Lilly Funds Candler Innovations

Swimming pools, sleepovers, sports camps: These are the places most teenagers want to spend their summer vacations. It’s rare to meet one who wants to spend the long sunny days of summer at a seminary asking tough questions about theology. But every year, Candler School of Theology attracts a few dozen to the Youth Theological Initiative (YTI) Summer Academy.

“I came to YTI because I wanted to have my questions about God answered, but I think I’ll leave with even more questions to think about,” says Jamaya Powell of Atlanta, who participated in the 2012 academy. “This summer I’ve learned to think critically. I’ve had interesting conversations that have broadened my thinking. And I’ve gotten closer to God.”

The summer academy is supported by a $1 million sustaining grant from Lilly Endowment, which also invested in two other Candler initiatives during Campaign Emory: a required, three-year curriculum in financial responsibility for master of divinity students; and a doctorate in religious practices, known as the Initiative in Religious Practices and Practical Theology, which is a partnership with Emory’s James T. Laney School of Graduate Studies.

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