Nov 2 2007

Hymns of Peace

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

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

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

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

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

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

May the Peace of Christ Be Yours

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Lane Cotton Winn 07T

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

Oct 26 2007

The Dalai Lama on Peacebuilding

What do President Jimmy Carter, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama have in common? Knowing the source of this blog, you can probably guess that these three distinguished individuals were recently on campus at Emory University, but how often can you experience three dialogue partners of this caliber in one week? While every week at Emory does not draw world renowned speakers, theologians, and politicians, this is an exciting time to be at Candler School of Theology at Emory University. In fact, both President Carter and the Dalai Lama spoke in Cannon Chapel this week, focusing on what it means to be a religious person in this day and age.

The week of great speakers began when President Jimmy Carter gave a talk about being a Christian in the 21st Century to an engaged and intimate audience of Candler students, members of the religious life community in the college, faculty, staff, and guests in Cannon Chapel on Thursday afternoon. Less than 24-hours later, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor visited Emory Law School on Friday morning, for a conference on “A Fair and Impartial Judiciary,” where she gave the keynote address. The national and local news began to take notice of Emory when the Dalai Lama arrived on campus for a visit, just days after receiving the Congressional Gold Medal in Washington D.C. What great resources we have at our fingertips by being situated within Emory University. Candler is one of very few seminaries connected to a major research university, and Candler students are invited to take full advantage of every opportunity at Emory, from concerts to community service and from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who was the Cannon Visiting Distinguished Professor of Theology at Candler from 1998-2000 to Salman Rushdie, whose archives are in the University’s Woodruff Library and began a five-year appointment as Distinguished Writer in Residence this year.

Emory’s invitation to the Dalai Lama to join the faculty is the only academic appointment the Dalai Lama has ever accepted. His visit was marked by a conference on “Mindfulness, Compassion, and the Treatment of Depression,” several performances including Tibetan music and dance, the creation of a Mandala sand painting, a lecture and summit, and concluded with his installation as a Presidential Distinguished Professor and a public talk on Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta. After standing in line with my Emory ID and entering a lottery (please forgive me, The United Methodist Church), I received a ticket for one of the many events featuring His Holiness. I had the privilege of attending Emory’s first Summit on Religion, Conflict, and Peacebuilding, on Sunday, October 21, 2007, which was right up my ally, as I have an interest in conflict transformation and interfaith dialogue.

Simply hearing the Dalai Lama speak on this topic would have satisfied me, but he was joined by four other panelists from the Hindu, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faith traditions, which added such rich dialogue to his sage comments. His Holiness the Dalai Lama began with a statement, which was followed by responses from Rabbi David Rosen, Sister Joan Chittister, Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of Mohandas Gandhi, and Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im. Gandhi offered a high compliment to His Holiness at the beginning by saying, “People of all kinds are at home with this homeless man,” for the Dalai Lama has been in exile in India and away from his home of Tibet since 1959.

I really appreciated that various times during the dialogue, panelists and the moderator, Dr. Lauri Patton, reminded participants that we can create peacebuilding moments in our local context. In fact, Professor Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im suggested that we stop to using “we” language and start using “I” language. Having been raised in The United Methodist Church, in the west, and being from a large family, I often feel most comfortable using “we” language, as a way to be more inclusive. However, he made a compelling point that individuals should not wait for others to join them, rather “individuals have the ability within themselves to create change.” He suggested we focus on our own human agency rather than relying on others to enlist in the movement for change, dialogue, or peacebuilding. In that same spirit, Sister Joan Chittister ended her time by stating, “If the people will lead, eventually the leaders will follow.”

Some of the questions that emerged out of the summit, and that I offer here for further reflection and dialogue is:
What are the best local peacemaking practices in places affected by religious violence?
How are people addressing these issues of religious violence “on the ground” in cities, communities, and neighborhoods?
For that matter, what is the role of religion in creating suffering in the world?

The Dalai Lama’s message was a message of love and affection. He said, “We really need a closer understanding of each other. It’s essential.” The Gospel message, which is my faith tradition, is to Love, and I believe is also the basic function of all religions and faith traditions. Sister Joan Chittister responded to the Dalai Lama by asking, directly to western Christians, “What do we have to contribute to the history of love?” What will we, as seminarians and discerners, future denominational leaders, community organizers, Christian educators, and global citizens, have to contribute to the history of love?

Sister Chittister told a story of a young man asking an older, religious sage, “Is there life after death?” and the sage asked back to the young, “Is there life before death?” Change can start in the here and now, for we all hold the possibilities for change and reconciliation. One of the final words from the Dalai Lama was in response to a question about Human Rights, in which he said, “If certain traditions don’t go well with current conditions, we have to change those traditions.” What hope for the future he offers!

Each panelist at the summit painted a beautiful image of change, transformation and dialogue, which Rabbi Rosen reminded us, is a powerful thing and can often be more affective than action. If you would like to be a part of a seminary within a university that offers outlets for dialogue about religion, conflict, and peacebuilding, Candler is the place for you. Pease contact us in the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at, call us at 404.727.6326, find us online at and look for my profile on Facebook (Candler Intern-Theology) and the Candler School of Theology Group at

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

Oct 19 2007

Sacred Conversation

One of the strengths I admire about the Candler School of Theology’s community is its openness to dialogue and converse about anything that may be on one’s mind. Walking through Brooks Commons, our gathering commons area, I hear conversations ranging from theodicy to Tillich, from the weather to weekend plans, and sharing about family and favorite faculty. What is even more impressive is that these conversations are happening all over campus—in the classroom, at lunch or over coffee, in the hallways and across bathroom stalls. In fact, I had a great conversation about Wesleyan theology with a Jewish Master of Arts student, who has a United Methodist minister in her family, on the Emory Shuttle on the way to school last week. We are a community of talkers. Wait; let me clarify. We are a community of dialoguers. Sure, every now and then it seems like we talk just to hear our own ideas but, for the most part, the Candler community is welcoming and open to dialogue with whatever is on your mind.

One conversation that I had the privilege to be a participant in this week was hosted by Sacred Worth, which is a group comprised of straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) students at Candler. Their mission statement says that, “Sacred Worth seeks to be a place of support and safety to those members of the Candler community who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered and those who are supportive heterosexual allies of LGBT justice issues. The group also serves as a prophetic voice, promoting and provoking conversation about sexuality and gender orientation, especially as it relates to ministry, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identification.” This is Sacred Worth Week, therefore, they are hosting a number of events including a silent auction and coffeehouse, several panels and conversations, a faculty and staff appreciation dinner, as well as planning and leading all the chapel services for the week.

The main speaker and preacher they have for the week is Dr. Harry Knox, who is the Director of the Religion and Faith Program at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). The conversation I attended was with Harry Knox and Rev. Beverly F. Ostrowski as well as those of us in attendance. The conversation was about the HRC’s resource Out in Scripture, which is a weekly commentary by theologians, scholars, and LGBTQ writers that coincides with the Revised Common Lectionary. Their website says, “This Human Rights Campaign resource places comments about the Bible alongside the real life experiences and concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of faith and our allies. With the help of skilled scholars, you will discover a fresh approach to Scripture.” During the conversation, Harry Knox commented, “Let’s let the church be ahead of something, for once,” in reference to the conversations going on in both secular and sacred arenas about LGBTQ issues and concerns. Indeed, there are dialogues, debates, and down right fights happening around many divisive issues within the church and world. I am grateful that we are encouraged at Candler to talk openly and with compassioned spirit and passion about issues that touch us at the core of our beliefs and ideals.

Rev. Ostrowski offered the following comment about the Out in Scripture resource: “It encourages us to listen to the voice we might not otherwise hear.” And I would argue, or dialogue with you, that the Candler community, as a whole, pushes itself to be in dialogue with the voiceless, the marginalized, the mainstream, the right winged, the leftest liberal, the traditional orthodox, and all the other beautiful loud and quiet voices that make up the conversations of the world.

Sometimes the conversations are hard and push us to look beyond what we know and believe, but at least we are conversing. There will be other student-led weeks throughout the year, such as Heritage Week, hosted by Black Student Caucus, and Women’s Week, coordinated by Candler Women. Student groups, professors, and even our chapel services are constantly asking us to be in dialogue, and those of us who matriculate at Candler are more well-rounded dialoguers and citizens of the kingdom of God for having been invited to the conversation.

If you want to be in dialogue with others about deep theological issues as well as pressing debates of today, maybe Candler is the place for you. Please contact us in the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at, call us at 404.727.6326, learn more about the Admissions Process online at and look for my profile on Facebook, named Candler Intern-Theology, and the Candler School of Theology Group at

Oct 12 2007

Call and Vocation

“The place where God calls you is the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep hunger.”

-Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking

I believe that vocation and call go hand-in-hand, and in fact, that we are all called and presented vocations in the whispers and nudges given by God. One of the blessings of being in ministry is that we are paid to live out our vocation. We are allowed the space to grow into our calling. We are encouraged to be in constant discernment about vocation and God’s call upon both our own life, as well as the lives of those with whom we are in ministry.

Discernment is a lifelong process, and we hope that seminary is yet another place where we can dialogue and discern our vocation and call in a community of other discerners. One of the hallmarks of the new Master of Divinity curriculum at Candler School of Theology at Emory University is the attention it gives to the first year experience of MDiv students. A key part of the first year experience is Candler’s revised advising program, designed to create regular occasions for faculty and student conversations about a student’s vocational and educational goals. The idea behind this change in structure is that the faculty/student conversations that begin in advising groups the first semester will model faculty involvement with students throughout one’s time at Candler.

One of the aims of the advising groups is to provide a place for collective conversation on vocation. As one means of fostering this collective conversation, all entering MDiv students and their faculty advisers read the same book, Mountains Beyond Mountains, by Pulitzer-prize winning author Tracy Kidder. Right around the time that bills were due in the university bursar’s office, entering first year MDiv students were sent a free copy of the book. Who doesn’t love to get mail and surprise presents?!

The book tells the story of Dr. Paul Farmer and his pioneering work in health care with the poor of Haiti. Paul Farmer’s story of vocational discernment and service provided the advising groups with a beginning place for conversations about vocation, religious leadership, and theological education. Is Paul Farmer an ordained minister? No. But is he in ministry? Certainly! Ministry happens in many forms and in a variety of vocations. Dr. Farmer received an honorary degree from Emory University at the May 2007 commencement exercises and gave the commencement speech, which pushed graduates to live their lives to the fullest by answering the call that theologian Frederick Buechner names above as the union between the world’s brokenness and where we find wholeness.

This week, Tracy Kidder, the author of the book that has all the Candler first year MDiv students talking about vocation, was at Candler this week for a conversation with students, faculty and staff. His visit represents the finale of a 6-week study on vocation here at Candler. Kidder is a regular contributor to the New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, and the New York Times Book Review, and he has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Award, among other literary prizes. We were delighted with anecdotes from his travels with Paul Farmer as well as the world’s brokenness as he perceives it. Though the advising groups focused on Kidder’s book about Paul Farmer, it was clear from his presentation that we could do a case study on the vocation and call in Tracy Kidder’s own life as he invites readers into new possibilities for living through the words he writes.

What books have you read and found helpful that offer thoughts on vocation and service?

What changes do you hope to effect in the world? What mountains, as the title of the book suggest, or new vocational adventures, do you see on your horizon?

Kidder ended his presentation by saying, “I often feel like I’m jumping out a window and I don’t know what floor I’m on.” Isn’t that a great visual image for what answering God’s call is all about? Living out one’s vocation can bring such joy, but it can also be a leap of faith. We are not meant to do this work of discernment alone in isolation, which is why Candler is providing intentional space for students to talk about vocation, call, and discernment. Perhaps this is the community to continue your discernment process within.

If you are interested in exploring your call and dialoguing about vocation in the Candler context, please contact us in the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at, call us at 404.727.6326, find us online at and look for my profile on Facebook (Candler Intern-Theology) and the Candler School of Theology group at

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

Oct 5 2007

Life is a Journey

One of the long term, lifelong goals I set for myself a few years ago is to fill all the pages of my passport with stamps from various travel destinations before the passport expires. I received my current passport in the spring of 2001, before a six-week trip through Southeast Asia. While I did get a number of stamps and visas from that trip alone, I still had many pages to fill and countries to visit before attaining that goal. Luckily, passports are issued for ten years; therefore, I knew that as I entered my 20’s, there would likely be other travel opportunities in my future.

After college, I collected a few more passport stamps and memories as a photographer on a trip to South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (STAMP). However, it was not until I got to Candler School of Theology at Emory University did my goal of filling my passport seem more attainable and at such an early stage of my life. Journeys both near and far abound for students at Candler.

Two of the most amazing and eye opening trips of my life were through Candler and happened within months of each other during the summer of 2006, between my second and third year of seminary. Only days after completing my final exams and even before Candler seniors graduated, I departed on the Middle East Travel Seminar, or METS as we call it. METS is a three-week intensive travel seminar with seminarians from various other divinity schools in the southeastern United States, as well as several lay people. It is a political and archeological tour through Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, and Greece, that Candler has participated in for many generations of students. We rode up Mount Sinai on camelback to watch the sun rise (STAMP); we toured religious, interfaith sites in Jerusalem and Bethlehem (STAMP); we visited Damascus and Corinth, making Paul’s letter come alive (STAMP, STAMP); we floated in the salty Dead Sea and went through Israel checkpoints (STAMP). We had challenging, enlivening theological conversations every step of the way, and my faith and commitment to ministry in God’s broken world were strengthen and affirmed all along the way.

The summer of 2006 was book ended by the METS trip in late May and a trip to Seoul, South Korea in late July (STAMP). Candler School of Theology has a unique relationship with the World Methodist Evangelism Institute, which takes students and church leaders on evangelism seminars all over the world twice a year, in which Candler students can receive three class credits for the trip. In fact, United Methodist students can fulfill their Evangelism class requirement for ordination by attending one of these seminars. What was so unique about this seminar in particular is that it was in conjunction with the 19th World Methodist Conference, which is a global conference held every five years, in which all Methodist and Wesleyan denominations and movements come together for worship, celebration, workshops, and dialog. Recently, World Methodist Evangelism Institute Seminars have traveled to Singapore, France, and South Korea, with plans to travel to Latin America and South Africa in 2008.

While traveling domestically will not earn me stamps in my passport, I have also been on a few trips regionally with other Candler students. After the devastation of hurricane Katrina, Candler sent a work team of students down to New Orleans during spring break to clean out and gut homes. Doing hands-on mission work with fellow seminarians was such a powerful experience of living out our call to ministry in both the church and the community. That week in New Orleans, we literally lived part of Candler’s mission statement, “…to educate—through scholarship, teaching, and service—faithful and creative leaders for the church’s ministries in the world.”

I’ve only mentioned a few of the life changing travel experiences and adventures I’ve been on through Candler School of Theology, but there are so many more ways to enhance your theological education through travel seminars and exchange programs. Candler has ongoing exchange programs with Göttingen University in Germany, the University of Melbourne in Australia, the Wesley House at Cambridge University in Great Britain, St. Andrews in Scotland, and Uppsala University Theology School in Sweden. In January, Dr. David Jenkins, Co-Director of Contextual Education and program director for Faith and the City, Church and Community Ministries Certificate, and CPE, will lead a Borderlinks trip with a class, “The Church on the Border” to the U.S. and Mexico 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. Not only will Candler take you to the border’s edge, but it will also facilitate you in doing further study with other great theology schools in the U.S. Candler often has students participate in the National Capital Seminar for Seminarians at Wesley Seminary, which is offered every spring semester. During the semester in Washington D.C., students participate in hands-on learning and intense study of ethics, theology and public policy, with the nation’s capital as your primary resource. Seminary is designed to be a journey of discernment and discovery, and Candler provides students with options that will rock the world and rock your ministry.

The familiar saying, “Life is a journey, not a destination,” can also be said about Candler. Theological education at Candler School of Theology is a journey with God, your fellow students, and yourself, and if you allow it, will also be a journey to Israel (STAMP), South Korea (STAMP), Geneva (STAMP), New Orleans, and to the boundaries, borders, and edges of the life you knew before seminary. Candler will push you to adventure beyond your known world and into a life of service to God’s creation that may require you to carry a passport.

What study abroad and travel seminars have you enjoyed participating in or learning about? What destinations and international experiences would you like Candler to explore and offer? What has been one of your most meaning journeys?

If you are interested in getting more stamps in your passport and going on a theological journey, you should consider Candler a destination for your adventure. Please contact us in the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at, call us at 404.727.6326, check us out online at and look for my profile on Facebook, named Candler Intern-Theology, and the Candler School of Theology Group at

Sep 28 2007

Vocational Trinity

In a less than 24 hours, during Lent last spring, my plans for after graduating from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology with my Master of Divinity all came together from a variety of sources and individuals within the Candler community. It is not in my nature to say things like, “It was meant to be,” or “Everything happens for a reason.” However, I do believe the grace and love of God was at work during my time of discernment and exploration as I pieced together a plan—God’s plan for this year.

In that one, magical day, I was offered this fantastic internship in the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at Candler School of Theology, found a perfectly quaint apartment just off the Emory Cliff Shuttle route, and was introduced to an urban ministry CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) program based out of the Training and Counseling Center (TACC) at St. Luke’s Episcopal near downtown Atlanta. If God didn’t have a hand in revealing these opportunities, I don’t know who did!

My internship in the Admissions Office and the apartment were fixed and finalized quickly, but I still needed to apply and be interviewed for the CPE program. After submitting my 14 page written application, complete with, as the application describes it, “a relatively full account of your life,” I had my interview and was offered a spot in the 28-week extended unit. The Rev. Miriam Needham, a Candler alumna and an ordained elder in the North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church, is the Executive Director of TACC and the CPE Supervisor, and I bonded immediately through our common Candler connection and passion for urban ministry. Graduation and my move to the new apartment quickly approached in May, and I took June and July off, by replacing school and work with retreats and travel. By August, I was back on campus at Emory University doing research for Dean Jan Love and in the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid as an Intern.

I’ve been cruising along in the Admissions Office and doing research for Dean Love since August, but on Monday of this week, I started CPE. As soon as I walked into St. Luke’s, I was greeted by a familiar face in Tracy, who graduated from Candler one year before me. She will be the CPE Intern at Central Presbyterian Outreach and Advocacy Center, which is one of the four centers the program assigns interns.

As we made introductions with the other CPE Interns, I found that Candler was well represented in the room. Not only were Miriam, Tracy, and I all Candler alumnae, but Paula, who will be serving with me as CPE Intern at Holy Comforter Episcopal Church, graduated from Candler with a Master of Theological Studies in the 1990s. I immediately felt comforted because of the presence of my Candler sisters, and I have high hopes that the entire group will grow and meld together in the coming weeks.

While I feel called and passionate about the work we do in the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, I am really excited about adding this new form of ministry into my life, in which I am outside the seminary walls doing ministry within a community and in an urban environment. TACC is one of only a handful of CPE sites to offer training in an urban environment, rather than the more traditional hospital and prison settings. Coming from New Orleans, I am deeply called to urban and community ministry, and believe this CPE program, along with my Candler education, will continue to prepare me for ordination and ministry in The United Methodist Church. I certainly had a chance to do supervised, practical ministry through the Contextual Education program at Candler during my first two years of seminary; however CPE is a more intensely engaged group process of clinical ministry, peer evaluation, and self reflection.

As Anne Lamott states it in her latest book Grace (Eventually), “I’m lurching forward in my life again, and it feels as if someone finally cracked open a window that had been jammed.” My Vocational Trinity, as I like to call it, of working in the Admissions Office, doing research for the dean, and participating in this urban ministry CPE program is finally in full swing. My window is wide open! Candler has opened these doors and windows for me, as well as nurtured and prepared me for the challenges ahead.

Nearly every element of my life, including the community for which I live and serve, is directly related to Candler. In fact, the apartment I’m renting is in the lower level of a close Candler friend’s parents’ home, and the vicar at Holy Comforter, where I will do my clinical hours for CPE is also a recent Candler graduate. The extended Candler community continues to call me to servanthood and encourages me to live out my vocational calling. I have a feeling that Candler will guide me through many of life’s journeys, long after I’ve ended this Admissions Office internship, said good bye to the community at Holy Comforter, and moved out of my apartment.

Candler would like to crack open windows for others through our outstanding theological education. If you are interested in taking the next step in answering your vocational call, please contact us in the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at, call us at 404.727.6326, check us out online at and look for my profile on Facebook, named Candler Intern-Theology, and the Candler School of Theology Group at

Lane Cotton Winn 07T

The above photo is of the Edward Gay House on the St. Luke Episcopal Church campus. The Training and Counseling Center (TACC) is housed at the Edward Gay House in downtown Atlanta. This historic home was built in 1878 and was owned by the Gay family until 1956. It is one of the few
residences of its era remaining in downtown Atlanta.


Sep 21 2007

Familiar Voices

Rarely does one recognize the anonymous voice heard in a commercial, on the radio, or during an audio guided tour through a museum as a familiar friend or friendly acquaintance. However, that is exactly what happened to me as I turned on the audio headset at the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University last weekend. Familiar voices from my Old Testament, New Testament, and Introduction to Preaching classes filled my ears and immediately transported me back to the Candler School of Theology classroom, a place of exploration and creative learning.

With my parents in town, a trip to the museum, also a place of exploration and creative learning was a perfect Saturday afternoon activity for us. The Carlos, which sits on the quadrangle at Emory directly across from Cannon Chapel, currently has a ground breaking special exhibit, The Cradle of Christianity, Jewish and Christian Treasures from the Holy Lands, which is here until October 14, 2007. Not only is it important for Emory to house such an amazing exhibit of Jewish and Christian artifacts, but the Carlos Museum is only one of three U.S. venues exhibiting this traveling collection of biblical archaeology. That in and of itself makes the exhibit appealing, but when learning that some of Candler’s best and brightest faculty would be featured on the audio guided tour, I could not resist checking it out.

Entering the section of the exhibit focusing on the Time of Jesus and the Second Temple Period, Dr. Gail R. O’Day, Associate Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs and A.H. Shatford Professor of Preaching and New Testament at Candler School of Theology, could be heard through the guided tour. I was already impressed with both the exhibit and Dean O’Day, but in that moment, as I heard the familiar voice of my preaching professor, I became more impressed with my seminary and degree from Candler School of Theology. I know the competitive enrollment statistics of our student body and have read the biographies of our diverse and widely published faculty, but in that moment, I was blown away at the leading role Candler faculty was taking in this university and community wide project. Our faculty, from the most well known to the most recently hired, are all teaching and advising students. However, through this exhibit, it became clear to me that they are not only in the classroom, not only on the covers of the books seminarians and theologians around the world read, but they are also leaders across the entire community as well as ambassadors of Candler and Emory for visitors to the museum. And these are the great scholars I got to take classes from!

I felt like I was privy to an inside joke, and in a way, as a Candler alumna, I am. I wanted to share with the museum visitor next to me that Candler students affectionately call Dr. Luke Timothy Johnson, another expert voice along the way on the audio tour, who is the R.W. Woodruff Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins, “LTJ” for short. And does the Sunday School class touring the exhibit know that Dr. Carol Newsom, who passionately teaches tour goers about the Dead Sea Scrolls on the audio guide, who is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Old Testament, that she used to hide under her bed covers as a little girl reading the Old Testament by flash light long after her parents thought she was asleep? After a full year of Old Testament studies with Dr. Newsom and another year of New Testament exploration with “LTJ,” I have the insider scoop about the life and teaching behaviors of these voices projecting through my audio headset and the headsets of the thousands of people who are touring this terrific exhibit at the Carlos.

As I entered the section of the collection exhibiting the remains and ruins of an ancient Byzantine era church, I hear another familiar voice. It is not a voice from the classroom, though he certainly teaches, but a voice from a worship memory of mine. In fact, no one could ever recreate the powerful feeling of the Holy Spirit I experienced during a worship service in Cannon Chapel lead by Dr. Richard Valantasis, Professor of Ascetical Theology and Christian Practice and Director of Anglican Studies at Candler and audio tour guide in the Rise of Christianity section. It was one of my most memorable and moving services I attended at Candler as he invited us into worship and led us on that day. As I browsed the books in the museum gift shop and walked back to my car, I realized how much I internalized and retained from the exhibit because I was hearing familiar voices guide me through the collection—voices I have worshipped alongside, voices I have studied under, voices who wrote the textbooks I read, voices I consider mentors, and voices connected to a life that I know well through the Candler community.

If you are interested in being in dialogue with these voices mentioned above and others or feel like Candler is a community calling you here for theological study and exploration, please contact us in the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at, call us at 404.727.6326, check us out online at and look for my profile on Facebook (Candler Intern-Theology) and the Candler School of Theology group at

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

For more information about the Cradle of Christianity exhibit check it out on the Carlos Museum website at

Photo by Jon Rou from the June 11, 2007 Emory Report:

Sep 14 2007

Carnival Season at Candler

The smell of grilled hamburgers and cotton candy lingers in the air as we clean up our snow cone machine after the Candler School of Theology Opportunities Carnival on Friday, September 7, 2007. Though our first week of classes had concluded, the Candler community gathered together at the close of the week for an afternoon of fun in the sun. Each year, the Candler Office of Student Programming hosts a carnival for student groups and offices around Candler and Emory to set up booths, games, offer prizes, and share informational materials about upcoming events and activities they have planned for the semester ahead. We went all out in the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, offering free snow cones and candy as we encouraged students to volunteer for the Student Admissions Team, who serve as hosts to prospective students who visit Candler.

Though we had our hands full making cherry and blue raspberry snow cones for everyone who stopped by the Admissions table, I took a few minutes to walk around and browse the tables and games of each of Candler’s student organizations. After watching Theo Turman, the C3 (Candler Coordinating Council, our student government) Vice President throw a football for the Football Toss Game at the Candler Evangelical Society’s booth, I took a moment to talk to Emily Coulter, the Candler Evangelical Society (CES) President about plans the year ahead. The CES partners with the Nicholas House, a non-profit organization here in Atlanta that houses homeless families and helps them achieve self-sufficiency. Emily said, “We visit there monthly and prepare meals for and fellowship with the residents, all in the name of Jesus. We are bold about our faith but gentle in sharing it.” I also learned that the CES has hopes of partnering with organizations across the Emory campus again this year, such as Intervarsity and the Catholic student association for a service project like Habitat for Humanity.

The Candler Evangelical Society is not our only student group volunteering and doing service projects; in fact, nearly all of our Candler student groups have service and volunteer ministry opportunities. Sacred Worth, a group made up of straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning students who affirm the diversity of human sexuality and its importance in the theological conversation, volunteers at Common Ground on the first Monday of every month, which is an interfaith HIV/AIDS support community. They provide a devotional to the group followed by lunch. David Sigmund, who is the Common Ground coordinator for Sacred Worth shared with me, “The discussions that occur during the devotional time are amazing. They are so honest…so real. I find I am usually the student and they are the teachers when it comes to those discussions.” October 15-29, 2007 will be Sacred Worth Week, and Harry Knox director of the Religion and Faith Program Area for the Human Rights Campaign will be the keynote speaker, along with other events, meals, and conversations throughout the week.

Moving along at the carnival, I stopped to talk to my friend Sara Pugh, the President of the Candler Children’s Initiative, who had a cool, shady spot under the tent. Many of our Candler student groups partner with each other to co-host events, and the Candler Children’s Initiative along with the Order of St. Luke (OSL), a sacramental order centered on preserving the sanctity of the sacraments and educating people about the sacraments, are hosting a workshop on Preparing a Children’s Sabbath. As Sara explained it, The United Methodist Church has decided to honor Children’s Sabbath as part of the liturgical calendar, not just as a Special Sunday. Therefore many congregations within the Atlanta area will celebrate Children’s Sabbaths in October. Sara said, “Our hope is that we will gather together future and present ministers, mainly our students, to train them on how to lead a congregation in a Children’s Sabbath, making sure that it’s not just letting the children sing in the choir, but really honoring the fact that they are children of God. Hopefully the session will also educate worship leaders on how to always be including children in services so that a Children’s Sabbath does not feel so different.”

Three of our student groups plan and host a themed week every year, which focuses on their work and mission in the community and world. Those five days often feel like a full week of carnival and celebration. I mentioned Sacred Worth Week earlier, which is October 15-19, and, in addition, the Black Student Caucus (BSC) and Candler Women also host themed weeks, which will happen in the spring semester. I ran into Mark Jefferson, the BSC President, at the carnival, and though Heritage Week will not happen until the spring, they have their first meeting September 20 and their first social on September 28. Mark told me, “It’s our BSC Kickoff celebration. We will be welcoming new students, reacquainting the old, and having a good time and building harmony with the Candler Community. All are welcome. We want it to be a celebration!”

Friday’s carnival truly was a celebration. In fact, I believe this expression of carnival and celebrations will continue throughout the year. Between the cotton candy, the free lunch of hamburgers and veggie burgers, the games and prizes, and our delicious snow cones, everyone seemed to end the first week of classes feeling energized and excited about what lies ahead. There will be little carnivals happening all over campus and within the Candler community, including many from groups I did not mention today, happening all semester. If you feel like Candler is a community you would like to explore your call, receive an exceptional theological education, and be a part of the carnival, please contact us in the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at, call us at 404.727.6326, check us out online at and look for my profile on Facebook (Candler Intern-Theology) and the Candler School of Theology group at

By Lane Cotton Winn 07T
andler School of Theology
Emory University
Office of Admissions and Financial Aid Intern

Sep 7 2007

Newness at Candler

A ruffle of robe flutters in the warm summer air, as we line up outside. Brass players tune their instruments next to the organ. Professors, bishops, and university leaders assemble two-by-two. Students and guests gather in the sanctuary as vibrant colors such as magenta, indigo, and gold process down both aisles of Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church. Today was the first day of class at Candler School of Theology, which always opens with a celebratory convocation worship service. However, the expectation and excitement surrounding the day felt a little more elevated, for on this historic day, Tuesday, September 4, 2007, we installed Jan Love as Dean of Candler School of Theology at Emory University, our ninth dean of the seminary and the first woman to hold this distinct office.

As I processed in with the Candler Singers, one of our student choirs, I made eye contact with friends I had not seen since my graduation from Candler last May, and my eyes welled up with tears of joy and feelings of remembrance. It seemed appropriate that Candler’s graduation and the dean’s installation were both held at Glenn Memorial, the United Methodist Church that sits on the edge of Emory’s campus. Graduation, in May, was the last time the entire Candler community gathered together for worship and institutional ceremony, in which Dean Love charged graduates to go forth from Candler as servant leaders; and now on installation day, we, the Candler and greater Emory community, charged Dean Love to be our servant leader, quoting President James W. Wagner from the ceremony, “with the obligation to advance Christian learning, to encourage acts of reconciliation, and to provide leadership for all of God’s people.” At the beginning of an academic year, particularly in the context of a seminary, at a time when we set goals and live in anticipation of the year ahead, these words remind me that we should all strive to fulfill that calling from President Wagner.

There has never been a time in Dean Jan Love’s life and vocation when she was not living out that call in her life. Dean Love’s resume is quite impressive, from being the chief executive officer of the Women’s Division of The United Methodist Church, to director of the International Studies MA and PhD programs at the University of South Carolina, and from serving on the World Council of Churches for over two decades to being recognized at the 2000 General Conference, by the United Methodist Council of Bishops for “Exceptional Leadership in Ecumenical Arenas,” she not only models servant leadership , but her way of being in the world encourages others in their intentionality towards service to the church, academy, and world. NOW is the time to be at Candler, as we nurture servant leaders under the new leadership of Jan Love!

In fact, when I examine that commission of furthering Christian learning, being a community of reconciliation, and providing leadership for all of God’s creation, I see the Candler community within those words. Candler is a place that takes Christian and religious study seriously. Our faculty and staff challenge students, as well as each other, to dig deep in writings of the past and present as well as deep within ourselves to find meaning and answers. From the classroom, in collaborative worship experience at Candler, and through programs of the Office of Student Programming and various student groups on campus, we are a community engaging in formal and informal acts of reconciliation and renewal. And from the moment we begin Candler, through the Contextual Education program and as we graduate from Candler, we are nurtured and molded into well-educated leaders for the church and world.

This is an exciting time the school’s history, and I am thrilled to be interning in the Office of Admission and Financial Aid at Candler for such a time as this. We’ve got a new dean, a new curriculum, a new class of first year students, and we are always looking for additional new faces to share the Candler experience with. There will be many more moving, special worship services, stimulating and challenging lectures, and opening convocation services and graduations to attend, and my hope for every one is to find a community, such as the one here at Candler, to live and grow in as we all prepare for and continue our ministries in the world. If you feel like Candler is that community for you, or would like to explore that as an option, please contact us in the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at, call us at 404.727.6326, check us out online at and look for my profile on Facebook (Candler Intern-Theology) and the Candler School of Theology group at

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