Jan 18 2008

You Can Do This

There is snow falling outside and students buying textbooks at the Cokesbury Bookstore inside. On the eve of the first day of classes for the spring semester at Candler, deep in the south, here in Atlanta, Georgia, as kids rejoice at the possibility of a snow day, Candler students pack their schoolbags, finalize their schedules, and prepare for the semester. Candler School of Theology is back in business. Classes resumed on Thursday, January 17, 2008, and seniors could not be more thrilled! They are two days closer to graduation.

For the next two weeks, the blog will feature two of our graduating Master of Divinity seniors as they begin their final semester of seminary. I hope you will hear and feel the celebration in Sheila Elliott’s words as you read below.

Everything is in. All of my commissioning papers, Bible study, sermon, security check, credit check, applications for CPE, and a fall semester full of take homes, sermons, and papers. I am surrounded by piles of paper and there are various books strewn about. As I prepare to leave Candler I am reminded of my first semester and how long three years seemed at the time. I was financially, socially, and personally looking into the unknown. Dr. Teresa L. Fry Brown, Associate Professor of Homiletics, preached during worship at my Candler orientation, and even now, her words ring in my ears – “you can do this!” Her words soothed my uncertainty and gave me the lift I needed to begin the journey. I contemplated returning to my home and career during the spring semester of my first year, but the words of my pastor prepared me to remain for the duration. So, I stayed, and I am incredibly glad and thankful that I did.

A famous player in the Negro Baseball League once said that it’s alright to look back just don’t stare. Pursuing theological education and accepting one’s call into the ministry requires looking down the road that is ahead, not staring at what was left behind. I decided to commit to the journey and to the Candler community, opting not to squint in order to see the end. I decided instead to focus on where I was at the time. A good look at Candler revealed challenges, of course, but what I have seen and experienced at Candler has truly blessed me. I have enjoyed the fellowship and friendship.

The thought that there will come a day when I won’t see Maxine, Wilbur, Kirstyn, Steve, Sarah, Marlo, Anna, Greg and others or say something sassy to Sonja is almost unimaginable. I will miss worship and to some extent community lunch, but I know that my journey here is coming to an end and I’m ready. I know that I am leaving a place I have come to cherish and folks I have grown to love. But I’m ready. Being ready isn’t primarily about no longer wanting to be a student or having grown weary of papers and exams. Readiness is about the pull of what one is being called to do. I don’t feel as if I’m being pushed out of Candler, but drawn into that which I have been prepared and called to do. I know that there are lessons still to learn, and leaving is bittersweet, I’m just thankful that I was able to come to a place that now feels like home.

Sheila Elliott was born into a military family in South Carolina, and she has lived aboard since she was four years old. Sheila has a PhD in International Relations from the University of South Carolina, and she taught in higher education for 20 years both at Columbia College and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Sheila is currently a graduating senior Master of Divinity student at Candler School of Theology, and she hopes to get commissioned as a probationary elder in the South Carolina Annual Conference in June, 2008.

Just as Dr. Teresa Fry Brown preached, you can do this; you can go to seminary; you can come to Candler. For more information about Candler School of Theology, visit our website at www.candler.emory.edu, or email the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at candleradmissions@emory.edu. 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 www.facebook.com.

Jan 11 2008


Sure, it may have been long and grueling days, but it was one of my all time favorite classes at Candler School of Theology, Emory University. I may have had several hundred pages of reading to complete each night, that put an end to my social calendar for two weeks, but, like I mentioned before, it was one of the best classroom experiences of my Candler career. I may have sacrificed the final two weeks of my Christmas and winter break in order to take the class and earn my three credits, but I would not have wanted it any other way.

We all have those classes, professors, and experiences that leave us feeling so enriched and excited about learning, life, and, for me, ministry. The class, “Church and Community Leadership,” with Dr. David Jenkins, Director of the Faith and the City Program, Lecturer in Church and Community, which I took during January Term, also known as “J-Term” at Candler, is the very class I am referring to. Like other J-Term classes at Candler, the class was an all-day intensive course that covered a semester’s worth of material in just under two weeks at the beginning of January.

I know you must be thinking that that sounds like torture, but it truly was one of my favorite classes at Candler. Because we had all day to focus solely on the course, we took several field trips around the Atlanta area. We visited community centers and churches and met with community organizers who are putting the theories of the class, like Asset-Based Community Development and Training for Transformation, into practice. The class was set up like a workshop, and was small enough that we could really get to know one another as classmates and partners in ministry. In many ways, it was a mystical two weeks of collaborative learning and in-depth study, which, when complete, left me with long lasting friendships and relationships with both my peers and the professor.

This J-Term is just as full and dynamic as the J-Term I experienced a few years ago. We have two study abroad opportunities. One of the study abroad classes is through the World Methodist Evangelism Institute with Dr. L. Wesley de Souza, the Bishop Arthur J. Moore Associate Professor of the Practice of Evangelism, to Paraguay in which students will be in conversation with church leaders of the country to learn how they do evangelism. The other trip is called “The Church on the Border,” in which Dr. David Jenkins guides students along the Mexico and United States border to examine the realities of border life, immigration policy, the history of border relations and immigration vis a vis the life of the church on the border, as participates stay with Mexican families and in community centers. Just like my own J-Term experience in Church and Community Leadership, Dr. Jennie Knight’s, the Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Education and Community Ministries, class, “Religious Education as Formation and Transformation,” is using two of its class days for field trips, including a trip to The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum. I had a chance to glance at this class’s syllabus, which makes me want to drop everything and audit the class so I, too, can soak up this enriching experience.

While there are a few classes that allow you to travel and take you outside the classroom walls, many students use J-Term as a chance to lighten the load for their spring semester or to take denominational classes like church polity or doctrine. Parker Diggory, Master of Divinity Middler, is currently enrolled in “Presbyterian Polity.” Parker says, “I’m thankful that Candler provides opportunities for students from different denominations to learn about their own traditions. The unique, intense time frame, allows us to work with a pastor from the Atlanta area who wouldn’t be available to teach a longer semester.” Not only do our Presbyterian students have class options, but Rev. David W. Key, Director of Baptist Studies, is teaching “Baptist Traditions and Church Praxis,” during J-Term as well. While I have not mentioned all the J-Term classes, there are others that may be calling your name loud enough that you are willing to start school two weeks earlier than many of your fellow students. It is a creative way to take a class, work on some of your ordination requirements, or get to know other students and faculty in a smaller, more intensive setting.

The spring semester will begin on January 17, 2008, with Opening Convocation, a new slate of classes, and many ways for the Candler students, faculty, and staff to be in community with one another. All these exciting learning opportunities may have you wishing you were enrolled at Candler. Believe me; it is the place to be for theological education and formation. For more information about Candler School of Theology email the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at candleradmissions@emory.edu. In addition, you can call us at 404.727.6326. Look for my profile on Facebook (Candler Intern-Theology) and the Candler School of Theology Group at www.facebook.com.

Jan 4 2008

New Year-New You

The Rev. Shonda Jones is our Guest Blogger this week. Shonda is an elder in The United Methodist Church and serves at the Assistant Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Candler School of Theology, Emory University. A native of Dallas, she spends her quiet time with the four fish tanks that adorn her Atlanta-area home and her loud time cheering on her beloved Dallas Cowboys. Shonda also serves as Assistant Pastor of Clarkston United Methodist Church in Clarkston, Georgia.

“New Year – New You”

During this time of year, we are all busy making resolutions, starting things anew, and setting goals. Some of the newness and vigor that comes with the New Year, will likely lead to some resolutions being fulfilled; yet some goals will fall by the way side. As I reflect on the start of 2008, I choose not to focus on more resolutions. Rather, I have decided to focus on those things that I know are steadfast. Don’t get me wrong – I have goals that I look forward to tackling with the New Year. I will attend to them and make sure that I maintain some discipline in trying to achieve them. I will try to keep to my resolutions and remain true to the new commitments made. However, if past years are any indication, I should be a little worried at the outcome of some of my New Year’s resolutions. So this year will be a little different. I will focus more on the things that will not fade with time. Those things that are steadfast. The things that last in spite of what we do. Things like God’s steadfast love, grace, and mercy.

I am currently attending the United Methodist Racial/Ethnic Clergywomen’s Consultation in Los Angeles, California. During our opening worship service, Bishop Minerva G. Carcano (the first Hispanic woman elected bishop in The United Methodist Church) spoke on our theme, “Rising from our Common Ground” and referenced Isaiah 43:19. As I listened to the God’s Word — “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?…” I thought how appropriate that the text points us to the brand new thing that God is doing and not so much on what we are doing. I listened, prayed silently, and gleaned new insight as I experienced God’s presence during Communion. I received the words of our celebrants, Bishop Leontine T.C. Kelly (the second woman and the first African American woman elected bishop in The United Methodist Church) and Bishop Violet L. Fisher (the first African American woman elected bishop from the Northeastern Jurisdiction). As I sat among other colleagues in ministry as we worshipped together, I nodded my head in the affirmative – Yes, God is doing a new thing among these powerful women of God and among us all!

Will I continue to set new goals and pronounce resolutions with the passing of each New Year? Sure. But I will always remember that though I may waiver, those things that are steadfast – God’s love, grace, and mercy– can gird me up in new ways because God is indeed doing a new thing! Can you not perceive it?

You may be sensing that God is doing a new thing in your life, which may be leading you towards seminary. If you would like to discuss your discernment and vocational options in the Candler context, please contact us in the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at candleradmissions@emory.edu, call us at 404.727.6326. Candler is also on www.facebook.com and we invite you to join our facebook group called Candler School of Theology-Emory University.

Jan 2 2008

Incarnation of Community

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Shelly Hart 02T is our Guest Blogger this week, and offers both a former student as well as a financial aid perspective to life and learning here at Candler. Shelly began working in the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid as a Candler student and after graduating continues to work here, now as Associate Director of Admissions and Financial Aid. A native of Oklahoma, she and her husband Mark, along with their son Conner, two cats and a dog, call Atlanta home and are active members of St. Paul United Methodist Church in Grant Park.

A dozen years ago at Christmastime, I was fervently writing my seminary applications. Candler School of Theology, Emory University, which I only knew on paper, was my first choice among the four or five United Methodist schools I was considering. I was looking for a school that would challenge me academically and stretch me personally, spiritually, and socially. Most of all, I wanted to go to seminary in a place that would take seriously the joining of mind and heart, classroom learning and hands on practical experience. I wanted a place to call home for the next three years of my life that would prepare me for the rest of my life. I’d seen the gorgeous Emory campus on a road trip through Atlanta a few years before and I’d read the Candler catalog front to back. On paper, Candler looked like “the one”, but my experience with selecting my undergraduate school told me that you have to spend a bit of time experiencing a place before you can really know if it fits you.

A few months later, I came to Candler in person for a visit. The incarnation of Candler was, for me, even better than the theoretical Candler I knew from reading about it. Students were warm and encouraging. Faculty asked me questions that made me feel like they were genuinely interested in me and in the students they taught (and these were people who had authored some of my undergraduate text books!). The staff directed me to the places and people who would help me find the answers to my personal questions about Candler and about seminary in general. The other prospective students I met were delightful people of all ages, denominations, and backgrounds, and I knew that I would be blessed indeed if they were with me on my seminary journey. Finally, the more I heard about Candler’s focus on integrating practical learning and experience with academic excellence, the more I knew that I had found the place for me.

Candler did not disappoint me. From the day I arrived, I was surrounded by a community of teachers and learners who welcomed me and pushed me to grow. My thirst for hands on learning was fed by my experience in a community agency during my first year, in local church settings, and in classes on urban ministry, women in ministry, pastoral care, and more throughout my time at Candler. My professors were excellent scholars and teachers in their fields. Outside the classroom, I experienced worship and community life that enriched my experience at the time and that continue to inform my life.

Now, over ten years since I came to Candler for my own new student orientation, I am pleased to be part of the team that assists prospective students in moving from that Christmas break filled with application writing to matriculation at Candler School of Theology. The main focus of my own work is to help students find the funding resources needed to make their Candler education affordable. I benefited from these resources when I was a student and now I am able to help others find the opportunities for scholarships, grants, and work that, in partnership with churches, family resources, and others, will pay for a Candler education. I look forward to getting to know you as you plan for funding your future.

If you are considering Candler, I hope you will plan a visit to campus. At this time of year when we celebrate the incarnation of God in Christ, begin planning a spring visit to the schools you are considering. Your seminary education should take place in an incarnation of community that will enfold and welcome you as well as engage and challenge you. Candler was that place for me. If you think it may be that place for you as well, I hope you will come and join us and find out for yourself how rewarding this part of your journey can be.

Please contact us in the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at candleradmissions@emory.edu, call us at 404.727.6326, bookmark our website on your computer for further exploration about the seminary. Candler is also on Facebook, and we would love for you to join the Candler School of Theology Group at www.facebook.com.

Dec 14 2007

Focus on First Years

As final papers and examinations are completed and students go home for the holidays and a restful and rejuvenating winter break from Candler School of Theology, Emory University, we’ve invited current students as well as Office of Admissions and Financial administrators to be Guest Bloggers in the coming weeks. This week, First Year Master of Divinity students Jon Chapman and Jojo Mulunda reflect on their first semester at Candler. Please read below to hear the story of Candler as told through the voices and hearts of two of our newest students.

Jojo Mulunda: Candler Cares

I went to Emory University for my undergraduate education, so when I got accepted into Candler School of Theology, I thought I knew exactly what I was getting into. Emory is renowned for excellence in scholarship and service, so I naturally expected Candler to be the same as the rest of Emory. I quickly discovered within moments of meeting current students, admissions staff and professors, that I was absolutely wrong. Not only is the scholarship at Candler of the same high caliber as that of the other Emory schools, Candler has an added trait that sets it apart from other schools: love for people.

I was blown away by how genuinely interested people around campus were in getting to know new faces. Even seniors made it a point to attend some orientation activities to meet us when we first arrived on campus. Unlike the undergraduate college at Emory, Candler’s size is large enough for you to make new friends in every class, yet small enough for people to take interest in what matters to you as a student. I felt such a sense of friendship and community at Candler that is a challenge to foster at other institutions.

I can still remember a candid conversation some seniors had with the entire incoming class during orientation. All the seniors emphasized that Candler required excellence in academics, yet reassured us that it would be nearly impossible to complete all the readings. I remember turning around in my seat and waiting for a staff person or professor to rebut their statements. Surprisingly, most nodded in agreement! Almost all of the seniors gave us tips on how to read for particular classes, encouraged us to build relationships with one another, and advised us to take the time to find enjoyable non-Candler related hobbies, to bring balance into the lives we were about to begin. No truer words were spoken! Three months and three Old Testament exams later, I am infinitely grateful to those seniors, and to the countless people that I have met throughout the semester who have made my challenging, yet fun-filled, free food-filled, friendship-filled first semester a great one. Second semester, here I come!

Jojo Mulunda is a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo. She completed her undergraduate education in International Studies and French Studies at Emory University. Upon completion of the Master of Divinity program, her long-term goals include pursuing a career in public policy, and creating a rehabilitation and reintegration program for child soldiers in the Great Lakes region in Africa. She is recently engaged (and very excited about it) and is looking forward to getting married in Spring 2008.

Jon Chapman: Advent Eucharist

Friday Mid-day Eucharist is one of my favorite things about Candler School of Theology. Period. Every Friday, the same core group of 40 or so gather in Cannon Chapel after a long week of classes. I make my way from Hebrew, which gives me reason to need time to rest and recover.

It’s a simple service really. Most of the general parts of a church service are there, excepting the sermon. Instead, after the reading of the Gospel, we sit together, quietly thinking about the words we just heard–wondering if any meaning sat in them for us, for our studies, for our school, for our world.

Then comes my absolute favorite part. After the Prayers of the People (which are offered so genuinely by the people who have gathered), we share communion. Every week, we pause our scholastic endeavors to join together in the bread and wine before heading into the weekend, which all too often is as hectic as our school week. It’s a time for acknowledging the week just had, and preparing for the week to come.

Advent is much the same way. It lets us review the year that passed and prepare for the coming days. Advent, however, can be an irritating time. Because it is a season of waiting and preparation it insists that we slow down. Slowing down means swimming against the current swell of American consumerism in an increasingly globalized world, not to mention a secular Christmas that is celebrated before we have any birth to celebrate.

But it is necessary waiting, because without it, we would have no time to understand exactly what Christmas is.

This week, as we began our advent sojourn in Friday Mid-day Eucharist, the program had a few lines from Madeline L’Engle on its cover. Here is how it read:

“This is the irrational season
when love blooms bright and wild.
Had Mary been filled with reason
there’d have been no room for the child.”

As I read this poem, I was reminded of how irrational the whole thing was. Mary–a virgin? Son of God in a stable? Lazarus to life? Leaper healed? Deaf hear? The meek will inherit? Bread of Life? Blood of Salvation? A criminal’s death for a king? Heaven for a thief? Missing body? Death no more? For you? For me?

It is amazing really, this irrationality. It’s amazing because somehow, it makes sense. It’s amazing because somewhere through the absurdity and irrationality, there is undeserved grace and unconditional love that holds us close.

Keep watch.



Jonathan is a first year Master of Divinity student at Candler School of Theology, Emory University. He holds a B. A. in Religious Studies from Elon University. While at Elon, Jonathan was active in LGBT awareness and other activism.

Jonathan is pursing ordination in the United Church of Christ, and is a member of Elon Community Church, United Church of Christ in Elon, North Carolina.


If you are currently discerning if seminary is the next step in your faith journey, I hope you will consider Candler as a community for you to live into your calling. 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 look for my profile on Facebook, named Candler Intern-Theology, and the Candler School of Theology Group at www.facebook.com.

Dec 7 2007

Eventful Advent

It may have been the last week of classes here at Candler School of Theology, Emory University, before Reading Week and final exams, but there were an amazing amount of activities, worship services, and community gatherings that happened in these last few days of the semester. On Tuesday, there was a Brown Bag Lunch Conversation sponsored by the Oral History Project of Women in Theology and Ministry with Melva Costen, who is a widely recognized authority on music and worship. She is the author of African American Christian Worship and In Spirit and in Truth: The Music of African American Worship. Dr. Costen recently retired from the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC), where she was the Helmar Emil Nielsen Professor of Music and Worship. The interview and conversation with Dr. Costen was part of our ongoing work in gathering stories of strong women who have helped shape their religious communities and the larger culture.

Then, on Wednesday, the Candler class “Christian Encounter with Hinduism,” taught by Dr. Thomas Thangaraj, the D.W. and Ruth Brooks Associate Professor of World Christianity, sponsored a free exhibition on Hinduism for all Candler students. There were displays, music, Indian finger foods, craft activities, and trivia to help learn more about Hinduism, along with an exhibition about Hindu Gods and Goddesses.

On Thursday, the Office of Student Programming turned Brooks Commons, the social gathering area for the seminary, into the “Candler Stress-Free Zone” for an intentional afternoon and evening of fun and relaxation for those feeling overwhelmed by finals. Loaded nachos, the movie Shrek 3, crafts, video games, and board games were the perfect combination of junk food and distractions to help people temporarily forget about the stress of final exams and papers that are yet to be completed.

These were indeed all wonderful events, but my favorite part of the week had to be the Hanging of the Greens service in chapel on Tuesday. It was a Service of Readings, Advent Carols, and Prayers for the Waiting World. During the singing, which included congregational hymns as well as special music from the Candler Singers, the Chapel Choir, and Voices of Imani, the chapel was prepared and decorated with greenery, poinsettias, Advent paraments, and the colors of the season.

The service was beautifully planned and presented—everything from the readings to the liturgical dances. In fact, each scripture reading was done in two languages by two people, who were standing across the altar table from each other. Various members of the Candler community, who come from places near and far, read the text in their native tongue. It was so moving to hear the Advent scriptures read in Shona, Russian, Korean, Tamil, and English. It reminds us that these sacred texts are universal and calls to each of us personally from the four corners of God’s creation. Those in attendance at this service certainly caught a glimpse of the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God as we worshipped, sat in silence, prayed, and lit the first candle on the Advent wreath together.

Because the semester is quickly coming to an end, the Candler community must squeeze Advent in four days instead of four weeks. Therefore, on Wednesday, the Office of Worship planned a Las Posadas service, which is an enactment of the Holy Family’s search for shelter, with songs in Spanish reflecting the Mexican origins of this service. Prayers were offered for those still searching for shelter, for food, for justice. The Thursday of Advent Week at Candler is always a Service of Artist Gifts, in which members of the Candler community offer their artistic expressions from music, dance, art, and spoken word. This service was themed around the Magnificat: My Soul Magnifies the Lord. Finally, the end of the week, as we light the last candle around the Advent wreath, we share in the Eucharist and feast at the Table. As students receive the Benediction on Friday, they have a week off for preparing and waiting for finals. And isn’t that what we are called to do during Advent? We wait and prepare for the coming Christ child with hopeful expectation.

As classes and final examinations end, the Candler student body will go home for the winter break, but we will continue to post blogs weekly. In fact, starting next Friday, we will begin a series of blogs which will be written by current students and others within the community. Though classes may not be in session, we are still around in the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid to answer your questions and talk to you about your discernment process and interest in Candler School of Theology. Feel free to contact us through the Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany seasons. You can email us at candleradmissions@emory.edu or call is at 404.727.6326. Also, check out my profile on Facebook (Candler Intern-Theology) and please join the Candler School of Theology Group at www.facebook.com.

Lane Cotton Winn 07T
Candler School of Theology
Office of Admissions and Financial Aid Intern

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 candleradmissions@emory.edu. 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 www.facebook.com.

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 www.candler.emory.edu, or email the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at candleradmissions@emory.edu. 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 www.facebook.com.

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 candleradmissions@emory.edu to continue this conversation. You can also contact us by calling 404.727.6326 or check us out online at www.candler.emory.edu/admissions/. In addition, look for my profile on Facebook (Candler Intern-Theology), and the Candler School of Theology Group at www.facebook.com.

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 candleradmissions@emory.edu. You can call us at 404.727.6326, or learn more about Candler on our website www.candler.emory.edu. Look for my profile on Facebook (Candler Intern-Theology) and the Candler School of Theology Group at www.facebook.com.

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