Love to take over as dean of Candler seminary


Special to the Advocate

Emory University’s Candler School of Theology has named its first woman dean.

Jan Love, chief executive of the Women’s Division of The United Methodist Church’s General Board of Global Ministries, will begin her tenure Jan. 1. Candler is one of 13 United Methodist seminaries.

“As one of the most widely recognized United Methodist leaders on the ecumenical, interfaith and global stage, Jan Love is the right person at the right time to lead Candler,” says Emory President James Wagner. “The school is poised to be a world leader in theological education and religious studies, a molder of the church’s social conscience and an agent of reconciliation and change as it serves the United Methodist Church in particular as well as the broader church in the world.”

Candler Bishop-in-Residence Jack Meadors, a former Mississippi Conference bishop, called Love’s appointment “providential and exciting. Jan is committed to Christ and the church. Her faith is based in scripture and rooted in Wesleyan theology. She is a leader in the global multi-religious movement. She will model faithful discipleship and will work collegially with the Candler community to educate faithful and creative leaders for the ministries of the church. She will work with the president and council of deans to make Emory the place where courageous inquiry leads.”

Love, 53, has led the Women’s Division of the UMC since August 2004. The division is the administrative arm of the one million-member United Methodist Women organization, which has an independently elected board of directors, a staff of about 100, annual expenditures of approximately $30 million and programs and property in more than 100 locations across the United States and in about 100 countries around the world. In 2000, Love was honored by the United Methodist Council of Bishops for leadership in ecumenical arenas.

“I’m honored that a globally recognized theology school has invited me to be its leader,” says Love. “Candler is situated within a distinguished research university, and what I find most exciting is the combination of a school of theology deeply committed to the formation of Christian leaders within a university that acknowledges the significance of religion in public life. That is an ideal environment for shaping Christian leaders in the 21st century.”

A native of Alabama and daughter of a United Methodist pastor, Love’s work on global issues began as a 17-year-old high school student in the 1970s when she was nominated to serve on the denomination’s Board of Missions. In 1975, she attended the World Council of Churches (WCC) meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, where she was first elected to the organization’s central committee, a position she served until 1998.

In addition to her denominational leadership, Love also is an accomplished academic. She was a faculty member at the University of South Carolina from 1982-2001, where she served in various capacities including associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies (2001-2004), associate professor in the Department of Government and International Studies (1991-2001), and graduate director of international studies (1993-98).

Love holds an undergraduate degree from Eckerd College, and master’s and Ph.D. in political science/international relations from Ohio State University.