Love Continues Ministry at Emory’s Candler School of Theology
In what chief executive, Jan Love, is calling one of the most “difficult decisions of her life,” Dr. Love announced her departure from the United Methodist Women’s Division on Wednesday. She accepted an appointment as the first female dean of Emory’s Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, Ga., bringing more than two decades in academia to the position.
For Dr. Love, the decision was driven in large part not only by the opportunity to lead one of the best schools of theology but also by personal and family factors – her family has continued living in the Southeast where she was raised. “In many ways, my closest community remains there,” she said.
“I have struggled a great deal over this decision, the timing of this announcement and my departure,” she said. “Yet this opportunity benefits not only me, but women in academia, women in the church, and my family,” she said.
“It’s an opportunity that I neither expected nor solicited. It affords me a more healthy balance of family and work in my life, while allowing me to continue to serve this great church that we all love so much.”
Dr. Love leaves the Division at a time of change, but she’s confident that the momentum set by her leadership and that of the directors and staff will continue in a healthy direction.
This April, Dr. Love announced that the zest for mission had “outstripped the annual mission funds available.” Though the organization was still a very healthy organization, she and directors began a process to realign the work of the Division and make changes in spending in order to keep reserves for mission work. Her planning for the Division has involved all levels in setting the direction to fund the work of the close to one-million member organization and its programs and projects worldwide.
“This organization is more than 135 years old. Though changes in leadership are never easy, I’m confident that God is leading the Division and United Methodist Women in their passion for mission. A new leader will arise, and help the Division continue its mission work for more than another century. We know this because of our faith in God, our confidence in the women who keep this organization functioning so well, and our understanding of the work and history that continues. We have discerned God’s direction for the organization, and the momentum is there to become even more effective mission agents!” Love said.
Dr. Love assumes the position of Dean at Candler on January 1, 2007. Soon the Division’s officers will announce a timeline for the search process for her replacement.