanta working with faith communities (churches, temples, mosques, synagogues, and other centers) on issues of Creation care and energy conservation.

Earth Day also included a screening of “RENEWAL,” a documentary film about the efforts that faith groups of all stripes around the world working are taking to combat climate change. Click on the image to the left to watch a short clip.

One of the reasons I love working at Emory is its institutional commitment to put energy (no pun intended) and resources into sustainability. Due to the work of Alison and other Emory faculty, staff, and students, Emory has the following green distinctions:

  • Earned one of only 11 spots on the Princeton Review’s “2009 Green Rating Honor Roll.”
  • More LEED certified building space than any other university in the nation (including the Theology Building, which is in the process of LEED certification)
  • Named “2008 Distinguished Conservationist of the Year” by The Georgia Conservancy.
  • Offered 129 courses with a sustainability component or focus, including 13 in Theology, Religion, or Philosophy.
  • Featured on CNN and CNNU for our green initiatives (see below)

CNN piece, April 22, 2009,on sustainability at Emory

(4 minutes, 24 seconds run time)

CNNU project, April 29, 2009 on student involvement in environmentalism

at Emory. Look for Alison Amyx’s nine- seconds of fame from 1:59-2:08. (3 minutes, 20 seconds run time)


Dec 12 2008

Candler Intramurals: Your Glory Days Aren't Behind You Yet!

By Brad Schweers (above, second from right):

One of the main reasons I came to Candler was because it was part of Emory University. I was mainly considering the academic resources I would have as a Candler student when I applied, but I soon found another area of Emory’s life to be a source of great joy: Intramurals! As an MTS student, I did not have as many structured classes in which to bond with fellow students. So one main way I bonded with my Candler colleagues was through playing IM sports. I played flag football, softball, and basketball. As an Admissions Advisor now working at Candler, I still play on the Candler soccer, flag football, and softball teams when my schedule allows! We even played a pick-up Ultimate game on Emory’s main quad with some Tibetan Buddhist monks. Long story.

Here are a few other stories of Candler students and alums and their experiences with IMs and athletics at Emory.

Rachel Small (right), MDiv 06
“I played on a Candler softball team for a year and it was great fun! It was a good way to meet Candler folks I might otherwise not have met, and we got to form a good bond as we pounded or got pounded by teams from other Emory schools. (Mostly we got pounded by them, but it was still fun!)”

Cody Case (top, left), MDiv 10
Cody played intramural racquetball this fall, where he and another Candler student finished in the top ten overall. Cody reports, “I made it to semi-finals. Upon arriving, I was promptly demolished by a 60+ year old biology professor.” Cody also finished fourth overall at the Emory Intramural Turkey Trot 2.5 mile run on campus in November with a time of 15:19 (that’s about a 6-minute mile—not bad!)

Cindy Brown (left), MDiv 09
“I’m playing on the Emory Women’s Water Polo club this semester. It’s been great … a definite relief from classes. Great for my physical and mental health, too, Even though I’m about twice the age of anyone else on the team!”

David Lessner, 07
“Intramurals were not only a good way to get people active and exercising, but the teams were a way that I got to meet and talk to others that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Just because two people happen to enjoy soccer or basketball, they can form a friendship, where they might not have met before. Intramurals also helped me to distress and live a healthy life. I studied 100x better after exercising for 2 hours and then studying then I did by studying for 10 hours straight. Overall, it was just simply fun to get out and compete with other grad students, who yes, will make a ton more than us as doctors and lawyers, and on that rare occasion where we hit a 40 yard touchdown pass over the future MD’s and JD’s of the world, we were on top!”

John Hill (left), MDiv 05
“I played intramurals quite a bit at Candler and always had a lot of fun with it. Intramurals were a great chance to get some exercise, strengthen friendships among classmates, meet new people, and get in some healthy competition. I think it also improved our reputation on campus. People often wonder what kind of people attend the theology school – are we holier-than-thou pietists or what? Intramurals helped others see that we were normal – at least mostly! – people just like everyone else.”

Leslie Houseworth, MDiv 10
“I played intramural football in Fall of 2007. I’m a 2nd year MDiv student. Football was a way to bond with my new classmates.”

Keri Olsen, MDiv 11
“ I’m a first year MDiv student and I played co-ed softball. I was interested in playing any type of intramural sport, so talked to a third year during orientation who had mentioned their experience. Candler had already established a softball team but they let me join anyway! I don’t even really have any experience playing softball! I had a great time getting to know second and third years that I may not have met otherwise. Softball was a great way to take a break from reading and meet new friends! Our team wasn’t really very good but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves!”

Brian Tillman, MDiv 11
“I had a blast playing Co-Ed Intramural Basketball this fall. The rules were very fair and made it super important to have the girls score. These are the best rules for co-ed sports!”

Todd McCullough, MDiv 10
“During my time at Candler several of my favorite memories will always be the time I shared with my classmates playing intramural sports. Even though we broke bones and sprained ankles, the bonds we made will last a lifetime. Several of my closest friends at school were the ones I played softball, flag football, or basketball with. For me, it was crucial to take the opportunity to not only get some exercise during study breaks but to meet a few people, some of whom have become my closest friends.”

Jeremy Pridgeon, MDiv
“Several of us from the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference, along with a couple of free agent pick-ups from the South Carolina and Mississippi Conferences (played flag football. We were the “Ministers of Defense” and had a gr
eat time playing and beating up on the undergrads. We even advanced into the playoffs and made a run at the title. At least Emory Intramurals doesn’t have a BCS!”

Eric Sanford, MDiv 07
“Intramurals were a lot of fun at Candler. I played softball, basketball, soccer, ultimate frisbee, tennis, and football. Intramurals provided me another opportunity to make friends who shared the same interests in sports as I do. We weren’t very good at most of the sports; however, we always had fun. Sometimes we would go out to eat afterward. Sometimes it was more fun just playing basketball on Tuesday nights or frisbee on Friday afternoons. These were good ways to meet people and have a good time. Come to think of it, I probably had more fun just playing around those times instead of the competitions with the other schools.”

Come join us!!!

Dec 5 2008

Leadership Candler

These days are exciting ones here at Candler and Emory. As of August of this year, we have a brand-new, state-of-the-art theology building as our home. It’s a LEED certified “green” building, meaning it’s one of the most environmentally friendly theology buildings in the world! Emory, by the way, has more square footage of LEED certified building space than any other university in the country. Go Emory!

Here in the Office of Admission and Financial Aid , the most exciting thing we have going on is the announcement of our Leadership Candler scholarship weekend coming up this March. The event will bring together top prospective Master of Divinity students from across the country and the world to Candler’s campus at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. Prospective students will be considered for all of Candler’s top awards, including the Woodruff Fellowships and the Pitts Scholarships, among others. Scholarships range from full tuition awards to our tops awards, which include up to full tuiti
on, fees, plus a $10,000 per year stipend!

Candler will pay all of your travel and accommodation expenses for Leadership Candler. So if you or someone you know is looking at a world-class theological education, have a record of academic excellence, service, and leadership, and are committed to being a leader in the church and the world in the 21st century, you’ve got to check out Leadership Candler!

A top-notch theological education just became more affordable! Come to Candler. Come to Emory.

Nov 7 2008

What the Torture Debate Reveals about American Christianity

On Wednesday, November 5, 2008, Candler was proud to host a talk and discussion with Dr. David Gushee and Abbas Barzegar (Dr. Gushee left below; Abbas Barzegar right) about torture and American Christianity and how this issue shapes the impression of the United States in the Muslim world. Dr. Gushee is Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics at Mercer University in Atlanta, GA. Abbas Barzegar is a PhD candidate in Emory’s Graduate Division of Religion and is teaching Introduction to Islam at Candler this semester. The lunch-time gathering drew about 55 Candler faculty, staff, students and visitors.

Dr. Gushee is an Evangelical Christian, a recognized scholar in the field, a highly visible public figure in the torture debate, as well as President of Evangelicals for Human Rights. Gushee began by stating that the revelation of the mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib was a symbolic, triggering event that brought out Church leaders to speak out against the U.S. government’s use of torture. Gushee went on to say that he, as an Evangelical leader, worked with other Christian leaders on drafting a pan-Christian resolution straightforwardly repudiating the use of torture by the United States. Yet some major Evangelical Christian leaders, such as James Dobson and Charles Colson, refused to join in the call.

Gushee was critical of the moves by the Bush Administration to, among other things, redefine what is and is not torture, to institute “new interrogation protocols” (code for expanding the number of cruel techniques that the U.S. government can use on detainees), and finally to block the release of information regarding the practices that the United States uses to interrogate detainees.

Among Gushee’s recommendations to the leadership of this country regarding torture, I found the two to be most simple and yet most powerful. First, to remind our government that Torture is a Moral Issue. Simple as that. Second, The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) suggests that the United States adopt an position called The “Golden Rule” principle, which states simply: “We will not authorize or use any methods of interrogation that we would not find acceptable if used against Americans, be they civilians or soldiers.” As Christians, even in difficult times and in dire straits, we need to stick to our Christian Principles and “do unto others as we would have them do unto us,” (Matthew 7:12 ; Luke 6:31) even regarding interrogation techniques!

Abbas Barzegar gave some wonderful reflections on how the United States’ use of torture has affected the Muslim world and the Middle East. Barzegar stated that the pictures that emerged from Abu Ghraib unfortunately confirmed the fears that many Muslims and Middle Easterners already had about the United States. Namely, that, while speaking about moral leadership in the world and seeming to champion democracy and human rights, the US was acting in deeply and horrifically hypocritical ways. On a hopeful note, though, Barzegar relayed that the Muslim world is willing to believe in the ideals of America and that America can once again be a leader in human rights. The hope is that the torture, deceptions, and cover-ups that have taken place under the Bush Administration will be part of an isolated, though dark, chapter in American history never to be repeated.

Jul 18 2008

Oh Atlanta, I hear you callin'…

“Same old place, same Old City, What can I do, I’m falling in love…” Atlanta, our muse, is the topic yet again of our blog. Here’s more about the Atlanta we love.

Todd McCullough,
Third-Year MDiv Student

Todd is a North Carolinian, a Pfeiffer University grad, and an all-around jovial bloke.

Todd’s Five Favorite Things About Atlanta

1. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Site

Atlanta’s most famous son Martin Luther King, Jr. was born and raised in Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn neighborhood, one of the country’s first middle-class African American neighborhoods. The area around King’s birth-home and Ebenezer Baptist Church has been designated a National Historic Site. Go when you have at least 2-3 hours to take in the “Courage to Lead” civil rights exhibits, The King Center with Martin and Coretta’s tombs, and a tour of historic Ebenezer.

2. Stone Mountain Park
Todd says going to Stone Mountain makes him feel like he’s in the mountains, and yet is only 10 miles east of the city. The mountain itself is 825 feet tall and the park covers 583 acres. The carved surface of the mountain is larger than a football field. Go any time of the day or night—closing time is 11 pm—to walk, bike, or jog the 5 miles around the mountain, or take a picnic and eat on the lake at the Grist Mill. There’s also a wacky laser show—a “cultural event” as Todd puts it. Well said, Todd.

3. Euclid Avenue Yacht Club
“For an eclectic mix and a taste of Atlanta flair”, Todd goes to Little 5 Points (a.k.a “Little 5”, sometimes written [but never spoken] as “L5P”) and the Euclid Avenue Yacht Club. The Yacht Club is neither anywhere near a body of water nor a destination for anyone who would likely go to an actual yacht club. So leave your docksiders, J/30 polo shirts, and Croakied sunglasses slung backwards around your neck at home and grab a beer and a ¼ lb. Original Yacht Dog (for omnivores) or a Black Bean Burrito (for veg folks). EAYC is the place to have a drink and watch the L5P Halloween Parade.

4. Ms. Ann’s Ghetto Burgers
The Wall Street Journal voted the Ghetto Burger at Ann’s Snack Shack best hamburger in America! Ann is not the Soup Nazi, but Todd makes sure to keep on her good side. It’s her shack, she’s got great food and dedicated regulars, and she only does things her way. Period. Or
you’re out! Located on Memorial Drive on Atlanta’s east side, Ann makes every paddy to order so be prepared to wait up to 2-3 hours. But it’s worth it!

5. Intramurals at Emory
Todd is the unofficial intramural captain for Candler. Candler plays in the grad/faculty/staff division and typically fields multiple teams in softball, flag football, basketball, and soccer. Teams are co-ed and unisex, so check in with Todd if you’re interested in playing! This past spring, Hand of God, our soccer team, went into the playoffs ranked #2, but was upset by the med school in the semifinals.

Deborah van der Lande, Admissions Assistant

A native Atlantan, Deborah is a mother of three great kids and has been working at Candler for almost a year.

Deborah’s Five Favorite Things About Atlanta

1. Something old, something new
Deborah has lived in Atlanta for a few years and has seen much progress and many changes. And yet Deborah also appreciates old standards that haven’t changed a bit, like Evans Fine Foods in Decatur—that still has the same benches from when she went there for breakfast as a kid—and the DeKalb Farmers Market, which has changed location in the past 25 years, but retains its original flair.

2. Concerts at Chastain Park
There are many places to see great concerts in Atlanta, but there’s only one place to sit outside under the stars and enjoy the music with your picnic dinner and wine—Chastain. Deborah has seen Crosby, Stills, and Nash and Diana Ross, and last week caught Earth, Wind & Fire with her daughter Heather.

3. International Flavor
Well before the world came to Atlanta for the 1996 Summer Olympics, Atlanta has been an international city. Metro Atlanta is home to the world’s busiest airport and 49 international consulates. For international cuisine, try Buford Highway for Chinese, Korean, or Japanese, Cheshire Bridge for authentic Italian, and Memorial Drive for Jamaican/Caribbean.

4. Arts and Museums
Among all of the artistic offerings in Atlanta, Deborah particularly likes arts offerings at Emory University, The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO)—the ASO has been known to collaborate with likes of the
Indigo Girls
and Wynton Marsalis—the Atlanta Opera, the High Museum—host to Friday Jazz on the third Friday of every month, and the Michael C. Carlos Museum.

5. Brio Tuscan Grille
Deborah loves this Tuscan take on an Italian trattoria. Dressed up or dressed down, Deborah enjoys the terrace dining at the Buckhead location, and recommends the Veal Marsala Clasico, the Chicken Limone, or the Wild Mushroom Risotto.

May 5 2008

Candler at General Conference

Candler School of Theology at Emory University was well represented at General Conference of The United Methodist Church. General Conference meets every four years, and is the international decision-making body of the denomination. It met from April 23-May 2, 2008 in Fort Worth, TX, and we had members of the Candler community active in all aspects of the conference, from delegates, to singers and dances, to pages and marshals. In fact, Dr. Darryl Stephens, Visiting Assistant Professor of Christian Social Ethics and Acting Director of Methodist Studies, even lead a class of Candler students to General Conference as they got to experience United Methodist polity live and in person.

Check out this photo blog of the journey of the Candler Singers, one of Candler’s choirs, which sings every Tuesday in chapel and represents Candler on tours throughout the school year.

Candler Singers offer back rubs to one another as they warm up for their noonday concert at General Conference on Monday, April 28, 2008.

Liturgical dancer Parker Diggory, Master of Divinity student at Candler School of Theology, dances during morning worship at the 2008 United Methodist General Conference in Fort Worth, Texas. Parker is a student at Candler School of Theology. A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose. April 26, 2008.

Liturgical dancer Julie Songer dances during morning worship at the 2008 United Methodist General Conference in Fort Worth, Texas. Songer is a student at Candler School of Theology. A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose. April 26. 2008.

Candler Singers help lead a 120-member student choir, from nearly 30 United Methodist-related schools, on April 28 at the Higher EducationCcelebration Dinner at the Fort Worth Convention Center, site of the 2008 United Methodist General Conference. A UMNS photo by Ronny Perry. April 29, 2008.

Candler Singers lead the procession on to the stage at the Higher Education Celebration Dinner on Monday, April 28, 2008.

Candler Singers and some of Candler’s liturgical dances perform April 28 at the Higher Education Celebration Dinner, along with students from other United Methodist institutions, held at the Fort Worth Convention Center, site of the 2008 United Methodist General Conference. A UMNS photo by Ronny Perry. April 29, 2008.

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