"Only through careful discernment and active engagement can the way things are become the way things should be. There are many ways to cultivate such gifts of discernment, but three formative elements can be singled out: a sense of inquiry, dialogue and worship."

- Carl R. Holladay, Charles Howard Candler Professor of New Testament Studies, in his Fall Convocation address
A new semester is underway at Candler School of Theology. Along with the energy of this new school year comes the excitement of celebrating Candler's Centennial, as well as enjoying the completion of a new Candler building that provides a state-of-the-art home for Pitts Theology Library and the Wesley Teaching Chapel.
Adding to the delight of the semester's start are 200 new students. They come from across the country and around the world. And each begins their theological education with much anticipation.

The path to Candler for new students is as varied as the community is diverse. First-year MDiv student Larry Gipson (above photo, left) has felt a call to ministry since he was 13, inspired by the legacy of his grandfather who served as a missionary in India. "I have tried my hardest to prepare myself for ministry by my involvement in church leadership positions, my academic study of religion at Yale, and most recently my 31 months as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine," he says. At Candler, Gipson continues preparing for real world ministry through his Contextual Education placement, working with refugees. "It has given me a venue in which to practice ministry and try to connect what I'm learning in the classroom with the work of the church at large."

Gipson's experiences in the classroom have been equally meaningful. "I've been very impressed with how integrated faith and reason are at Candler. I love the fact that professors openly speak about their faith, and even begin lectures with a class-wide prayer or moment of silence, because, for them, study is a form of worship."  

First-year MRL student Kelly Autry (center) agrees. "It has been amazing to sit in class with a world class faculty. Each of them are experts in their field and are more than willing to help students who have questions during lectures," she says. "I was also glad to discover that professors are extremely accessible and take the time outside of class to ensure we are learning the material." Autry comes to Candler from the University of Georgia, where she earned a BA in sociology and discerned a call to seminary for the opportunity to deepen her faith.
A common sentiment among new students is the high regard for the welcome and hospitality extended by the entire Candler community. First-year MTS student Shaunesse Jacobs (right) says, "As a new student, the care and concern of the faculty has greatly surprised me. Graduating from Emory College, I have become well acquainted with Emory's faculty and staff, but Candler takes Emory's hospitality to new heights."
Jacobs was a religion major at Emory and says she always wanted to find a way to connect her passions for faith and medicine. "After deciding not to attend medical school, I looked into Candler's programs and was pleased to find a dual degree between theological studies and bioethics."
Although only three weeks into their studies at Candler, our new students have started to identify their calls to ministry through inquiry, dialogue and worship -- in and out of the classroom.