Guest Bloggers, Candace Hirsch, Master of Divinity senior, and Brandon Stewart, MDiv first year, pictured together at right, recount their experience at this year’s Spring Banquet, an end of the year dinner party for the entire Candler School of Theology community, complete with meal, entertainment created from the community, which often pokes fun at the community, and dancing. It’s certainly one of the greatest social events of the year at Candler, and I know you’ll enjoy hearing from both a senior and a first year about this year’s party to end all parties.

By Candace Hirsch

The semester is almost over, and for graduating seniors like myself, our time at Candler is almost over, too. Just when our energy and enthusiasm begin to lag and it seems as though finals are the only thing in sight, a beacon of fun and celebration appears: Spring Banquet. I’ve enjoyed the food, socializing, skits and dancing of Spring Banquet (affectionately known as Candler Prom) each year I’ve been here, and this year’s banquet included all of the celebration a graduate could imagine.

Before the actual banquet began, the entire Candler community was invited to be a part of the official wedding ceremony of two third year students, Jill and Corey. They met at Candler, began dating, and got engaged here, so having their official marriage ceremony on campus, with the beautiful backdrop of the trees and flowers of the Emory quad seemed perfect. Chad McGinnis and Lance Presley, two graduating Candler students, presided over the ceremony, while music was provided by second year student Joe McBrayer. We were able to celebrate not only the marriage vows Corey and Jill will now live out but also signs of some of the ministry our graduates are going out into the world to lead.

Dolled up in everything from sundresses and seersucker suits to vintage velvet jackets and old bridesmaid dresses, our celebration continued as Spring Banquet began and students, faculty, and staff shared a meal together while a slideshow of photos from this school year flashed on a screen in the front of the room. The senior class presented Dean Jan Love a check for $4500 raised in the senior class gift campaign, which will be used to support scholarships for future students and lockers in the new building.

As we finished our meal, the evening’s comedic entertainment—a series of video and live skits, created by Candler students, staff, and faculty—began. When the skits ended and the laughter died down, out stage was transformed into a dance floor and everyone, faculty and staff included, danced the night away. This year the “prom” planners included an option for karaoke in the midst of dancing, and we heard the musical stylings of a wide variety of Candler students, willing to make a joyful—if not always entirely on key—noise in songs such as “Ring of Fire”, “Respect”, “It’s Raining Men” and more. We shook our tail feathers, rocked the soultrain, and danced until the very end of the night.

In the midst of integrated papers, intense theological discussions, and the academic rigors of Candler, Spring Banquet is a chance to let loose and just have fun with the community. I’ve enjoyed Spring Banquet each year, celebrating with new friends and old, laughing and dancing with not only my peers but also faculty and staff. As the saying goes, “there ain’t no party like a Candler party,” and this year’s Spring Banquet was certainly a party to send our graduating class out in style.

Candace Hirsch is a third year Master of Divinity student from Pittsburgh PA, and a graduate of Allegheny College. After graduation, she’ll spend the summer working as a chaplain at Camp Lake Stephens, a United Methodist summer camp in Mississippi.

By Brandon Stewart

The 2008 “Candler Prom” was a night that all the students, faculty, and staff will always remember. We moved beyond the walls of the classroom to laugh at one another and come together to celebrate our hard work and to have a “crunk” Candler house party. First, with everyone dancing the night away, the Candler community was extremely “hot” as we set “the roof on fire.” Secondly, watching the wonderful skits that the students of the Candler community created were hilarious as we saw the innovative side of our colleagues.

The theme of the skits featured a sarcastic telethon that attempted to raise money for the new building Candler will open this fall as well as made fun of the old building, Bishops Hall. The skits also revealed the many different characteristics that Candler portrays. According to the Bible, thou shall not steal, but the in one of the skits, the Candler community incorporated their “five fingered” discount to the equipment that was needed for the new building since no funds were raised for the new building. One could only imagine if Jesus was happy or laughing at Candler for having such a wonderful time together. No wait, Jesus, or his 2008 look alike, Dr. Thomas Thangaraj, who’s punch line that he was Jesus at the end of a skit stole the show, was there to participate in his last prom!

And last, the night was one that the Candler School of Theology would always remember because everyone put the word, “community,” into action. The many brothers and sisters of Candler were from present all different backgrounds based on race, gender, beliefs, and denominations, but this did not stop us from having a great time and showing love to one another. As we boogied down the soul train line, we caught our wonderful dean, Jan Love, showing us her old school dancing skills that won her the coolest-dean-ever award. As the evening came to a close, there even was a little hip-hop open mic session that was introduced by the first year students as well as the DJ. The Candler Prom was an event that brought out laughs, great dancing, and great memories as we displayed ourselves in our formal fashion. Especially a guy dressed up as the pink panther! For one moment in time, we, as a community, were able to enjoy life outside the stress of academia and bask in the ambience of each other’s presence.

Brandon Stewart is a first year MDIV student from Jackson, TN who majored in African American Literature and Communications as well as played college football at the University of Memphis. Brandon plans to attend law school after attaining his Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology and work with the disadvantaged urban community.

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 my profile on Facebook (Candler Intern-Theology) and the Candler School of Theology Group at We recently started a group on MySpace too, so hopefully we’ll connect with you soon online or in person.