Jan 15 2010

What’s New in 2010???


The Taj Mahal, in Agra, India. Photo by Haemin Lee (ThM 'o7)

Happy New Year!!! The new year is upon us, the second semester—the final semester for some students!—has begun, and there is a lot to talk about at  Candler.


Dr. Wesley de Souza, Professor of Evangelism of Evangelism at Candler and Dr. Winston Worrell, Director of the World Methodist Evangelism Institute led a group of a dozen Candler students to an evangelism seminar in Delhi, India from January 5-12. Students’ costs were subsidized by Candler, and several students are still in India exploring the amazing country. Last we heard they were headed to Jaipur.

Benedictine Prayer

A “Mid-day” (it actually starts at 12:30) Benedictine prayer service is starting up this semester in our Prayer Chapel. We encourage those who are seeking a rhythm in their prayer, study, work and worship life to attend. The readings and prayer will last approximately 15 minutes.

New Student Groups

The Candler Society for Multiracial Congregations has recently formed. They seek to help seminarians look critically at the lack of heterogeneous congregations and to offer tools and support for the formation of multiracial congregations. Check them out on Facebook.

The Candler Garden Club is just getting going on campus. A small but committed group of Candler students and staff, led by first-year MDiv student Jason Myers has submitted a petition to create a educational vegetable garden right next to the Theology Building!

Visit By Cardinal Walter KasperCardKasper2_tn

In March, Emory will host a visit by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Cardinal Kasper has been deeply involved in interfaith work, including heading the Vatican’s work on Catholic-Jewish relations. He will give a special talk sponsored by Candler, and Emory’s Aquinas Center and the Halle Institute entitled, “The Timelessness of Speaking of God.” The event is free and open to the public; Tickets are available online.

Summer Travel Opportunities

This summer, the Emory Global Health Institute is sending teams to Brazil, Bolivia, Mexico, Haiti, and The Bahamas. Candler students are encouraged to apply for spots on various teams as Field Scholars. Scholarships pay for $3000 for the summer. Check out the EGHI website for more info.

So we’ve got an exciting semester ahead. Come be a part of some of the amazing things going on at Candler and Emory, around Atlanta, and all over the world!

Dec 11 2009

Guest Blogger: Marshall Jolly on Emory and the World AIDS Memorial Quilt

marshall jolly

Guest blogger Marshall Jolly

On Tuesday, December 1, 2009, Emory University hosted an AIDS awareness day, displaying the World AIDS Memorial Quilt at what was the largest collegiate display in the world. Several friends and I walked through the University quad, which is just a few 100 yards from the school of theology. As we walked and the names of the victims of AIDS were read aloud, we began to reflect on the small portions of the quilt that individual families and friends made to remember their lost loved ones. Many of them had died during the surge of HIV and AIDS cases from the 1980s.

aids-quilt_vertical_195wI experienced a profound sense of sadness at this sight. Needless to say, the sight of these quilts, combined with the names being read from the platform was powerful. However, I was most grieved because of how the Church—not any one individual church, but Christian Churches as a whole—have responded (or failed to respond) to the AIDS crisis. Just a few years ago, the late Rev. Jerry Falwell made a very public and licentious statement, suggesting in no uncertain terms that AIDS were repayment for the sin of homosexuality.

I was astonished after hearing a recent NPR report that revealed that a black man who is gay has a 1 in 4 chance of contracting HIV/AIDS. Even more shocking is that Hispanic men who are gay have a 1 in 3 chance of contracting HIV/AIDS. By and large, the Church has been silent in its response to the AIDS crisis—ostensibly because of the disease’s misunderstood stigma as a “gay disease.”

While it is true that a disproportionate number of men—both gay and straight—have AIDS, a growing number of women and children are suffering from the disease—especially in the global south. The long-standing position of “we have no official position” is no longer acceptable. The Church must not shy away from confronting controversial issues and helping to resolve the crisis.

Marshall is a first year Master of Divinity student from Paris, Kentucky. A graduate of Transylvania University with a BA in American Studies, Marshall is an Episcopal studies student at Candler and is pursuing ordination to the Episcopal priesthood in the diocese of Lexington (KY). His research interests include American religious history and the rise of the modern Christian evangelical movement.

Dec 4 2009

Guest Blogger: Keri Olsen on Family Away from Family

Keri Olsen- Preparing for a Candler Thanksgiving

Guest Blogger Keri Olsen. And a turkey.

On Family Away from Family

I’ve been sitting here in Brooks Commons (where most of Candler’s lounging occurs) for about an hour looking at pictures of the three semesters I’ve been in Atlanta and thinking about what I am most grateful for within my Candler experiences (it was just Thanksgiving, you know).  So much has happened.  So much has influenced my thoughts and ideas.  I’ve met new friends, worked at new jobs, tutored and ran around a track with underprivileged kids, lived in two different places, worshiped in all kinds of churches, experienced God in new ways, participated in retreats,  marched in a parade, studied all sorts of biblical criticisms, gone to Braves games,  been to costume parties, fell in love with Process Theology, cried with friends,  prayed with friends, danced in chapel, truly felt in community while receiving communion, written more papers than I care to imagine, laughed a whole lot, and discovered more about where God is calling me.  See what I mean?  So much has happened.  But when I think of all those experiences the predominate “theme” I am most grateful for is the family away from family that has developed around me.

I have never been in a place friendlier than Candler.  Candler beats Disneyland, church summer camp, and an old ladies’ knitting. That’s because the Candler people I have encountered are friendly in a way that is concerned with knowing who you truly are, and they want to see you succeed.  From the first day at orientation I knew I would have friends and good friends at that.  Aristotle describes three kinds of friends in his Nicomachean Ethics.  The first is a friendship based on utility; the giving of love for the sake of someone’s usefulness to you.  The second friendship is based on pleasure; giving love because someone is pleasant to be around.  However, the third form of friendship is an exchange of love for the sake of the other person, not to gain any advantage for oneself.  Friendship like this third kind is superior to the rest because it endures with goodness and love for others’ sake.   This is the kind of friendship I have found at Candler.  The community of friendship, support, love, compassion and mutual experience has become a family for me 2,160 miles away from home.

The last two years I have spent Thanksgiving here in Atlanta with other Candler students (and their significant others) who do not go “home” for the holiday.  I’ve hosted the meal by providing the location and the turkey.  All the other dishes are prepared by those joining me, and the merriment lasts all evening.  Although I would still love to spend the holiday with my family in California, having a second family away from home makes the day special anyway.

Last year’s Easter was a similar event.  Although it sounds REALLY cheesy, many of us got together to dye Easter eggs (which we ended up hiding for an Easter egg hunt in the amazing backyard of one of our classmates).  After church on Easter Sunday we had a delicious pot luck lunch.  In order to make it feel even more like home we each made an Easter basket for one other person.  It is the effort, care, and company that makes these holidays away from home still worth celebrating to their fullest extent.

I know my friends here at Candler will pick me up when I fall in frustration and fatigue, because they have done it.  I know my friends here at Candler will laugh with me when I am experiencing joyous times, because they have.  I know my friends here at Candler will walk alongside of me during all the times in between, because they have.  And I would do the same for them.  Our friendship is like that of a family, and I am most grateful.

Here’s a little video of Thanksgiving with Keri and her Candler friends.

Our guest blogger this week is Keri Olsen.  She is a second year MDiv student at Candler.  Keri grew up in a town called San Jacinto, located in south-eastern California.  She graduated with a BA in Religious Studies, focused on Society and Ethics, and a minor in Studio Art from University of the Pacific near Sacramento, California.  Keri is in the process of seeking certification and ordination as a Deacon in the United Methodist Church, all because of her Contextual Eduaction experience and the course “Church and Community Leadership” at Candler.

Nov 25 2009

Freedom and Salvation


The Voices of Hope choir; photo used by permission of Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

The Service:

Metro State 1

Candler Professor of Church Music and Worship James Abbington accompanies the choir

The chapel service this past Tuesday was packed. I had to climb through three sections to find a seat. The Voices of Hope women’s gospel choir was singing, and I knew they would draw a crowd. I had a lot of office work to do, but they are a choir that you do not miss. I’ve heard them sing three times now and I’ve been blown away and reduced to tears every time. I have had to collect myself in my pew when they’re done, so I’m not overwhelmed after the service. The power is palpable, carrying out of the chapel, feet tapping, voices humming and singing, smiles everywhere. I left the service alone, back to the office; the choir left escorted by armed guards back to prison.

The Choir:

You see, the Voices of Hope is part of the gospel choir ministry of Rev. Susan Bishop, chaplain at the Metro State Women’s Prison in Atlanta. Metro State is a notoriously violent maximum security prison; in 2004, Diane Sawyer from ABC News spent a day and night in the prison as part of an exposé on the culture and violence in women’s prisons. Rev. Bishop, an ordained Baptist pastor and Candler graduate (’75) formed the choir as part of her ministry in 1992. She is a “godmother and mentor” to many of the women at Metro State. The traveling choir numbered 18; the in-house choir counts roughly 35 members among its ranks.

The Prison:Candler has a  long-standing relationship with Metro State. The prison serves as one of the Contextual Education sites in which Master of Divinity students serve during their first year at Candler. First-year students serve in ministry setting outside of church settings—settings like hospitals, prisons, and homeless shelters. Students primarily counsel inmates one on one, assisting with worship, facilitate groups, and help with bible study. One Candler student remarked that “Chaplain Bishop is one of the most inspirational, loving, caring, and outstanding ministers you will likely ever meet.”

The Ministry:

Don and Emily Saliers

Don and Emily Saliers

While the choir members repeatedly thanked those of us in the congregation for allowing them to sing, we were all very clearly the ones who had been blessed. The choir is an embodiment of the Christian notions of salvation, grace and redemption. Bishop said, “God has work for us to do, no matter who you are, no matter where you are.” It seems doubtful that many of the women, upon being incarcerated, could imagine being used by God for such acts of beauty and hope. And yet that is exactly what the choir is—a living message of hope.

The Voice of Hope also have a new CD out—a first for a Georgia prison choir. Emily Saliers (above right, with her dad) of the Grammy Award duo The Indigo Girls, helped finance the CD project and has sung with the choir on a regular basis for the past several years. Saliers has deep Emory connections. She graduated from Emory College with a BA in English in 1985 and her father, Don, taught worship and theology at Candler until 2007. They co-authored A Song to Sing, a Life to Live in 2004, about the intersecting strands of music and theology in their lives. Bishop said the recording has given the participants a sense of accomplishment and offered them an opportunity to give back to the community. Proceeds from the sale of the CD go toward a program that brings children to visit their mothers at the prison.

To buy the CD, go to: http://www.cccgeorgia.org/cd/index.html

Check out the Voices of Hope singing “Not Forgotten” from earlier this summer in Atlanta.

Nov 13 2009

Candler Creation Keepers


There’s a new student group at Candler, and they aim to play in the dirt and engage their fellow students in dialogue about God, gardens, and good stewardship. The Candler Creation Keepers, consisting of Master of Divinity and Master of Theological Studies students, had their kick-off meeting last week at Candler.

veggiesAll of the first-year Master of Divinity students are taking Dr. Brent Strawn‘s Introduction to the Old Testament course. One of the texts for the class is Ellen Davis’s Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible, a text with strong roots (pun intended!) in care of the Creation.

Dr. Strawn’s course plus a critical mass of students interested in theology and care of creation has led the Creation Keepers to pursue the building of a garden bed outside of the Theology Building. In conjunction with the Emory Office of Sustainability Initiatives, the proposed garden would be used for education, empowerment, and for vegetables for the theology school.

Hear from some of the Creation Keepers members, how they got interested and what connections they find between gardening, caring for creation, and Christian beliefs and practices!

Share with us how you see the relationship you see between your faith and your living impact in this created world.

Oct 30 2009

Candler: Nobel Prize Edition


When US President Barak Obama was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace on October 9, he interpreted the award as a call to action. You might not know this, but students at Candler and Emory have pretty amazing access to and experiences with Nobel Laureates past and present. Here are some of the Nobel Laureates and their Candler/Emory connections that have called our students to action.

art_jimmy_carter_emory_cnnPresident Jimmy Carter

Nobel Prize for Peace, 2002

President Carter is Emory University Presidential Distinguished Professor, giving regular lectures around the university and hosting Town Hall meetings every fall for incoming Emory Freshman. In 2002, President Carter received the Nobel Peace Prize for his and The Carter Center’s work (the Carter Center is an Emory University affiliate) in peacemaking, promoting democracy and human rights, and social and economic development.

Last fall, President Carter dropped in on Candler professor Dr. Tom Flores’ class, Sacred Ambivalence: Violence, Peacebuilding, and Interfaith Dialogue. The class was discussion how one’s religious background and faith affects dialogue and peace building. Carter spoke to the class about the signing, with President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, of the Camp David Accords on September 17, 1978, a milestone in Middle East peace talks.

Check out this conversation with the Jimmy and Roselynn Carter on iTunes University.


His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama

Nobel Prize for Peace, 1989

Like President Carter, HH the Dalai Lama serves Emory as a Presidential Distinguished Professor.  The Dalai Lama’s 2007 professorship––the first

university appointment accepted by the 1989 Nobel Peace Laureate and leader of the Tibetan people––is an outgrowth of the Emory-Tibet Partnership, which was founded in 1998 to bring together the best of Western and Tibetan Buddhist intellectual traditions.

His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, who will return to Emory Oct. 17-19, 2010, in his role as Presidential Distinguished Profes

sor, has announced a gift of $50,000 to the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative, an historic and ambitious undertaking to develop and implement a comprehensive science education curriculum for Tibetan monastics.

HHDL_vidCheck out HH the Dalai Lama’s Introduction to Buddhism lecture on YouTube

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Photo by

Photo by Benny Gool

Nobel Prize for Peace, 1984

Archbishop Tutu served Candler and Emory for two years, from 1998 – 2000, as the Robert R Woodruff Visiting Professor and then the William R Cannon Visiting Distinguished Professor. His tenure at Candler was his first academic appointment (he has subsequently taught at King’s College in London, England). In addition to public lectures, he taught two courses, a seminar on “Transfiguration, Forgiveness and Reconciliation” in the spring and fall of 1999, and a lecture class on “God and Us: Introduction to Contextual Theology and Ministry.”

Seamus HeaneyHeaney

Nobel Prize for Literature, 1995

In 2003, the Woodruff Library of Emory University acquired a major portion of the archive of the Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet Seamus Heaney. The collection of personal and literary papers includes thousands of letters spanning Heaney’s entire career as well as printed materials, tape recordings and photographs. Heaney made the announcement Tuesday, Sept. 23 prior to a reading at Emory in honor of the university’s then-recently retired president, William M. Chace.

Akinwande Oluwole “Wole” Soyinka

Photo from http://www.flickr.com/people/chidianthonyopara/

Photo from http://www.flickr.com/people/chidianthonyopara/

Nobel Prize for Literature, 1986

Wole Soyinka (born 13 July 1934) is a Nigerian writer, poet and playwright.  He was the first African to be so honored. After fleeing his native Nigeria in 1994, Soyinka served for the spring semester of 1996 as Emory Distinguished Visiting Professor in African American Studies. Soyinka joined the faculty in the fall of 1996, teaching with a focus on personal writing and dramatic projects. At Emory, he lectured in various disciplines, including art history, drama, and political science. He also collaborated with Theater Emory, in partnership with which he directed a staged reading of his play 1994, a satire on political correctness.

Sep 11 2009

Welcome Back, Candler!


Preacher Rev. Dr. E. Brooks Holifield, Professor of American Church History

Candler is back in full swing. Students have returned to Atlanta from their summer vacations, internships, travels, studies, and work in churches, businesses, and non-profits across the US and the world.Here are some of the highlights of Candler student summers:

The Beatitudes Society

Three students served as Summer Fellows with the Beatitudes Society—one each in Washington, DC, Chicago, and San Francisco.  Candler students furthered the mission of the organization’s mission to challenge the Church to return to the teachings of Jesus, particularly as they concern justice, compassion, and peacemaking.

MOZ-2BoysSmile_horz4x6International Relief and Development, Inc.

Candler received a grant from International Relief and Development, Inc. to send seven student interns to service sites in the Republic of Georgia, Mozambique, Indonesia, and IRD headquarters in Washington, D.C. this summer. Six Candler students and one student from Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health will be assessing a broad range of issues, including democracy and governance, HIV/AIDS, and community development.

National Capital Semester for Seminarians (NCSS)


Several Candler students returned from a spring semester in Washington DC through NCSS, a semester-long, intensive program of study in ethics, theology and public policy. Candler students got first-hand exposure to the world Inside the Beltway, with a combination of classroom experience, field visits, and internships.

South Africa Evangelism Seminar

Candler professor Wesley de Souza led a team of Candler students to Johannesburg, South Africa for the week-long South Africa Evangelism Seminar, sponsored by the World Methodist Evangelism Institute. In addition to the conference and lectures, students visited churches and preached to congregations in and around Johannesburg.


Ever had the itch to hang out with three-hundred thousand of your closest Christian friends? That exactly what Candler professors Jonathan Strom and Brooks Holifield along with a cohort of Candler students did in Bremmen, Germany this summer. The biennial Kirchentag (“Church Conference,” in German) is one of the largest gatherings of Christians in the world, with literally hundreds of worship services, Bible studies, speakers, prayer groups, spiritual practices opportunities, panel discussions and more. The theme this year was, “Mensch, Wo Bist Du?”, “Mortal, Where Are You?” from God’s question to Adam and Even in Genesis.

kirchentag-plakat1(Check out this YouTube video. It’s in German, for those who speak German, but wonderful images and music for the rest of us as well)

Jun 12 2009

Candler Around the Globe

Sunset over Jakarta, Indonesia. Photo by Gretchen Van Ess

Sunset over Jakarta, Indonesia. Photo by Gretchen Van Ess

This summer, six Candler students have spread across the globe as interns funded with a grant from International Relief and Development, Inc. Students are serving in the Republic of Georgia, Mozambique, Indonesia, and IRD headquarters in Washington, D.C. this summer. During their internships, students will be assessing a broad range of issues, including democracy and governance, HIV/AIDS, and community development.

A shy schoolboy in Maputo, Mozambique. Photo by Aquarius Gilmer

A shy schoolboy in Maputo, Mozambique. Photo by Aquarius Gilmer

All six Candler students are blogging for us all summer long!

May 22 2009

A Catholic Priest Walks into a Methodist School…

Father David (right), with Emorys 22nd President James Wagner (referred by undergrads, affectionately, as J Wag.)

Father David (right), with Emory's 22nd President James Wagner (referred by undergrads, affectionately, as "J Wag.")

Our Guest Blogger this week is Father David Glassmire. Fr. Glassmire is a Roman Catholic priest of the Diocese of Buffalo, New York. He is also a chaplain serving on active duty in the United States Navy. After completion of his studies at Emory, he will be assigned to the First Marine Division, First Marine Regiment, Camp Pendleton, CA. Fr. David is the son of Mr. and Mrs. William Glassmire of Kenmore, NY , and the elder brother of Cathleen Mroz and Lynn Wyland. He currently lives in the Woodland Hills section of Atlanta with his “spoiled rotten” Vizsla, Rye. He is a graduate of Christ the King Seminary, East Aurora, NY (MDiv) and the University of Notre Dame (MAT in Liturgical Studies). He was designated a Student Marshal for Commencement 2009 and graduated first in this year’s ThM class.

Reflections on the Eve of Graduation 2009

I am Candler, I am Emory, and I am the Spirit of Dooley! Although not the Holy Trinity, this is as good as it gets in a School of Theology of Methodist leanings—for a Catholic priest, that is!

Commencement and graduation offer an opportunity for reflection and gratitude. Often in life we take things for granted. At Candler I gained insight: “I did not learn my theology all at once, but had to search deeper for it, where my temptations took me” (appropriated from Karl Rahner). And some of my theological insights were gained at the High Museum or the Georgia Aquarium rather than the study carrels at Pitts (appropriated from Martin Luther). And in the end emerged a ThM thesis of my own.

My ThM year provided theology writ large, painted on a canvas of international proportions. Coming together with diverse backgrounds—“would-be theologians” us all—we studied, worked, and shared together, seeking to find what God placed in our midst.

Candler shaped this experience, helped to make it happen using words rife with intent, purpose, and profound meaning, and we have all grown because of our experience in this place. So it is time to unleash a new generation of theologians on the four corners of the universe, heaven help us all! This has been one of the best years of my life. Thank You.

What can a Catholic learn from a Methodist? As it turns out, more than I ever thought I would know. Therefore, I invite you to take the Candler Challenge.

Jan 9 2009

Pitts Theology Library

Did you know Candler is home to one of the premier theology libraries in the world? It’s true. Pitts Theology Library is the second largest theology library in North America at over 520,000 volumes and 1300 active periodical subscriptions. Scholars and researchers come from around the world to use the resources, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. The Special Collections, for instance, has over 100,000 volumes of rare and special books and materials.

Here are just a few highlights of Pitts.

Rare Materials

  • The first five editions of Erasmus of Rotterdam’s Greek New Testament (1519 and following) and 70 other works by him
  • Thomas Merton Collection, containing over 200 first and early editions of the American Trappist monk’s books, as well as digital facsimiles of hundreds of pages of Merton’s unpublished notebooks.

Wednesday Workshops

Along with great text resources, Pitts hosts bi-monthly Wednesday Workshops for faculty, staff, and students. The workshops focus on some aspect of technology and ministry or research. Topics range from Statistics for Religious Studies and Bibleworks for Beginners to Developing Church Websites and hosting Podcasts.

Digital Image Archives

Pitts maintains an archive of over 19,000 images of biblical illustrations, portraits of religious leaders, printers’ devices, engravings of church buildings, and other theological topics. The entire archive is searchable by Scripture Reference or Topic. With proper citation, the images can be used for church bulletins, presentations, or sermon illustrations.

Ask A Librarian

The Pitts website allows you to send an Instant Message to one of our Reference Librarians from anywhere in the world! So if you’re having trouble with a search for a book or if you’ve got a question about where to look for a resource, send an IM and someone will get back with you quickly.

When I was a student at Candler, I foolishly neglected to take advantage of many of the amazing resources Pitts has to offer. The books and periodicals are world-class. The classes are informative and keep you up to date with the very latest in technology. And the staff. The staff of twenty is fantastic, often times going well beyond what I would normally expect from a library staff. Many staff members have advanced degrees in theology/divinity as well as library science. So don’t be afraid to ask Natalie or Myron questions at the front desk about reserves or circulation. And check with Pat or Tracy in the Periodicals Room—Pat for all things Blackboard-related and Tracy about the vast periodical collection. John in the Reading Room is the Head of Public Services and an expert on just about everything at Pitts. Debra up on the second floor handles all of the Special Collections—I’ve been working with her on access to some of the Thomas Merton materials. And Pat Graham is the Library Director, Old Testament scholar, and Margaret A. Pitts Professor of Theological Bibliography.