On Wednesday of this week, Candler held its 8th annual State of the School conversation. Rev. Cindy Meyer, Assistant Dean of Student Life began the gathering with a prayer by Edward Hayes from his book Prayers for the Servants of God.
Kim Jackson (pictured left), president of the Candler Coordinating Council (C3)—Candler’s umbrella organization overseeing all student groups—engaged the crowd with words to reflect on. She asked students to share the words, thoughts, and feelings that come to mind in relation to certain phrases. For New Building, responses were: ahhhh!, internet, bright, technologically complicated, and paintings (referring to the paintings of John August Swanson whose artwork fills the building); for Chapel, students shared the words: worshipful, creative, involving, and centering; for Student Body, replies were: family, human, amazing, diffuse, spread out, microcosm, and supportive.
Kim shared that as a third-year MDiv student, she is in her final semester, and yet hasn’t checked out. She is nostalgic about her time at Candler, encouraged by many events and happenings in the life of Candler over the past three years. She expressed her admiration and pleasure in things like students joining Emory Club sports teams—teams typically comprised of only undergrads—teams like the swing dance team, weightlifting, Ultimate Frisbee, and water polo. She also reflected on celebrations around the Candler community, such as ordinations and weddings, awards ceremonies, children birthed, fellowships received, books read, and many, many papers and sermons written!
While acknowledging some hard times over the past year, Kim reminded everyone of hope for the future. As C3 President, Kim has worked with Candler staff to have available to students more spiritual and pastoral supports. Additionally, Kim has helped to create a cultural competency and conflict transformation program aimed at helping Candler students get to know their diverse neighbors on a deeper level. The Candler is a microcosm of the diverse Body of Christ and Candler is a great place to learn more about brothers and sisters from different traditions, cultures, countries, and theological viewpoints.
Candler’s Dean, Jan Love (pictured right), shared with the students her reflections on the past year. She has been Dean at Candler for two years, and relates that “the honeymoon definitely is over, but the marriage is still strong!” This past year has held many new and exciting developments at Candler, including our fantastic new building, six new faculty members, the second year of our new curriculum, and four new chaired professors—professors Minor, Petersen, Richey, and Tipton.
Dean Love also shared her excitement about Candler’s strategic initiative to make Candler an even more international place of worship, study, and community. Dr. Jonathan Strom is leading the way towards making more international travel and study opportunities available to Candler students. (For current international opportunities, click here). Pointing out the increasingly global and international nature of the City of Atlanta, Dean Love mentioned that even those students who stay here in the U.S. will experience an increasingly internationalized curriculum in our degree programs to reflect the wide diversity of Christian and non-Christian cultures one encounters every day.
All in all, the gathering was a great start to the new semester, taking stock of where we’ve been as a school and looking forward to what the future holds for us all.