Just when I finally feel like I’m getting used to the life of the Candler School of Theology Admissions Office, I have entered into a whole new world through Second Life. The Candler admissions office has opened an office on Second Life, which is a virtually 3-dimensional chat world in which we can interact with people from across the world. It’s immersive, impressive, interactive, and just plan cool! Second Life, like other social networking sites, such as Facebook and MySpace, are helping us connect and reconnect with people in ways we never could have imagined. Furthermore, through Second Life, people are able to interact in the moment with an Avatar profile that one has created to be a representation of one’s self. Creativity is key in Second Life, and it is opening up a whole new life of possibilities for us at Candler.

Kimberly Knight, a current Master of Divinity student at Candler, has started a church community, called Koinonia Congregational Church, which worships and gathers together on Second Life several times a week. On the church’s website, Kimberly shares, “Koinonia Congregation is an actual congregation meeting in an online space — a virtual reality world known as ‘Second Life.’ Koinonia uses the cutting-edge technology of Second Life to create a safe environment where people can learn about the Christian faith and experience a loving Christian community.” Through her ministry on Second Life with the Koinonia Community, Kimberly has helped envision, build, create, furnish, and maintain our newly opened Candler Admissions Office in Second Life.

For many of you, this must sound impressively cutting edge, but to be honest, there are plenty of other higher education institutes who have been on Second Life much longer. Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford all have virtual campuses on Second Life, and unlike Candler, yet, they host real classes on Second Life. Imagine undergraduate students at Harvard logging into freshman English class on Second Life, as they sit in their dorm room in their pajamas sipping coffee. This is happening on university campuses world wide, and it is so exciting that Candler is joining in!

Just as we host prospective students and campus visitors at our Admissions Office at Emory University in Atlanta, we will also host them at our office in Second Life. Our space on Second Life has rooms dedicated to learning about Pitts Theology Library; Candler’s faculty, degree programs, and curriculum; student and community life, and worship at Candler. We certainly believe that much of the seminary experience is about being in community with one another, therefore we will encourage visitors to our Second Life office to make a campus visit as well. It is our hope that Second Life will be another form of sharing Candler with people who are discerning a call in their lives and are exploring going to seminary.

If you are discerning a call to seminary and thinking about doing ministry, outreach, social justice work, and faith sharing, we hope that you will consider Candler as a next step on your journey. Please visit our office on Second Life or schedule a visit here in Atlanta. For more information about Candler School of Theology, visit our website at www.candler.emory.edu, or email the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at candleradmissions@emory.edu. 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 www.facebook.com. We recently started a group on MySpace too, so hopefully we’ll connect with you soon online or in person.