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August 5, 2002

Candler conference to celebrate 'spiritual guides'

By Eric Rangus

The Candler School of Theology will host a week of workshops, lectures, worship and fellowship focusing on spiritual guides, Sept. 17–20.

“Companions on the Journey: Spiritual Guides Past, Present and Future” will feature several presentations by leading theologians—including Candler faculty and alumni—a spotlight on Taizé worship, and many other activities, some of which coincide with the University’s Alumni Weekend, which begins Sept. 19.

Lectures on the lives and beliefs of several “spiritual guides” form the core of the conference. Mozella Mitchell, assistant professor of religions at the University of South Florida, will give the Howard Thurman Lecture on Sept. 18 at 11 a.m. Thurman, who died in 1981, was a theologian and philosopher who in 1994 founded San Francisco’s Fellowship Church. The church is considered by many to be the first authentically ecumenical, interfaith, multicultural church in the nation.

Later in the evening, at 7 p.m., Victor Kramer, executive director of Emory’s Aquinas Center of Theology, will deliver the Aquinas Lecture, titled “Thomas Merton: Compassion, Kairos and Social Action.” It will focus on the 1960s-era monk’s beliefs and writings on civil rights.

On Sept. 19, Oxford Dean Dana Greene will speak on “Evelyn Underhill: A Life and Its Meaning.” Underhill, a 20th century British religious writer, was a pioneer in the search for ecumenism, a contemplative life and peace.

“There are people at Emory, both in Candler and in other schools, who see the
contemplative tradition as a resource for living in the 21st century,” Greene said. “I am happy to present my work on Evelyn Underhill, a spiritual guide and proponent of that

Following her address, Greene will take part in a panel discussion—along with Mitchell, Kramer and others—that will discuss the conference’s theme.

All these events take place in Cannon Chapel.

Other featured activities include community worship, a variety of workshops ranging from academic discussion to introduction of unique forms of worship like Taizé and Zen, as well as another installment of the Whiteside Lecture Series, which will feature Barbara Brown Taylor (’73C), chair of religion and philosophy at Piedmont College. A Baylor University publication called her one of the most effective preachers in the world.

In conjunction with the conference, the Durham Reading Room in Pitts Theology Library is hosting a pair of exhibitions. “The Sound of Silence: Thomas Merton as Spiritual Guide” will display items selected from among the more than 200 that make up Pitts’ Merton collection. They include first editions of most of his works, as well as several significant studies and criticisms.

“Spiritual Leaders of the Bible” will feature 25 digitized images of leaders of Israel and the early church taken from 16th-century woodcuts that also are part of the Pitts collection.
Both exhibitions will be on display Sept. 16–22.

For a full list of activities, visit the “Companions on the Journey” website at http:// Most events are free and open to the public, and continuing education credits are applicable.

For more information, contact the Office of Continuing Ministries Education at