Dean Jan Love has announced the appointment of The Rev. Dr. Brett Opalinski 98T as Candler’s incoming assistant dean of Methodist studies and assistant professor in the practice of spiritual formation and church leadership, effective July 1, 2022. The position was made available by the upcoming retirement of The Rev. Dr. Anne Burkholder, who has led Methodist studies since 2008.
An elder in full connection in the Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, Opalinski is currently senior pastor of Christ Church United Methodist in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where he has served since 2013. He is a lifelong Methodist who grew up in Lakeland, Florida, and earned a bachelor’s degree in administration from Samford University, a master of divinity from Candler, and a PhD in New Testament and early Christianity from Iliff School of Theology/University of Denver. Before being appointed to Christ Church, he served at Memorial United Methodist in Fernandina Beach, Rader Memorial in Miami and First United Methodist in Sebring, Florida.
Opalinski has held a variety of leadership roles in the Florida Annual Conference, including director of the Florida campus of Licensing School (a partnership with Candler), a member of the conference’s Anti-Racism Task Force, an elected delegate to the 2020 General Conference of the UMC, and chair of the conference’s Board of Ordained Ministry. He has also taught four terms in Candler’s Course of Study program.
Describing himself as “a student of the Christian monastic tradition,” Opalinski is the founder of Manaigh Nua (“the new monks” in Irish), an online community of people drawn to an intentional Christian life of prayer, study and justice within the context of their daily lives. He is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the Society of Biblical Literature and the North American Patristics Society.
We look forward to welcoming him this summer.