Spartanburg Methodist College celebrated Chaplain Candice Y. Sloan’s completion of her Doctor of Ministry degree from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. with a campus-wide surprise reception following Chapel on Wednesday, April 29, 2015.
Chaplain Sloan, affectionately known as “Chappy” at SMC, is an adjunct professor of religion, who holds an undergraduate degree from Southwestern University and a Masters of Divinity from Duke University Divinity School. She began her recent studies in January, 2013 and presented her Doctorate paper and project on The Use of Spiritual Disciplines to Help College Students Grow Closer to God.
As the chaplain at Spartanburg Methodist College for the past thirteen years, Chappy has listened as students report God’s seeming absence from their lives during college. While college campuses can be places to explore both secular and sacred relationships, social and academic demands leave little opportunity for developing a deeper relationship with God. Over the years, SMC has used community service as a means of building peer relationships without focusing on the spiritual disciplines that enable students to hear God’s call to serve.
This past academic year, modeled after John and Charles Wesley’s Holy Club and with insight from scholars who have studied the faith development of youth and young adults, Chaplain Sloan introduced two small groups of students to the spiritual disciplines and how those disciplines can be used to bring the student closer to God. For five weeks (culminating in an overnight retreat), students were introduced to ancient spiritual practices as well as contemporary adaptations of the practice. “My hope was that through the weeks, as students disciplined their spiritual life, they would grow to love God more and that that love would find expression in a greater love for those in need around them, thus tying together God’s love for them, their love for God, and their love for those whom God has blessed them to bless,” shared Sloan.
Wesley Theological Seminary prepares more than 700 students annually, representing more than 30 denominations, to become exemplary teachers, preachers, and leaders in the world today. Their Doctor of Ministry program offers an advanced-level curriculum integrating the experiences of ministry with the academic resources of the seminary. As ministry is fundamentally theological in character, disciplined theological reflection is fostered as foundational in all offices and functions. The Doctor of Ministry Program aims at enabling pastors to develop an integrated theology of ministry that embraces the total life and mission of the church. The specific goals of the Doctor of Ministry program at Wesley include acquainting students with current theological trends and issues, deepening the integration of discipline and ministry, and providing students with opportunities for establishing lasting collegial ties with other students.