Before the official start of spring semester, Candler's January term ("J-term") brought students back to campus for a week of intensive study and discussion in a variety of classes. Two courses were taught by distinguished visiting professors, the Right Rev. Robert C. Wright, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, and Hebrew Bible scholar the Rev. Dr. Kimberly D. Russaw.

Wright (pictured above) taught "The Cross of Jesus: Holding Steady in Leadership," a class attended not only by Candler students, but by 21 people from the community, who took the course as auditors for their own personal and professional development. This included Georgia State Representative Mary Margaret Oliver of Decatur. "I so enjoyed Bishop Wright's class," she says. "It was a very helpful pick-me-up before the 2017 Legislative Session. I understand the class was primarily for clergy, but the overlap with my political scene was strong."

Russaw Russaw (pictured right) taught "Womanist Ways of Reading Women of Genesis" in her capacity as Candler's 2017 Sankofa Scholar. The Sankofa Scholar program at Candler was established in January 2014, the brainchild of Bandy Professor of Preaching and then-Director of Black Church Studies Teresa L. Fry Brown.

The series' name originates from a West African language and underscores the wisdom of learning from distinguished scholars and practitioners of the Black church and community. "Sankofa is an Akan word meaning we must go back to our roots in order to move forward, to gather the best of what our past has to teach us, so that we can achieve our full potential as we move forward," Fry Brown explains.

Russaw is Candler's fourth distinguished visiting professor to serve as a Sankofa Scholar, following Juan Floyd Thomas, associate professor of African American religious history at Vanderbilt Divinity School; Obery M. Hendricks Jr., professor emeritus of biblical interpretation at New York Theological Seminary; and Katie Geneva Cannon, the first African American woman ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and Annie Scales Rogers Professor of Christian Ethics at Union Presbyterian Seminary.