Don SaliersCandler School of Theology welcomes back Don E. Saliers, William R. Cannon Distinguished Professor of Theology and Liturgy, Emeritus, who returns to the active faculty roster for a multi-year term as Theologian-in-Residence. During the 2013-2014 academic year, Saliers led events in spiritual formation and lifelong learning, and will continue this focused work in his new role.  

Saliers retired from Candler in 2007 after 33 years of teaching systematic theology and liturgy. Now, much of his work as theologian-in-residence will emphasize prayer. He currently teaches one course, “Prayer: Theology and the Christian Life,” and has plans to develop a new course on worship and moral imagination.

Collaborating with Associate Dean of Worship and Music Barbara Day Miller and Assistant Dean of Student Life and Spiritual Formation Ellen Echols Purdum, Saliers will craft opportunities for students to practice daily prayer and meditation using Candler’s new Wesley Teaching Chapel and other resources at Emory, along with retreat centers nearby. Saliers also helped shape the vision for a new space in Cannon Chapel designed specifically for spiritual formation practice, which was completed in 2013.

Both Day Miller and Purdum are Candler alumni and former students of Saliers. Purdum describes him as an improviser who takes students on a creative ride. “Having Don as a professor was a wonderful way to introduce me to theology,” she says. “He taught through the lenses of art – poetry, music, and visual art. He talked about how you approach worship through many different doors. Now, as an ordained minister, I think about that all the time.”

Local pastors have already benefited from Saliers’ work in lifelong learning. In 2014, he developed and facilitated the United Methodist Atlanta/Emory District retreat, “Praying the Psalms in Community: A Double Journey.” As theologian-in-residence, he will continue to lead retreats and workshops for congregational leaders, including liturgical leadership workshops co-taught with Barbara Day Miller.

For the many in the Candler community who know Saliers, it will come as no surprise that one of his great passions will accompany this new journey. “Of course,” he says, “there will be music all along the way.”

The author of ten books, Saliers received Emory University’s Scholar/Teacher Award in 1999. He was inducted into the Emeritus College of Emory University in 2010, and honored as one of that year’s Distinguished Emeriti of Emory University.