Welcoming Watson

Kevin WatsonCandler welcomes Kevin M. Watson [01] to the faculty as assistant professor of Wesleyan and Methodist studies. An ordained elder in the Oklahoma Conference of The United Methodist Church, Watson comes to Candler after three years as assistant professor of historical theology and Wesleyan studies at Seattle Pacific University. From 2005 to 2008, he pastored Lamont United Methodist Church in Oklahoma. His experiences as both pastor and professor enrich his teaching and inform his primary research on the history of Wesleyan approaches to communal Christian formation. “I am passionate about both theological education and the local church,” he says. “These passions are combined in my belief that many of the key insights of the first Methodists are of enduring relevance for contemporary Christianity.” Watson says he feels especially called to pastor seminary students who are preparing to become pastors themselves.

Triple Crown

Ian A. McFarland, Emmanuel Y. Lartey and John Snarey.At Spring Convocation in January, three Candler faculty members were installed in chaired professorships. Ian A. McFarland was installed as the inaugural holder of the Bishop Mack B. and Rose Y. Stokes Chair of Theology in recognition of his distinguished scholarship, devotion to students and faculty, and leadership in and service to the church. McFarland, who also serves as associate dean of faculty and academic affairs, joined the Candler faculty in 2005. Emmanuel Y. Lartey, on the faculty since 2004, was installed as the inaugural holder of the L. Bevel Jones III Chair in the Practice of Ministry, which recognizes outstanding leadership in the church and community. John Snarey was installed as the Franklin Nutting Parker Professor of Human Development and Ethics. Named for Candler’s second dean, the Parker Chair honors outstanding research, teaching, and service, which Snarey exemplifies as a widely published psychologist and educator who has served on the Candler faculty since 1987.

Changing the World

Candler is one of 18 “Seminaries that Change the World,” (STCTW) according to Faith3, an organization that seeks to support the church as it relates to young adults. STCTW and Faith3’s executive director, Wayne Meisel, traveled for three years to seminaries and divinity schools to consider them for inclusion on the first-of-its-kind list. Candler’s historical and continuing commitments to social justice and community engagement were among the attributes that supported the school’s selection. Also of note were Candler’s active student groups, distinguished faculty, and alumni who are making a significant impact on society.

“What we say on our brochures isn’t just marketing-speak,” says Dean Jan Love. “We are truly committed to helping real people make a real difference in the real world. It’s affirming to have others recognize that commitment.”

Wills Takes a Turn in the McDonald Chair

Garry WillsPulitzer Prize-winning author, journalist, and historian Garry Wills [03] joins Candler for the fall semester as a distinguished visiting professor in the Alonzo L. McDonald Family Chair on the Life and Teachings of Jesus and Their Impact on Culture. A lifelong Roman Catholic, Wills is professor emeritus of history at Northwestern University and the winner of a 1998 National Medal for the Humanities. Throughout his five-decade career, he has written extensively on politics, religion, and culture, penning nearly 50 books on subjects as wide-ranging as Nixon, St. Augustine, the papacy, and the modern presidency. His 1993 book Lincoln at Gettysburg won the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction.

As the McDonald Professor, Wills presented the public lecture “Government and the Arts” in September and will present a second lecture on December 3, “Living With Saint Augustine.” In addition to the lectures, Wills is teaching a course at Candler on Augustine and the Trinity. Audio and video recordings of his lectures are available in the “Jesus & Culture” and “Special Events” albums on Emory’s iTunes U site, itunes.emory.edu.

Photo credit: Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

Faculty Accolades

Candler faculty members have garnered numerous accolades this year. Jennifer R. Ayres, assistant professor of religious education and director of the religious education program, received a grant from the University Research Committee for her project, “Cultivating an Ecological Faith: Faithful Education and Leadership for Our Time.” Ayres also received a Collaborative Inquiry Research Grant from the Louisville Institute for the project “Cultivating Ecological Faith.” Elizabeth M. Bounds, associate professor of Christian ethics, was appointed a Senior Fellow of the Bill and Carol Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry for 2014-2015 for her project, Redeeming Responsibility: A Christian Ethics of Incarceration.” Joel M. LeMon, associate professor of Old Testament, received a University Research Committee grant for his project, “Break the Teeth of the Wicked: Picturing Righteous Violence in the Psalms and Ancient Near Eastern Art.” Rex D. Matthews, associate professor in the practice of historical theology, received the Florence A. Bell Research Award from the Drew University Theological School to support research toward his project, “Divorce and Remarriage in American Methodism: The Evolution of Church Positions from 1884 to 2012.” Matthews also completed a summer residency at Duke Divinity School as a Fellow of the 2014 Summer Wesley Seminar.

Presidential Honor

Carl HolladayCarl R. Holladay [04], Charles Howard Candler Professor of New Testament Studies, has been elected to serve as president of the Society of New Testament Studies (SNTS) for the 2016-2017 term. Founded in the 1930s, the SNTS is an international organization of scholars with approximately 1,000 members in 50 countries. The society publishes the peer-reviewed academic journal New Testament Studies in partnership with Cambridge University Press. Holladay will give the presidential address at the society’s annual meeting in Montreal in 2016.

Shiny Apples: Awards for Exemplary Teachers

Photo credit: Cindy Brown.As the 2013-2014 school year drew to a close, the Candler and Emory communities honored three faculty members for their outstanding commitment to their students in the classroom and beyond. Dean Jan Love named Gregory C. Ellison II, assistant professor of pastoral care and counseling, as Candler’s recipient of the Emory Williams Teaching Award, the highest teaching award granted by the University. Ellison was teaching a course at the Methodist Theological University in São Paulo, Brazil, when the award was announced at Commencement, so his children—who were all smiles—accepted it on his behalf [05]. Candler students chose Teresa L. Fry Brown, professor of homiletics and director of Black Church Studies, as Faculty Person of the Year. And Luther E. Smith, Jr., retiring professor of church and community, received the “On Eagle’s Wings” Excellence in Teaching Award, which is conferred by Candler’s senior class in recognition of faithful and dedicated service.

Photo credit: Cindy Brown 09T

Taking the Bible to the Masses

Jacob WrightAssociate Professor of Hebrew Bible Jacob L. Wright [06] taught a class to tens of thousands this summer through a massive open online course (MOOC) offered by Coursera, an education company that partners with universities and organizations to present free courses on a web platform. Wright’s course, “The Bible’s Prehistory, Purpose, and Political Future,” was one of Coursera’s first MOOCs focused on religion, and it made quite an impression. More than 25,000 people from 169 countries took part in Wright’s virtual classroom. During the seven-week course, Wright and his students examined how and why the Bible was written, drawing on archaeological research and comparative texts that demonstrate how the Bible bears directly on modern questions of politics, economics, and theology.

Wright was surprised and moved by the results. “It was an amazing gift for me to see the most diverse group of students come together and engage each other about really profound questions,” he says. “The experience made me see how much these learners, drawing on their own readings and experiences, have to contribute to each other, but also to the research we do as scholars.”

Office Hours

Do you miss having faculty experts at your fingertips? Then join us each semester for a new slate of free “Office Hours” practical ministry webinars presented by members of the Candler faculty. These one-hour online conversations cover a variety of topics designed to sharpen your ministry skills. The remaining webinars for the fall semester include Teresa L. Fry Brown, professor of homiletics and director of Black Church Studies, on November 11, “Power and Paucity of 21st Century Preaching,” and Joel M. LeMon, associate professor of Old Testament, on December 4, “Though the Earth Should Change: Psalms for a Planet in Crisis.” To register, visit candler.emory.edu/alumni, select “Continuing Education,” and then “Alumni Webinars.” On that same page, you can access archives of past webinars featuring Bandy Professor of Preaching Thomas G. Long, Assistant Professor of Religious Education Jennifer R. Ayres, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling Gregory C. Ellison II, and others. Be sure to watch for our spring semester lineup—coming soon!