Aug. 16, 2013
'Tearing Down and Building Up' at New Student Orientation
Image by David Cho, 2nd year Master of Divinity student
Candler School of Theology will welcome 160 incoming students from 12 countries and 22 states at this year’s new student orientation, August 19-27. The theme “Under Construction: Tearing Down and Building Up,” is based on Jeremiah 1:4-10 and reflects both the physical transition the Candler campus is undergoing and the process of spiritual discernment and growth each student will undergo as they begin and continue their theological education.
Orientation Coordinator Tiffany Cooper, a 2013 MDiv graduate, knows firsthand the transformation that can take place at Candler. “It’s our hope that as incoming students embark upon this new journey that they will be willing to participate in the process of construction occurring within them,” she says.
The incoming class represents 27 Christian denominations, and one-third of the incoming U.S. students represent non-white ethnicity. One-half of the class is female and the class ranges in age from 21 to 68.
Ellen Echols Purdum, assistant dean of student life and spiritual formation, says the orientation team used the building project in the middle of the campus as inspiration. “We decided that with all the challenges of construction, we would just embrace our pit! And then the metaphors started rolling. Our staff brainstormed a lot of Scripture texts to bring in the theological ‘undergirding.’”
Purdum says the connection between this year’s theme and an introduction to life at Candler was clear. “Orientation is a time of transition—from one kind of education to another, from one home to another, from one vocation to another,” she says. “Just as a construction site is born out of the need to clear away and make space for something new to come, so is engaging in theological education—messy, fascinating, and life-changing.”
Pre-orientation on Monday and Tuesday gives students an opportunity to settle into the campus and take care of administrative tasks such as renting lockers, completing paperwork, and figuring out commuting options. International students begin official orientation August 20, and orientation for all new students begins Wednesday, August 21. MDiv students will take Tuesday, August 27 to learn more about Contextual Education and attend site visits. The schedule:
August 21, 2013: 8am-5pm
• All United Methodist students: Mandatory meeting and dinner from 4:30pm-7:00pm
• All MTS Students: Dinner with Dr. Steve Kraftchick from 5:00pm-8:00pm
August 22, 2013: 8am-5pm
August 23, 2013: 8am-1pm
• Candler Orientation Celebration Lunch from 12:00pm-1:00pm: Spouses, partners, and families are welcome! Please be sure to register for the Candler Orientation Celebration Lunch.
August 27, 2013: 8am-5pm
• All MDiv students: Mandatory visits to Contextual Education site.
Please be sure to read the reminders on appropriate dress and specifics for Campbell Stone Apartments and Gwinett Medical Center on the orientation website
For more information about Candler’s New Student Orientation, including a detailed schedule and contact information for the orientation team, visit the orientation website
, or call the Office of Student Programming at 404.727.4430.