This past year marked many changes within The Seattle School, and we are ever grateful for those who walked alongside us in 2019. Before jumping headlong into 2020, we spent some time remembering the past year, revisiting the many milestones we celebrated together as a community.

In February, The Seattle School, The Allender Center, and The Impact Movement gathered in Montgomery, Alabama to engage the realities and impacts of racism and trauma. The event centered around the belief in the power of the Gospel to bear witness to our cultural history, transform our stories, and sustain our hope. Race, Trauma, and the Gospel invited leaders to move beyond familiar solutions to engage in-depth discussions about the fragmented conversations about race in America and the needs of individuals and communities served by our organizations.

Resilient Leaders Project released its first research report, a 25-page document outlining resilience in practice. The purpose of the report is to begin a discussion on its theological and practical applications for Christian leaders while also reinforcing the need for these practical strategies. You can read more here.

Exciting news of the new MA in Counseling Psychology Concentration in Trauma & Abuse was announced in April, which is designed to train counselors and therapists for whole-person engagement of complex trauma. The first group of students to enroll in this concentration began taking classes in Fall 2019, featuring teaching from The Seattle School’s faculty as well as immersive learning from The Allender Center.

May saw the launch of text.soul.culture Season Three which featured compelling conversations with alumni, faculty, and other thought leaders from both within and outside of our community. One of the featured episodes of the season was “Resilience, Trauma, and the Hope of the Church,” featuring Kate Davis (MDiv ‘15) and Laura Wade Shirley as they led a conversation about how they learned to recognize the need for resilience in their own lives and what they’re learning as they come up with new ways to help other leaders foster resilience. You can give the episode a listen here.


We said farewell to Dr. Angela Parker at commencement in June where she left students with a compelling charge to a different voice and relationship. You can watch her commencement address here.

The fall welcomed a host of learning opportunities, both from outside voices including Dr. Usha Tummala-Narra on “Why the Hate?: Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Immigrants, Race, and Caste in Contemporary U.S.” as our featured Relational Perspectives Series speaker, numerous alumni at the fifth annual Symposia, and our own Dr. Chelle Stears as keynote speaker engaging “My Heart Flows on in Endless Song: Lament and Hope Through a Trauma-Informed Theology” for our annual Stanley Grenz Lecture Series.


Finally, we would be remiss to not revisit the appointment of Dr. J. Derek McNeil as President of The Seattle School. Our community is privileged to have Dr. McNeil step into a role he has been faithfully stewarding and we continue to look forward to his leadership in the years to come.

Top Blog Posts of 2019

Throughout the year we feature essays, stories, art, and more from students, faculty, and guest contributors. Take a look through a few of our most-read posts from the past year:

So You’re Moving to Seattle

“Many of you are uprooting lives in other states, and even other countries, to plant yourselves in Seattle and seek roots at The Seattle School. Part of Seattle’s charm is that it is a city of neighborhoods, each with its own distinct character. It’s helpful to have a sense of which neighborhood might be a good fit for you.” Continue Reading

8 Theologians and Women of Color You Should Be Reading

“This [November], we want to highlight eight prominent theologians who are women of color. Women who are at the forefront of conversations about womanist theology, gender, feminism, and race in the church. We encourage you to take a moment to pause, find a quiet place to read and discover the depth and wisdom these theologians have to offer.” Continue Reading

10 Women Theologians You Should Be Reading

“This is no ordinary list of “must-reads.” Through recommendations from faculty and staff, we’ve compiled a list of women theologians who are shaping and challenging discussions around womanist theology, race, feminism, and women and gender in scripture.” Continue Reading

Unconventional Thoughts on Addiction from a Psychotherapist

“Here, Joy Hilliker (MA in Counseling Psychology, 2016), a psychotherapist practicing in Seattle, writes about our perceptions of and responses to that cycle of addiction. Pulling from her research and therapeutic work, Joy argues that criminalization and stigmatization will not disrupt addictive patterns, but rather a caring, affirming gaze that does not turn away in disgust.” Continue Reading

Why Counselors Make Poor Lovers

“Dr. Doug Shirley writes about the tendency of many therapists to treat loved ones (including their partners) as clients, wielding clinical distance and professional jargon as a shield against the risks and conflicts of intimacy.” Continue Reading