Candler School of Theology has just wrapped up New Student Orientation week for our 174 incoming Master of Divinity (MDiv), Master of Theolgical Studies (MTS), Master of Theology (ThM), and Doctor of Theology (ThD) students. We are completely moved into our new home at 1531 Dickey Drive. The Theology and Ethics building is a five-story, LEED-certified green building with fantastic natural light, spacious offices and classrooms, and all of the latest technology. The Theology building is over twice the size of the old Bishops Hall, and yet uses less electrical power! Woohoo!!!

Here are some highlights of the week:

Students checked in for pre-orientation, taking care of IDs and parking passes, configuring laptops, and tidying up financial aid matters. Some thoughts and themes heard as people anticipate starting seminary include: excited, anxious and excited, wondering how classes are going to be after being out of school for ten years, nervous, happy to be in Atlanta, looking forward to classes starting, and not feeling ready for the summer to be over.

ThM and MTS students spent Tuesday around campus, meeting with Dr. Steve Kraftchick and their advisors, touring the Candler and Emory campuses and libraries, and finished up with night swimming and dinner at Drs. Medi Volpe and Lewis Ayres‘ house. No doubt St. Augustine was on the menu.

MDiv students were on campus for orientation. Chapel service was led by Rev. Dr. Joel LeMon, Assistant Professor of Old Testament. The Scripture text was from Psalm 119–a 176-verse acrostic poem and the longest chapter in the Bible–and Dr. Lemon had the entire chapel chanting the Hebrew alphabet from Aleph to Tav while exploring the He verses (33-40) which emphasize God’s movement in our lives. (A side note: I sat in the west balcony of Cannon Chapel, where I have sat many times before, but for the first time noticed the similarities between PaulRudolph‘s square design (see right, view from the west balcony) and the design of the Frank Lloyd Wright‘s Unity Temple (below, view from east balcony) in Oak Park, IL. Both have wonderful natural light filling the worship spaces from above, seating in-the-round, long vertical elements, and a great square pillar of space in the center. Wright’s Temple is more symmetrical, orderly, and rectilinear while Rudolph’s Chapel is flowing, raw, and spiraling–both are great and unique spaces.

MDiv students heard about the new curriculum from Dr. Gail O’Day and other faculty members. Worship was led by Rev. Dr. Teresa Fry Brown. Her sermon was about newness–the theme for Candler these days!!–and new Candler Assistant Professor of Theology and Culture Andrea White lent her musical talents on the violin. Students met their advisors and visited their Contextual Education I sites.

Books are being bought in the bookstore and online, classes are being added and dropped, and, most importantly, new student get-together parties have been planned on Facebook for the Labor Day weekend.

Here we go!