Meet the Newest GLENNterns

Join us in welcoming Elyse and Kevin, our newest Candler School of Theology interns, to the Glenn ministerial team. You might spot them reading prayers or scripture in worship, playing in the The Gathering band, and leading Sunday School lessons. 

Here's a little bit about them, but when you see them around this summer, be sure to take a moment and introduce yourself, too!

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Meet Elyse Cooke

What led you to seminary, and why Candler?
Before seminary, I was an elementary school teacher for four years in both Florida and Ohio. Although teaching is a gift of mine and something I love, my heart yearned for something else I had thought about for a long time: full-time parish ministry. Following many months of discernment through conversations and prayer, I finally decided to pursue my call to ministry, specifically as an Elder in the Florida conference. 

All three of my pastors from my home congregation (First UMC Orlando) attended Candler (Tom McCloskey, Shelly Denmark, and Emily Edwards) and had nothing but positive things to say about it. Once I stepped foot on campus, I felt at ease and at home, knowing instantly that Candler was where I wanted to be and receive my education for the next three years. What stood out to me and solidified my decision was how Candler so seamlessly weaves rigorous academics with contextual education, and the overall community engagement it emphasizes. I loved everything I saw and felt I would be best prepared for my future by learning at Candler. 

Most engaging class so far, and that one class you can’t wait to take:

Most engaging class: “Old Testament” with Dr. Joel LeMon
Can’t wait to take: “Teaching the Bible” with Dr. Susan Hylen

Favorite book you’ve read recently…
Beloved by Henri Nouwen

Fill in the blank - We will most likely find you at Glenn ______________.  
Playing the piano, drinking coffee, and talking with everyone (but not necessarily at the same time)

What are your goals for your time with us?
I hope to create and utilize curriculum that targets the whole family and preaches authentically. 

I hope to continue the building and strengthening of family engagement at Glenn through community events, service projects, and genuine conversations. 

I hope to continue working to bridge the gap between Glenn and the surrounding community. 

I hope to create safe and sacred space where all children and families feel welcomed, challenged to grow deeper in faith, valued, and loved.

I hope to gain leadership experience and grow in faith and healthy ministerial practices as I prepare for commissioning and future ministry. 

I hope to forge and foster relationships at Glenn, enabling me to be a witness to God’s work in this community. 


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Meet Kevin Lazarus

What led you to seminary, and why Candler?
I began my undergraduate career at Auburn University with hopes of going to medical school. However, after quickly getting involved with the Wesley Foundation and taking on several leadership roles in ministry, by my junior year, I knew I was called to ministry. After graduating in 2016 and interning full-time for a year at the Auburn Wesley Foundation, I found myself at Candler. I chose Candler because of its commitment to contextual education, which thus far, has been a highlight of my time here.

Most engaging class so far, and that one class you can’t wait to take: 
This is a lot harder. I’d have to say Old Testament with Dr. Joel LeMon, but I can’t mention OT without mentioning Biblical Hebrew I and II. Being able to take a year-long introduction to the Old Testament while also learning how to read those same texts in Hebrew was phenomenal. Along the same lines, I am excited to continue my studies of the Old Testament next semester as I take Exile and Restoration with Dr. Carol Newsom alongside a third semester of Hebrew.

Favorite book you’ve read recently…
Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman. We read this as part of our reflection for Con Ed I at the Metro Regional Youth Detention Center. This is a great read for anyone, but reflecting on our experiences in prison chaplaincy with this book was incredible.

Fill in the blank - We will most likely find you at Glenn ______________.  
Speaking or studying another language (when I'm not working of course!)

What are your goals for your time with us?
My main goal during my time at Glenn is to build relationships and community here. During my time at Auburn, because I was heavily involved in a campus ministry, I was not very connected to a local church. I am so excited to finally be part of an intergenerational community and to fully invest here.