News Release:

Oct. 11,  2010

Candler conference to focus on conflict transformation

Candler School of Theology at Emory University will hold its annual Fall Conference under the theme "Conflict Transformation as Ministry," October 19-21, on the Emory campus.

Each year the Fall Conference is held in conjunction with the meeting of the Candler Alumni Board and a luncheon honoring Candler Distinguished Alumni. Featuring keynote addresses and various workshops centered around specific topics in ministry, the Fall Conference is designed to equip ministers and church leaders for congregational and community ministry, said Dr. Robert W. Winstead, Candler's director of lifelong learning and assistant professor in the practice of church leadership.

"We see that our world is struggling with conflict among individuals, communities, and nations," he said. "Engagement with conflict is essential to caring for God's people, healing our churches, and renewing the world. Yet many ministers say they wish they were better equipped for this work. That's why we chose conflict transformation as our theme this year."

This year's conference offers keynote addresses from Reverend Dr. Gary Mason, Mission Superintendent in the Methodist Church of Ireland, and United Methodist Bishop Kenneth L. Carder. Mason's opening keynote on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. is titled "The Role of the Church in Working for Peace, Justice and Reconciliation," and draws on his experience as pastor of a Methodist church on the "peace line" in Belfast, Ireland, where he gained recognition as an effective proponent of healing and peace between Protestants and Catholics in neighboring communities.

"Gary Mason is a peace-builder in the midst of conflict in East Belfast. We believe he can speak to the needs of church leaders who also wish to bring peace to their communities," Winstead said.

Bishop Carder's keynote, "Conflict as Threat and Opportunity," Wednesday at 4:00 p.m., discusses how congregations can minimize the threats and maximize the opportunities inherent in conflict in order to strengthen the church's witness.

The conference also includes eight workshops on conflict transformation within congregations, with youth, within the community, and in ecumenical contexts. Workshops include such topics as "Beginning Skills in Conflict Transformation," "Acting Up and Acting Out? Reframing the Way We Experience Conflict with Youth," and "Negotiating Racial Conflicts: Lessons from the Transforming Community Project," among others.

The conference will culminate with worship in Cannon Chapel Thursday morning, with Rev. Mason preaching.

Registration for the conference is $65; this fee is waived for Candler students. The registration deadline is Sunday, Oct. 17. For more information and to register, visit:

Conference Highlights

Tues., Oct. 19, 6:30 p.m., CST 102: Rev. Dr. Gary Mason, "The Role of the Church in Working for Peace, Justice and Reconciliation"

Wed., Oct. 20, 4:00 p.m., White Hall 101: Bishop Kenneth L. Carder, "Conflict as Threat and Opportunity"

Thurs., Oct. 21, 11:05 a.m., Cannon Chapel: Worship service, Rev. Dr. Gary Mason preaching