Heritage Month, Ball to Celebrate ‘Blackness Unfiltered’

January 4, 2023

Candler’s Black Student Caucus (BSC) will celebrate Heritage Month with a variety of events throughout February 2023, including the annual Heritage Ball in partnership with the school’s Advancement and Alumni Engagement office.

This year’s Heritage Month theme is “Blackness Unfiltered,” which, says second-year MDiv student and BSC Parliamentarian Brandon Brown, “allows us to truly embrace our culture, heritage, and true voice as Black seminarians… The popular refrain ‘showing up as your authentic self’ is embodied in the Black bodies, intellect, and identities that are unfiltered—expansive, truthful, and unapologetic.

“‘Blackness Unfiltered’ is equal parts invitation and imperative to Black Candler students, faculty, alumni, and staff—to be empowered in and by the truths of who we are, the tragedy of where we’ve come from, and the triumph of where we are going.”

BSC president and second-year MDiv student D’Marquis Allen notes that in the past, a single week of events led up to the Heritage Ball. “Given that this is the first full year without COVID protocols since 2020, we decided to break precedent and expand our activities to be throughout the entire month of February. We’re looking forward to welcoming alumni, faculty, staff, and student peers to campus to engage in thoughtful dialogue about relevant topics in the Black church and the Black community.”

Heritage Month will culminate with the 13th annual Heritage Ball on February 24. Proceeds from the ball support the Erskine-Smith-Moseley Scholarship Endowment at Candler, which honors three of the school’s first Black faculty and provides students from Candler’s Black Church Studies program with scholarships and stipends to support their theological education.

Noel Erskine

This year’s Heritage Ball will also honor one of the scholarship’s namesakes, Professor of Theology and Ethics Noel L. Erskine, who will retire at the end of the academic year after 46 years on Candler’s faculty. The ball also includes annual awards given to a Candler staff person, faculty member, and alumnus.

A listing of Heritage Month events is below. Events are open to the public unless otherwise noted.

Tuesday, Feb. 2
Service of Word and Table
11:05 a.m.
Cannon Chapel or online
Danielle L. Brown
, senior pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in Plainfield, New Jersey, will serve as the distinguished guest preacher for Heritage Month worship.

Tuesday, Feb. 9
Movie screening and panel: Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.
6:00 p.m.
Room 252, Candler’s Rita Anne Rollins Building
Free; registration required. Register here.

Following the film screening, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Religion and Culture Marla F. Frederick, Visiting Professor of Preaching Nick Peterson, and Quincy Rineheart 11T of Morehouse College will unpack and discuss its various themes, nuanced impact, and broader implications. Light refreshments will be served. Co-sponsored by Black Student Caucus and the Candler Baptist Community.

Saturday, Feb. 18
APEX Museum group tour
11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Adults: $12, students/seniors/military: $8, children under 4: free; registration required. Register here.

In honor of Heritage Month, Candler’s Black Student Caucus invites all alumni and students for a tour of the APEX Museum, located at 135 Auburn Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30303.

Friday, Feb. 24
Black Student and Alumni Mixer
13th Annual Heritage Ball: “Blackness Unfiltered: Standing in the Doorway for Our People to Thrive”
8:00–11:00 p.m.
Emory Conference Center Hotel
$50/person, $400/table of 8 people; registration required. Register here.
The week culminates with a Black student and alumni mixer, followed by the 13th annual Heritage Ball, celebrating Black students, staff, faculty, and alumni in academic excellence, ministerial leadership, and social justice advocacy. Professor of Theology and Ethics Noel L. Erskine will be honored as he prepares to retire from Candler after 46 years on the faculty.
Dress code: formal attire.