May 17 2013

More than a Shepherd

God is LovePrior to graduating in 2010, I had the opportunity to live in Belfast, Northern Ireland and serve at East Belfast Mission. After a year I returned to Atlanta and received my Master of Divinity degree from Candler School of Theology.  Two months later I would start in my first appointment back in the Dakotas at a United Methodist Church and Community Center in Pierre, SD.

In many ways, my experiences at Candler, and those that would follow in Belfast, prepared me extremely well for my first appointment. Within Candler and the Atlanta community, I pursued an emphasis in church and community ministries. Ever since my spiritual awakening in college, (when I realized that Jesus’s command to love our neighbor was something we were actually supposed to do) I had been keenly interested in the intersection between faith and action, worship and justice.

Classes in evangelism, non-violence, public life, and non-profits were opportunities to gain knowledge, and they became springboards for broader conversations about the need for personal faith to be connected with community transformation, and how community transformation is best done when it is grounded in personal faith.

Despite my apprehensions of local church ministry, due to my strong social justice interests and reservations about just being a shepherd, I soon discovered two very important things: 1) our theology and beliefs have a profound influence on our practice 2) what better opportunity to connect faith and action than having leadership within a local congregation.

In the ministry which I been a part of for the last three years in Pierre, I have been grateful and excited to help shape the common theology within my congregation about what it means to know God’s love and God’s heart, and what it means to be people of grace living into the kingdom. When we pray for our enemies and when we participate with other people of faith in vigils, our witness is shaped by our theology.

Likewise, our witness in the community is also shaped by our personal faith. I seek to help people be grounded in spiritual disciplines so that theirs hearts are prepared to love, and their cups of grace are ready to overflow. Playing a role in helping people connect their love of God with their love of neighbor can be challenging, but it is extremely rewarding.

As God prepares my own heart and mind for the next chapter of ministry in another appointment, I look forward to being the pastor of a new flock—a flock within the congregation, and the wider flock of the people in the community.

- Karl Kroger

Karl is Director at Southeast Community Center and Pastor at Southeast United Methodist Church in Pierre, South Dakota.

Nov 26 2008

Student Feature: Karl Kroger

Reflections from Karl Kroger, Third Year MDiv student from North Dakota.

As a Candler student one of my hopes has been that we would seek social justice together as a community. What would it look like for Candler to live out Micah 6:8, not just in our individual ministries, but as a community? What kind of impact could we have in Atlanta if we collectively worked on issues like sex trafficking, homelessness, or the death penalty?

During the past two months I have had the pleasure of being able to see my hope and dream become a reality. The Candler community has been actively working to stop the execution of Troy Davis. Troy Davis was convicted of killing a police officer, however he has a strong case of innocence. Despite poor evidence and the recanted testimonies of the majority of witnesses, as well as opposition from pro-death penalty advocates, the state of Georgia has attempted to execute Troy Davis three times. Each time, growing numbers of the Candler community have been fighting to save Troy’s life. Staff and faculty have signed letters to the governor. Students have organized vigils, attended rallies, and marched in the streets. Students have also collected petitions, hung banners, and strategized other non-violent tactics. Working together with lawyers, faith leaders, college students, other seminaries, Amnesty International, and Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, Candler students have been actively seeking justice.

As I write, Troy’s fate on death row remains uncertain. Because of Troy’s faith in God, his ultimate destiny is known. Shortly before his execution in September, Troy wrote, “I can’t wait to stand with you, no matter if that is in physical or spiritual form. I will one day be announcing, ‘I AM TROY DAVIS, and I AM FREE!’” I give thanks to God for Troy’s life and the inspiration he has been to the Candler community. Troy has helped us be more faithful to God.

For more information about Troy and the status of his case visit

Karl Kroger (
pictured top) is a third year MDiv student at Candler School of Theology. He is currently the chair of the Social Concerns Network and is a member of the Candler Singers,one of Candler’s choirs. His blog,, features social justice news, video resources, and advocacy opportunities. Karl was recently selected as the Student Leader of the Month by Emory’s Office of Student Leadership and Service.

Oct 29 2008

Finding the Holy in the Hectic

From Kimberly Knight:

Ok, so this is my first blog entry, in the first semester of my last year at Candler. Where should I begin on this chilly October day? Well, we are at the midterm point but it seems as if finals are coming in fast. With all the papers due, OT exams and Contextual Education verbatim assignments piling up it can be hard to remember that we are blessed to be immersed in this holy endeavor and faithful community in order to answer our particular calls to ministry.

So what do folks around here do to connect with the Holy in the midst of the hectic? Lets take a look at.

Every week we gather in Cannon Chapel

This is an opportunity for regular worship with our colleagues. Here we experience a variety of worship styles, individual gifts and the graciousness of a diverse Body of Christ. In the midst of a week of hurries and worries, it is a gift to be able to rest for a while in the healing sights, sounds, and touches of services; Word and Table is on Tuesdays, a service of Word on Thursdays, and a welcome Friday Eucharist. This week is such a week of diverse gifts:


Preacher and Presider: Dr. Thomas E. Frank, Professor of Religious Leadership

and Administration, Coordinator of the Initiative in Religious Practices and Practical


Music: Candler Singers; Organist, Jamie Shiell

10/30 SERVICE OF WORD: Black Church Studies Worship

Preacher: Rev. Dr. Walter M. Brown, Senior Pastor, Believer’s House World Wide Ministries,

Jacksonville , Florida

Music: Organist, Dr. James Abbington


Presider: Rev. Bradley Schmeling, Pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Atlanta, GA

Other ongoing refreshment for the soul:

Morning Prayer

Tuesday—Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 7:50 a.m.

A daily office of song and scripture using the liturgy of multiple communities:

Tuesdays – A sung Anglican service, Rite II of the Book of Common Prayer

Wednesdays – A United Methodist Order for Morning Praise and Prayer

Thursdays – A Celtic Order featuring prayers of the Iona Community

Fridays – A modern Anglican service accompanied with meditative music from the Taize Community

Evensong and Holy Eucharist

Wednesday, 5:30 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.

Traditional Anglican worship open to the entire Emory University community


A contemporary service of praise and prayer

Wednesday, 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Click here to see many great slide shows of worship services in Cannon Chapel

Coming up!

Next week we are excited to hear from our first guest blogger of the semester, Karl Kroger. Karl, who was selected Emory University Student Leader of the month, will share with us the inspiring work in which he has been engaged. About this work, Cindy Meyer, in the Candler Chronicle, writes:

Each month during the academic year, Emory’s Office of Student Leadership and Service recognizes a student who has demonstrated outstanding commitment in the realms of leadership, service or scholarship and has gone above and beyond the call of duty to make Emory a vibrant, growing and welcoming community.Cited for his tireless work in leading Candler students to action in petitioning clemency for Troy Davis, third year MDiv student and president of Candler School of Theology’s Social Concerns Network Karl Kroger, was named Emory University’s Student Leader of the Month. Congratulations, Karl!