BradI still can’t believe that I am going to walk across the stage of Glenn Memorial and graduate from Candler School of Theology in a few days. I’ve been reflecting these past few weeks on my time at Candler, and gosh, these past three years have gone by so quick. It feels like yesterday that I was sitting in Cannon Chapel with my future friends and preparing for a journey that has taken me and others to so many different places. This journey over the past three years has changed my life. And this change is completely because of Candler. I was thinking this week about what makes Candler such a special place, and really, it’s special because every student learns, grows, transforms, and transitions out into where God takes them next.

The journey started years ago when I attended a church camp in Dickson, Tennessee, and I was called by God to follow a path that I did not expect. After getting more involved in church and pursuing theological education, the path became clearer. I knew God was calling and preparing me to be a minister in the local church. Having come from a diverse church background, I knew Candler was where God was calling me next, and it was the best decision that I could have ever made. In fact, when I arrived at Candler my path became clearer, and doors were opened for my journey to continue in The United Methodist Church on the elder track of ordination. And I am really excited for my new appointment as Assistant Pastor at Midway United Methodist Church in Alpharetta, Georgia right after graduation.

In reflection, Candler was integral in my growth and development to who I am as a person today. Whether it was my Contextual Education experience working with refugees at Lutheran Services of Georgia, serving as a local pastor in the Teaching Parish program at Nine Mile and Gates Chapel United Methodist Churches, or each and every class that stretched my understanding of God and the world, Candler changed me to my very core. I am grateful for the professors that met with me, the lifelong friends that I have made, and the memories that I will always have.

brad-biggerstaff-story3.jpgNow, as I transition out of Candler and move onto the next step in my journey, I cannot help but think of my first visit to campus. When my tour guide showed us around, I saw the family that is Candler, and I was so impressed by every person that I met. But I was especially impressed when we stopped in Cannon Chapel. The tour guide told us about the architectural influence of the sacred space where chapel services occur. They told us that the space was inspired by train stations, because Candler is a place of transition. It is a place you come to learn, grow, and transform yourself to be sent out into the world to continue the grand journey that God is leading each and every person on. And really, this statement never left me. Throughout the past three years, I have grown, learned, and been transformed by an amazing place, and when I cross that stage, I will leave Candler knowing that I am prepared and ready for what is next.

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?...”
Isaiah 43:19