The enduring generosity of our alumni and friends that has sustained Candler for the past 100 years continues to empower the school as it enters its second century. Today, your gifts alleviate the burden of student debt, support faculty teaching and research, enable the best in instructional technology, cultivate relationships with Christian congregations, and advance international exchange programs. In this milestone year, we reflect on Candler’s inspiring legacy and look to its promising future, made brighter by gifts such as these.

Starting Conversations

Since its inception, Candler has engaged in meaningful discourse on key theological and social developments of the day, always with an eye to God’s work in our community and in the wider world. The school’s upcoming Centennial academic conference affirms that commitment to exploring the relevant conversations of our times.

Prophetic Voices: Confronting Theological Challenges of the Next Century will consider challenges to the church, the world, and the shape of theological education anticipated in the coming generations. Keynoted by Centennial Committee Chair and R.W. Woodruff Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins Luke Timothy Johnson, the conference will feature some of theology’s brightest luminaries discussing visions of the future of theology for the church.

The conference is made possible by a gift from the McDonald Agape Foundation and its chairman, Alonzo L. McDonald, Jr. 48C, a longtime Emory trustee. The McDonald Agape Foundation works with a select number of universities and faculty, aiming to support distinguished scholarship that advances Christ.

Steering Consultations

With theological education in an environment of rapid change—ever-expanding numbers of new degrees, new types of educational institutions, new kinds of ministry, new technologies, and new relationships with ecclesial bodies—it can be challenging to stay focused on why we do what we do. To sharpen that focus, Candler is spearheading a study of the purposes of theological education in a time of significant change, a project underwritten by a $460,000 grant from Lilly Endowment.

Ted A. Smith, associate professor of preaching and ethics, is directing the project, entitled “Theological Education Between the Times: Consultations on the Meanings and Purposes of Theological Education.” Smith’s goal is that the consultations will renew a sense of what theological education is for, in the deepest sense.

During the study, diverse groups of theological educators will convene in five cities in the spring of 2015 to reflect on the nature of theological education. Participants will include more than 50 educators from different Christian traditions and types of institutions. Host institutions for the consultations are Saddleback Church/Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Orange County, California; Esperanza College in Philadelphia; Howard University Divinity School in Washington, D.C.; Mundelein Theological Seminary in Chicago; and Candler.

In convening these conversations, Candler will play a leading role in imagining faithful forms for theological education in the next 100 years.

Serving Congregations

Jack BandyAfter a hiatus of more than fifteen years, Candler’s doctor of ministry degree has been reformatted to meet the 21st century needs of ministers. Twenty-nine new DMin students began the program this fall, excited to study with Candler’s esteemed faculty while continuing to serve in their current ministry settings, a situation made possible by the enhanced online format of the three-year program. Ninety percent of the new DMin takes place online, allowing pastors to remain in local congregations and apply their learning directly to their ministries.

And now a generous gift from B. Jackson Bandy of Dalton, Georgia, promises to make the degree even more accessible. Bandy’s gift—matched dollar-for-dollar by Candler—created the Aggie and Jack Bandy Doctor of Ministry Endowment, which will fund scholarships and stipends for DMin students.

Bandy has a longstanding commitment to the training of outstanding clergy in the area of preaching, and was inspired by the Biblical Interpretation and Proclamation track in the new DMin program. An earlier gift to Candler in 1986 created the school’s Bandy Chair of Preaching, considered by many to be the premier chair in homiletics in the nation.

Strengthening Leadership Formation

Berta & Jim LaneyA grant from the Henry Luce Foundation will underwrite Candler’s newly established James T. and Berta R. Laney Legacy in Moral Leadership, which is anchored by an endowed chair. The program launched this fall with the installation of former Candler professor and president emeritus of Morehouse College Robert M. Franklin, Jr., as the inaugural holder of the Laney Chair.

Moral leadership provides service to the world on behalf of the community, and grows out of a deep understanding and empathy with people in particular contexts and situations. It is a trait that Candler prizes in its students and faculty, and one deeply embodied by former Candler Dean and Emory President Emeritus James T. Laney and his wife, Berta. This program will enable Candler students to cultivate effective leadership skills within their communities, as well as an understanding of the cultural and religious differences that now span the world.

Learn more about the program and its components in the News section of this issue.

Shaping Transformations 

Franklin Nutting Parker, the second dean of Candler, once wrote to Emory president Harvey Cox: “[While] the School of Theology has already rendered a splendid service to the church that founded it…it must be prepared to meet the needs of a constantly changing world. Its most vital need is to connect religion with the actual living of the people.”

Parker’s words, written in 1936, carry even greater weight in 2014. Candler and its mission to educate faithful and creative leaders for the church’s ministry in the world are vital in our ever-changing society. For 100 years, this school has shaped the lives and ministries of countless individuals. As we rejoice in Candler’s landmark celebration, I invite you to reflect on how Candler has shaped your life, and through your generosity, how you can shape Candler’s future.