The Seattle School recently celebrated the beginning of another academic year with a variety of gatherings and events, beginning with Orientation on August 31, a full day of welcoming the incoming cohort to our building and community. On September 1, the entire student body gathered for (Re)Orientation, an opportunity to acclimate to a new academic year at The Seattle School.

Dr. J. Derek McNeil, Senior Vice President of Academics, addressed the community at (Re)Orientation with a moving reminder of what it means to study at The Seattle School: “Today we are at the threshold of a new year. Today we reorient and recommit to formation, to integration. Integration is holding the parts of yourself you wish you could throw away. Integration is holding the parts of your neighbor you wish you could take away. Integration requires us to sit when we want to flee. Together we commit to train you to be competent in the study of text, soul, and culture in order to serve God and neighbor in transforming relationships. We believe that something else emerges when we hold things in tension, so we are going to ask a bit more of you. We hope you ask more of us.”

Fall Forward and The Seattle School Community Weekend began Thursday with Fall Vespers, an evening of music, stories, and reflections around the themes of hearth and home. On Friday, Student Leadership organized a variety of activities throughout Seattle, followed by Neighborhood Dinners, a chance for students to gather and share a meal with those who live near them.

The first week of the academic year culminated with the annual Convocation service at St. Mark’s Cathedral and Community Picnic at Volunteer Park. Convocation included Scripture readings, music, and communion, centered around a communal liturgy in which the new cohort is welcomed into the student body and the entire community reaffirms its commitment to God and to each other.

Dr. Keith Anderson, President of The Seattle School, delivered the Convocation message, reflecting on the faith and scriptural integrity that is at the heart of The Seattle School’s mission and vision. “Because we are, here, above all else, a community of belief. […] When you enter the building at 2501 Elliott, you come through the door with those who came before, who called us to be people bold enough to declare our mission, our honest faith, and these words of the historic creed.” You can read Dr. Anderson’s message here.

“This is an important time in the yearly rhythm of The Seattle School community,” says Paul Steinke, VP of Student & Alumni Development. “As we orient and reorient, see old faces and make new friends, our desire is this would be a season for each of us to tune our hearts once again to the rhythm of God in and around us, leading us together into another year of living and studying (even dancing!) at the intersection of text, soul, and culture.”