Candler Welcomes New Faculty

In the fall of 2013, Candler welcomed two new faces to the faculty. Thomas W. Elliott, Jr. 87T, 97G is the director of Contextual Education II, assistant professor in the practice of practical theology, and director of the Teaching Parish program and ministry internships. An elder in the North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church, he comes to Candler with 26 years of pastoral experience in local parishes. His work focuses on Wesleyan studies, polity, evangelism and mission, and contextual education. Nichole Renée Phillips joins the school as assistant professor of religion and human difference. An ordained itinerant elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), Phillips focuses on the intersection of religion, psychology, and culture; African American history and cultural studies; practical theology; and cultural anthropology and ethnographic research. She has served on ministerial staffs of churches in New England and in the South.

A Bevy of Laurels for Reynolds, Lösel

Steffen LoselAquinas Professor of Historical Theology Philip L. Reynolds and Associate Professor in the Practice of Systematic Theology Steffen R. Lösel have received abundant honors this year. First the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) and The Henry Luce Foundation named them as two of the six Henry Luce III Fellows in Theology for 2013-2014. As Luce Fellows, they will conduct research for a year and then present their findings at a conference and for publication in religious journals. Lösel’s project explores the faith of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart through a musical and textual analysis of anthropological, Christological, ethical, and eschatological themes in his major operatic works. Reynolds will explore Christian mystical theology in the western tradition. Additional honors for both were icing on the cake: Noted as “equal parts pastor, scholar, and teacher,” Lösel received the 2013 “On Eagle’s Wings” Excellence in Teaching Award, given by Candler’s senior class in recognition of faithful and dedicated service [photo]. Reynolds was named a senior fellow at Emory’s Bill and Carol Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry.

Acing the Third Degree

Carol NewsomVirginia Theological Seminary (VTS) has awarded Charles Howard Candler Professor of Old Testament Carol A. Newsom a Doctor in Divinity, honoris causa, her third honorary doctorate. “Scholar, mentor, lecturer, teacher, visionary, and interpreter of texts are a few of the terms that come to mind when one thinks of you,” begins the citation from VTS. “Where others have heard discord and contradictions in the text, you have discerned dialogue—a multiplicity of voices that opens up a world of possibilities for meaning. Texts talk to one another and so do disciplines: the way you use sociology, psychology, and literary criticism has given us a new framework for interpreting Scripture. You have inspired a new generation of biblical scholars.”

Living Out Love

Becca StevensNearly a hundred attended the Women, Theology, and Ministry program’s Annual Women’s Forum featuring author and women’s advocate The Reverend Becca Stevens[photo] on “Living Out Love: Advocacy for Women as a Theological Practice.” Recently named by the White House as one of 15 “Champions of Change,” Stevens is founder of Magdalene and Thistle Farms, a community and social enterprise near Nashville, Tenn., that supports women recovering from prostitution, tracking, addiction, and life on the streets. Magdalene, the residential model, serves women for two years at no cost to residents. Thistle Farms employs more than 40 residents and graduates who manufacture, market, and sell all-natural bath and beauty products in 200 retail stores across the globe. The forum included presentations by women of the Magdalene community and a discussion session on action strategies for women’s advocacy in Atlanta.

YTI: 20 Years of Exploring Questions that Shape Us

YTIIn the two decades since its launch in 1993, more than 1,000 high schoolers have attended Candler’s groundbreaking Youth Theological Initiative (YTI) Summer Academy, exploring questions about faith, values, and culture that shape their young minds. This past July, more than 100 YTI mentors, staff, and participants from years past gathered at Candler to celebrate the program’s 20th anniversary with a slate of activities, including a panel discussion on 21st century youth ministry, worship, workshops, and a reunion banquet keynoted by YTI co-founders Craig Dykstra and Chuck Foster.

Originally designed as a forum where youth could address theological questions and issues that weren’t discussed in their local faith communities, Candler’s YTI was the first of its kind. Now more than 50 summer youth ministry programs modeled after it are scattered around the country.

“There is no doubt that YTI shapes leaders for tomorrow,” says Elizabeth Corrie, the program’s director and assistant professor of youth education and peacebuilding at Candler. “Many participants will become ordained clergy, and some will enter other fields. But no matter what their profession, they will have a sense that God has called them to work for the common good, drawing on their religious tradition as a formative resource.”

Bishops Lead Episcopal Studies

Bishop WrightCandler has tapped two bishops from the Episcopal Church to lead its Episcopal Studies program. The Rt. Reverend Keith B. Whitmore, assistant bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, serves as director of the program, and the Rt. Reverend Robert C. Wright[photo], bishop of the diocese, chairs the school’s Episcopal Studies Advisory Board.

“I am thrilled that this team of leaders will build on an already strong foundation in Episcopal Studies at Candler to move us in new and creative directions for the future,” says Dean Love.

Candler features the oldest university-based Episcopal Studies program in the nation. More than 200 students have graduated since the program began in 1974, and they currently serve in churches, chaplaincies, and social service agencies from California to Maine.

Cannon Chapel Freshens Up

Cannon ChapelAfter more than three decades of almost daily use, the iconic William R. Cannon Chapel underwent its first building-wide renovation this summer. Built in 1981, the chapel—which hosts regular classes and five worship services a week for Candler students, plus gatherings for other religious groups at Emory—was due for a makeover. Candler and Emory’s Office of Religious Life teamed up in the effort to breathe new life into the space.

Though not visually dramatic, the improvements address both the need for more current technology and the need to make the space hospitable for all who worship there. At the top of the list was installing state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment to support enhanced presentations and live-streaming worship services. Also important were attending to long-standing maintenance issues and adding ablution stations for the ritual washing required by some faiths. Besides these larger changes, other nips and tucks included replacing carpeting and flooring, resurfacing the ceiling, improving lighting, installing new furnishings, repainting pews, refinishing the original lectern and altar, ensuring compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and rearranging meeting and teaching spaces, including the creation of a room dedicated to spiritual formation.

A Semester with Barbara Brown Taylor

Barbara Brown TaylorBest-selling author, Emory alumna, and Episcopal priest Barbara Brown Taylor 73C  joined Candler School of Theology for the fall semester as the Alonzo L. McDonald Family Chair on the Life and Teachings of Jesus and Their Impact on Culture. During her tenure as the McDonald Chair, Taylor gave three major public addresses: “At Home with Uncertainty,” “Learning to Walk in the Dark,” and “The Virtuous Preacher.” Audio and video recordings of all three presentations are available in the “Jesus & Culture” and “Special Events” albums on Emory’s iTunes U site,

In addition to these public lectures, Taylor addressed smaller groups, engaged with student organizations, and taught a course that focused on examining the image of Jesus through the eyes of the world’s major faiths outside of Christianity.

Lay Theology Institute Presents Pacini, Johnson

David PaciniThe Bill Mallard Lay Theology Institute at Candler will host two Disciple Scholars events this semester. On February 16, Professor of Historical Theology David Pacini will present “Four Bibles, Four Christs” at Mulberry Street United Methodist Church in Macon. On March 29, Luke Timothy Johnson, R.W. Woodruff Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins, will present “The Apostle Paul: Oppressor or Liberator?” at Candler School of Theology. To register, visit the events calendar and navigate to the date of the event.

The Professors are IN

Sharpen your tools for ministry by joining us for a free “Office Hours” webinar this spring semester. The line-up includes Don E. Saliers on February 13, “The Psalms of Lament”; Gregory C. Ellison II on March 18, “Cut Dead But Still Alive”; and Carol A. Newsom and Jennifer Ayres on April 24: “Food and Faith: Eating as a Spiritual Practice.” The one-hour webinars use the GoToWebinar platform, enabling you to view a live presentation, ask questions, and engage in conversation with your favorite faculty. Register on the “Alumni & Friends” section of Candler’s website, Can’t make it to the live session? You can access any of the past “Office Hours” webinars from our website.