May 15 2009

Candler Graduation 2009!

Candler MDiv ’09 grad James Clark is happy

On Monday, May 11, 2009, Candler School of Theology graduated its 94th class of students. Below are photos of the day, which included a commencement speech by former Mexican President Vincente Fox (pictured left) and Candler’s graduation ceremony in Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church.

Special thanks to Cindy Brown (, Candler MDiv ’09, for use of many of her pictures. Check out her amazing slideshow of the day below.

Lauren Lobenhoeffer, MDiv 09, with Professor Rex Matthews (photo by Michelle Levan)
Yong Sil Choi, MDiv 09

Scott Wilks, MDiv 09, and Jan McCoy, MDiv 09

Kelsey Grissom Johnson, MDiv 09

Julia Buckner, MDiv 09, with Professor David Petersen (photo by Michelle Levan)

Kim Wagner, MDiv 09 (photo by Lauren Lobenhoeffer)

Amanda Garvin, MDiv 09, with her dad
Saul Burleson (right), MDiv 09, with Myron McGhee, MDiv 95
Brandon Wason, MTS 09, with Professor Steve Kraftchick (photo by Wendy Wason)
Estelle Archibold, MDiv 09
Evita Smith, MDiv 09, with Dean Jan Love
Rodney Mason, MDiv 09!!!

Jan 24 2009

State of the School Address- Spring 2009

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.

Feb 22 2008

Candler Mustache Society

The Candler Mustache Society, the newest addition to Candler School of Theology’s community, is on a unique and hairy campaign to end domestic violence this month. This new society, with some of its members pictured to the right with Dean Jan Love, has invited all Candler-associated men to grow a mustache for the month of February, or Febru-Hairy as they call it, to raise awareness about domestic violence as well as money for the Dekalb County Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence.

Mustache-growers are asked to collect pledges for their superior ‘staches. The end of the month will culminate in a “Stache Bash” where the person who has raised the most money and the one with the most luxurious locks will each win a prize. In this inaugural hair growth period, there are about 16 active mustache society members, including one faculty member and one spouse of a Candler student. The husband of Whitney Walton, 1st year Master of Divinity student is participating, and Whitney says, “It wasn’t hard to convince Brandon to participate – this fundraiser gives both of us an opportunity to contribute creatively to a cause that we think is important. Plus, it gave him an excuse to rock out some crazy facial hair! It’s really exciting how his participation in the project has involved non-Candler people and generated awareness beyond the campus.”

The mastermind behind the Candler Mustache Society is Elizabeth Wilson, 1st year MDiv student. Elizabeth shares, “When I got here, I noticed an abundance of facial hair, met some big-hearted philanthropic men, and recognized a way to mobilize people to help a marginalized group. Growing a mustache costs nothing, but has a big visual impact.”

The Candler Mustache Society has partnered with the Dekalb County Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence in this fundraiser. Elizabeth tells me that, “The WRCEDV was thrilled to have a group of men supporting their cause and I’ve been pleased with how our community has started to support the society.” The WRCEDV helps victims of Domestic Violence in a variety of ways, from their 24-hour hotline support and counseling center to their safehouse for victims who need a place to reside while they transition into stable living environments. Legal advocates are provided to assist women, and support groups meet weekly, which are led by trained staff.

The WRCEDV also provides childcare and child and youth advocacy for the children living in the safehouse. They also serve the larger community by offering community education to local organizations and schools about domestic and dating violence. Not only is this a fun and humorous way to raise money for a great non-profit, it is also raising awareness about domestic violence.
Chad McGinnis, 3rd year MDiv pictured to the right, says, “I usually like to change up my facial hair periodically, though mustaches are typically not on my rotation. But it makes it worthwhile knowing that whatever proceeds we raise go to helping prevent and educate about domestic violence.”

The Candler Mustache Society gathered some statistics from the Dekalb County Women’s Resource Center to teach the Candler community the reality and truth about domestic abuse. Did you know that over 100 Georgians are killed every year in domestic violence related incidents? Children living in violent homes have higher school dropout rates, increased incidence of teen pregnancy and lower-self esteem than children raised in non-violent homes. And the FBI reports that a woman is beaten every nine seconds in the United States.

Craig Newman, 3rd year MDiv student, pictured on the left, tells me, “I chose to join the group for two reasons: I have no problem growing facial hair, and I wanted to contribute to a worthy cause. Some of the participants look pretty ridiculous, myself included, but the whole thing’s been a lot of fun.”

I, personally, am impressed with these men’s commitments to helping end the cycle of domestic abuse, and to show my support and solidarity for this noble endeavor, I, myself, have taken a hiatus from shaving my legs this month, and hope the women of Candler will find further creative ways to join this hairy society.

There’s a lot growing around here at Candler, particularly as spring begins to bloom. I hope you will consider planting roots here at Candler, and invite you to learn more about the Admissions process by visiting our website. 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

Feb 1 2008

State of the School

Every January, the president of the Candler Coordinating Council (C3) and the dean of Candler School of Theology give a “State of the School” address, which is a time when they discuss the ministry and work the seminary, our student body, and plans for the upcoming year and future of the school. With Dean Jan Love celebrating her first anniversary as dean of Candler School of Theology, a new building in the works, an active student body full of exciting ministry, outreach, and service experiences, and a zealous faculty producing publications by the dozens this year, there was quite a bit to share and celebrate at this year’s address. Bridget Cabrera, the C3 President, offers her vision of the state of Candler in this week’s blog.

Candler School of Theology is in a time of transition. Last year we installed a new dean, started a new curriculum, and broke ground for a new building. Yes, we are in a time of transition.

Candler students are also in a time of transition. I remember my transition to Candler. It was a difficult one. I was a music education major in college so words like exegesis, hermeneutics, and eschatology were new to me. I didn’t know what my professors were talking about. The seemingly endless amount of reading and the quality of writing that was expected of me was also something I was not used to. I will admit my first year was a little overwhelming, and I was a little scared about this transition.

I am sure that others have had similar experiences or fears during their first year of seminary. At times, the life of a seminary student seems like a juggling act. As students, we all transitioned into this place, but that is not where it stops. We continue to grow and change and transition into new understandings and new relationships everyday.

Once I got accustomed to the language and the pace of Candler, I began to get more involved in the community. I started to sing in the Candler Singers, one of our choirs at Candler and began participating in various student organizations. The more I got involved in the life of Candler, the more I grew to love and appreciate this community. And when I talk about the Candler community it extends not only to the students, but also to the faculty and staff as well. We are all a part of this together and we are all transitioning together.

As the Candler Coordinating Council (C3) President, I have had the privilege to see and be involved with a lot of things that most students are not aware of. I see everyday how blessed we students are to be here at Candler. Candler is a seminary that includes students in their committees and wants to hear their voice. In fact, we are included in faculty searches, by having a student representative on the search committee. When faculty candidates are interviewed, students are invited to listen to their lecture, attend a meet-and-greet, and submit comments about the candidates to the search committee. The C3 president also attends the faculty meetings to represent student interests, and there were students were on the curriculum committee that brought us our current curriculum. As you can see, Candler includes your voice and values what you have to say.

The work of the Candler Coordinating Council lies in what the name implies. It leads and supports the Candler community by facilitating the coordination between student organizations and programs and it also gives voice to the student body. Many of you have attended meetings of student organizations or attended a student sponsored event. So far this year Candler students have co-sponsored Habitat Houses; sustained relationships and been in ministry with groups such as Common Ground, an HIV/AIDS outreach center; advocated for the rights of children; educated each other on LGBT issues and concerns; played flag football with other seminaries; and have also found the time to support each other and do our school work. Our community has helped fund new lights for the intramural sports field; the remodeling of the graduate student lounge in the Dobbs University Center; and supported the university wide newspaper, which provides free copies of the New York Times, USA Today, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The Emory Student Government Association (SGA), along with the other nine graduate divisions, are making positive steps to ensure that our voice is heard. And that was only last semester!

Yes, we at Candler are in transition. We students have our hopes and our fears about the various transitions in our community and in our personal lives. The great thing about all of this is that we are not alone. We have, as Dr. Luther Smith, professor of church and community, preached in Cannon Chapel for MLK day and that Daniel Ogle blogged about last week, a whole cloud of witnesses. As we look forward to this semester and the coming year, let us all work together to continue this work for our beloved community that we call Candler.

Bridget Cabrera is from Enterprise, AL. She graduated in 2005 from The University of Alabama with a B.S. in Music Education. She is a member of the North Alabama Conference and is seeking ordination as an elder in the United Methodist Church.

If you are interested in learning more about Candler School of Theology to see first hand all these exciting opportunities Bridget mentioned, makes plans to visit campus, meet with an admissions advisor, attend chapel and a class, and have lunch with current students. For more information about Candler School of Theology, visit our website at, or email the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at In addition, you can call us at 404.727.6326, or learn more about the admissions process at Candler by clicking here. Look for our Admissions Office Intern’s profile on Facebook (Candler Intern-Theology) and the Candler School of Theology Group at