Candler Black Excellence

In 2021, Candler launched a multi-year initiative called "Candler Black Excellence" (CBE) to celebrate the school's Black faculty, alumni and students through videos, podcasts, interviews and articles highlighting their notable contributions to Candler, the academy, the church and the world. The first phase of the initiative honors the gifts, graces and achievements of Candler's Black faculty, evident in their research and publications, commitment to teaching and mentoring, community engagement, political involvement, and church and denominational leadership. We will add content to this page as it is produced.

Candler alumnus and AME minister Elliott Robinson 16T is the project's director. For more details about CBE, read the launch article.

Explore Candler Black Excellence


Is the Black church still an instrument of freedom?" is the question director of Black Church Studies Nichole R. Phillips takes up in this video from the Candler Black Excellence initiative. From antebellum times through the civil rights movement, the Black church has served as both a symbol and an instrument of freedom for oppressed people, yet today it is seen as largely a middle-class institution. How does this move to the middle affect its prophetic voice?  And how might a gift for improvisation play a role in its next chapters?


Launched in 2021, the Candler Black Excellence initiative explores the rich accomplishments and contributions of Black faculty, students, and alumni of Candler School of Theology at Emory University. In this video, Assoc. Prof. of Pastoral Care and Counseling Gregory C. Ellison II interviews Professor Emeritus of Church and Community Luther E. Smith, Jr. and Dean’s Professor of Spirituality, Ethics, and Leadership Walter Earl Fluker about Howard Thurman and the work of discerning one’s call.


Jehu Hanciles discusses immigration, migration and the growth and development of Christianity—key concepts from his award-winning 2021 book, Migration and the Making of Christianity (Eerdmans). Hanciles is D.W. and Ruth Brooks Professor of World Christianity and director of Candler's World Christianity program.


In "Candler Black Excellence: Teresa Fry Brown on Mentorship" Bandy Professor of Preaching Teresa L. Fry Brown—the first Black woman to attain the rank of full professor at Candler—on her mentorship of Candler students across nearly three decades.


Introducing Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible Joel B. Kemp. Kemp joined the Candler faculty in the fall of 2020. In this video, "Candler Black Excellence: Introducing Joel B. Kemp," he shares his vocational journey from law school and ministry to the academy.


In "Candler Black Excellence: Emmanuel Lartey on Pastoral and Spiritual Care" Charles Howard Candler Professor of Pastoral Theology and Spiritual Care Emmanuel Y. Lartey offers his take on pastoral and spiritual care during the pandemic—including thoughts on what elements might be easier than they were pre-COVID.


Professor of Theology and Ethics Noel L. Erskine discusses teaching as a way for him to spur students into imagining a new Candler, new Emory, new church, and new world in "Candler Black Excellence: Noel Erskine on Teaching as a Medium of Hope."


In "Candler Black Excellence: Dr. James Abbington on Music and the Black Church: Tradition vs. Traditionalism," Associate Professor of Church Music and Worship James Abbington discusses the differences between traditional and traditionalism and how both affect music in the Black church. Secular music, broader Black culture, European hymns, and even a genre created to disparage Black people are all part of the story—as are Dr. Abbington's masterful musical illustrations.


In "Candler Black Excellence: Introducing Dr. Musa W. Dube: The Making of a New Testament Scholar," Professor of New Testament Musa W. Dube —who joined the Candler faculty in fall 2021—shares how she became drawn to theological studies. From her years growing up in Botswana and the influence of her family to her academic approach of decolonizing the Bible, get a glimpse into the background and teaching philosophy of one of the world's foremost contemporary New Testament scholars.


In “Candler Black Excellence: Robert M. Franklin, Jr.: Moral Leadership in a Polarized Society,” Robert M. Franklin, Jr., James T. and Berta R. Laney Professor in Moral Leadership, addresses moral leadership from its broadest definition to specific examples and practices, and explains why he thinks the current moment is a time of discovery and possibility.

Candler Black Excellence: Robert M. Franklin, Jr.: Moral Leadership in a Polarized Society from Candler School of Theology on Vimeo.



These episodes of the "Candler in Conversation" podcast from The Candler Foundry were produced as part of the Candler Black Excellence initiative.

williams-khalia-rec.jpgKhalia J. Williams, associate dean of worship and music and associate professor in the practice of worship and co-director of Candler's Baptist Studies Program, discusses her research on the impact of breath and breath-work in both pedagogy and day-to-day life. Her research is sponsored by the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion. Listen to the podcast episode.

 williams-damon-rec.jpgGood friends and dual pastor-professors Kevin Murriel and Damon Williams talk about often unspoken insights into the life of a pastor. Murriel is senior pastor of Cascade United Methodist Church, and assistant professor in the practice of practical theology and director of the Black Methodist Seminarians Program at Candler. Williams is senior pastor of Providence Missionary Baptist Church, and assistant professor in the practice of practical ministry and co-director of the Baptist Studies Program at Candler. Listen to the podcast episode.