Churches, congregations and religious organizations face new challenges in their local communities as they become linked to other parts of the world through immigration, refugee resettlement, and broader processes of internationalization. Seminaries need to help students understand these challenges and develop new models of leadership that can allow churches to thrive and become community resources. In 2011, Candler School of Theology received a $325,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to create a model curriculum for internationalization for accredited North American seminaries.
With the grant, Candler is developing new faculty and student exchanges, organizing seminars, and proposing new forms of pedagogy in order to build and sustain reciprocal relationships with partner schools abroad and transform its curriculum at home. The work done during this period will be integrated into Candler’s long-term pedagogical mission and will engage local immigrant and refugee communities as well as new models of interreligious dialogue.
The initiative will better equip Candler students to become leaders who meet the challenges of religious communities that, whether at home or abroad, increasingly reflect a diverse world and are part of a local-global dynamic.
A central feature of the Luce program is a combination of innovative faculty and student exchanges. Over three years, 12 faculty and 12 students will serve as Luce Exchange Fellows and Luce Exchange Scholars, respectively, with half of the fellows and scholars traveling from Candler and the other half traveling from our partner institutions.
Luce Exchange partners:
Africa – St. Paul’s University in Limuru, Kenya
Asia – Methodist Theological University in Seoul, South Korea
South America –Methodist University of Sao Paulo in Sao Paulo, Brazil
Candler chose to focus these new exchanges on Africa, Asia, and South America because of their importance for the growth of global Christianity and because of their significant immigrant and refugee populations in the Atlanta area. These institutions represent regions and cultures that are increasingly critical for Candler’s graduates to understand and engage.
Students and faculty from Candler participating in the exchange will spend time in classrooms, teaching and learning, but will also have the opportunity to experience the life, liturgy, theology, social justice, chaplaincy, churches and community practices of the places they visit. Visiting faculty and students will participate in the full academic and spiritual life of Candler and be resources for the Candler community as it explores issues of internationalization and globalization from perspectives beyond North America.
Candler will organize three, semester-long Luce Seminars, which will anchor the exchanges within the institutional and curricular structure of Candler and provide a forum for discussion and dissemination among exchange participants, Candler faculty, and invited guests. The seminars will focus on questions of pedagogy, the inclusion of more international and global resources through theological curricula, and strategies for engaging local communities.
Each seminar will explore a specific theme in relation to the Luce grant: The 2013 Luce Seminar focuses on the integration of international and global resources into traditional core classes of the curriculum (Biblical studies, history, theology, ethics, and practical theology). The 2014 Luce Seminar will take up the issue of local immigrant and refugee communities with special attention to Candler’s Contextual Education programs. The 2015 Luce Seminar addresses questions of non-Christian religions and interfaith discussion within in theological education, giving special emphasis to the international perspectives of our partner schools.
Candler will draw on the experiences and learnings of the Luce Exchanges and the Luce Seminars to integrate international perspectives throughout the curriculum and evaluate how international collaboration and reciprocal relationships can further theological education in North America and abroad. The expertise of international partners who have extensive experience with pluralism and migration will deepen and enrich North American practices and pedagogies. New technology will allow students and faculty from partner institutions to participate in joint courses and contribute expertise from afar without traveling thousands of miles. New perspectives and practices will allow Candler and other seminaries to prepare students to become leaders in a world in which churches and religious communities that are increasingly linked internationally and experience the global context at their doorsteps.