Religious Education Ministries

Religious Education Ministries

Candler’s Religious Education Ministries program prepares students for educational leadership in congregations, schools and communities, in the context of our diverse and changing world. Students who complete courses in religious education will be able to:

  • Lead congregations in building and revitalizing educational ministries for transmitting, interpreting and renewing faith traditions and practices
  • Teach in congregations and schools to empower persons for transformative ministries
  • Nurture the development of faith and vocation in children, youth and adults
  • Contribute theological and just perspectives to community dialogues on education for public life

For more information on the program, please contact Dr. Jennifer Ayres, Assistant Professor of Religious Education and Director of the Religious Education Program, or Brenda Bennefield 10T, Program Associate, or call 404.727.4180.

Certificate in Religious Education Ministries

Candler students enrolled in the Master of Divinity (MDiv), Master of Religious Leadership (MRL) or Master of Theological Studies (MTS) degree programs may earn a certificate in Religious Education Ministries through a combination of courses, contextual education experiences, retreats and conferences. The certificate in Religious Education equips persons for teaching and learning in faith communities, schools and the wider society. It is designed for Candler MDiv, MRL and MTS students who see some aspect of religious education as central to their vocational identity. Students in the certificate program may focus their studies in one of three tracks: Christian Congregational Education; Ministries with Youth; or Religion and the Academy. For a list of courses, visit the link for your degree program: Master of Divinity (MDiv), Master of Religious Leadership (MRL) or Master of Theological Studies (MTS).

Youth Theological Initiative

The Youth Theological Initiative supports the work of denominations, regional judicatories and congregations through its Youth Ministry Education programs, working to enhance the practices of youth ministry in local congregations. The Religious Education Ministries program partners with the Youth Theological Initiative to offer the certificate in ministries with youth for Master of Divinity (MDiv), Master of Religious Leadership (MRL) and Master of Theological Studies (MTS) students. In addition, many students from Candler and Emory's Graduate Division of Religion work with YTI on research exploring the theological perspectives and practices of youth and young adults. Others work with YTI's annual Summer Academy, an intensive, residential program of justice-seeking theological education for high school students.

Jennifer Ayres, Director of the Religious Education Program; Assistant Professor of Religious Education

Elizabeth Corrie, Assistant Professor in the Practice of Youth Education and Peacebuilding; Director of the Youth Theological Initiative

Brenda Bennefield, Program Associate for the Program in Religious Education

Other faculty who teach in religious education

John Snarey, Professor of Human Development and Ethics

For the full list of events at Candler, view the calendar.

April 8, 2015: Festival

April 24, 2015: Certificate Students Graduation Luncheon

Center for Ecumenical and Multicultural Education

The Center for Ecumenical and Multicultural Education maintains a collection of educational resources for a range of culturally specific and cross cultural settings in churches and schools. Ecumenical and Multicultural Education is an educational philosophy that seeks to instill in all persons a deeper appreciation for the religious and cultural diversity of the world and a creative affirmation of individual and group differences within a common humanity.

When can the CEME help me?

Almost any time! In particular, people tend to use the resources of the CEME when:

  • Planning education events, including Sunday school classes, retreats, bible studies and youth group gatherings
  • Evaluation and choosing resources for ministry sites
  • Preparing a Candler assignment that requires a teaching component, or an assessment of resource materials
  • Giving explicit attention to cultural and gender dynamics in church life, either for a Candler assignment or in a ministry setting

What kinds of resources does the CEME house?

The CEME contains various types of media from curriculum and journals, to books and pamphlets, to DVDs, videos, CDs and cassettes, to maps and posters. These media represent (are written for, by or about) numerous cultures including African American, European American, Hispanic, Japanese, Korean, Latino/a, and Native American and numerous denominational affiliations.

You are invited to come in, browse through the shelves and identify resources that would be helpful to you. You may borrow materials, or request a photocopy. If we do not have the materials or information you are seeking, we will do our best to help you locate them in order to obtain them from the publisher.

If you would like to borrow a resource or browse our shelves, please email Brenda Bennefield or 404.727.4180.

For all admissions-related questions, or to receive admissions materials, please visit Admissions.

If you are a student or teacher and seek youth theological education information, please contact the Youth Theological Initiative.

If you have additional questions regarding Religious Education Ministries, send them to Brenda Bennefield.

Is a certificate the same as a degree?

No. the Certificate in Educational Ministries is designed as an opportunity for focused study within the Master of Divinity (MDiv) or Master of Theological Studies (MTS) degree program. Requirements for the certificate are to be met while completing one’s degree.


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Is the Certificate in Religious Educational Ministries at Candler the same as the United Methodist Church Certificate in Christian Education?

No, but the course requirements are similar for UMC certification in Christian Education or Youth Ministry and Candler’s Certificate in Christian Congregational Education or Ministries with Youth.

Candler’s Certificate in Religious Educational Ministry is awarded by Candler and certifies that a Candler MDiv or MTS degree student has done concentrated work in Educational Ministry.

UMC Certification in Christian Education is granted by the UMC. Course requirements for UMC certification in Christian Education may be met through completion of selected Candler courses. UMC students who complete requirements for a Candler certificate in Religious Education Ministry will find that they have in fact met most or all course requirements for the UMC certificate as well.


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I heard about a great conference. Can I attend this conference to meet the conference requirement for the certificate program?

Most likely, the answer is yes. Please contact Jennifer Ayres, the program director, for approval and more information.


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What kinds of conferences can I attend for certificate credit?

Please check the Religious Education at Candler blog for regular postings about conferences that students might attend for certificate credit.


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When/where/what is the topic for the retreat?

The annual retreat is usually held early in the spring semester of each year, and up-to-date information can be found on the Religious Education at Candler blog.


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