Fall is always a season of transition as an academic institution, but this fall holds a particular gravitas for The Seattle School community. Together we are holding the tension of endings and new beginnings: We are celebrating the story, labor, and vision that has carried us to our 20th birthday.
Amidst this season of celebration and transition, we look ahead with great expectation as we continue to live out our mission of training people to be competent in the study of text, soul, and culture in order to serve God and neighbor through transforming relationships.
Voices from the Community
The Seattle School community recently gathered for the decommissioning and sending of Dr. Keith Anderson. During his time as president, Keith fathered us well as we matured in years of adolescence, helping us find our footing along the way. He shared the following about this season for the school:
Twenty years is considered a milestone in organizational life. It means you have achieved some level of maturity, organizational acumen, and financial agility. A little more than twenty years ago a bold group who called themselves “the guild” left Colorado with a dream for rigorous and creative theological education. The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology is the twenty year version of their dream. But this organization is more like a person on their way to young adulthood as often marked at one’s 21st birthday. We like that image because it continues to anticipate the future with a clear mission, bold strategies, and a new band of intrepid dreamers who today make up “the new guild.”
Rachael Clinton (MDiv ’10), Assistant Director of Program Development & Admissions at The Allender Center, shared the following thoughts with faculty and staff who gathered together at the beginning of school year:
The dream of The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology began around a kitchen table, but throughout these past twenty years that dream has been held by a large and ever shifting collective of board members, leaders, faculty, staff, students, alumni, spouses, and families. In our mundane and extraordinary work we are all part of a larger whole, a holy mission, a labor of love. And it is our unapologetic declaration that in the midst of these mundane and extraordinary liturgies and rhythms, especially in seasons of transition, we are held together by a God who loves. As we face a significant transition in the year ahead, we will take time to honor the past, to celebrate the present, and to anticipate the future with faith, hope, and love.
Dr. J. Derek McNeil, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean, will serve as Interim President as we anticipate the full the full welcoming of a new president in January. He noted the following about our 20th year and transitions:
I feel energized in this liminal space between what was and what will be. The “coming of age” analogy has made the most sense to me when it comes to this transition. Adolescents begin foreclosing on options and asking, What is my service to the world? As a school, we are asking this same question. What is our call to service? In the context of the larger social disruption in our nation, we need to be fully aware of what we have learned in our own disruption.
The birth of The Seattle School was a response to rigid postures and ways of seeing. Integration has been a focus for jarring that rigidity. We have taught for disruption, breaking up the hard earth. Now as a society in fragmentation, what is proving to be critical is formation and holding, not just transformation. Our formation is continual and can serve a fragmented society. We hold not tightly but with open hands the woundedness of our shared narrative.
The questions must be asked: How can we be salt? How can we still believe the purpose and mission of Jesus Christ without simply trying to squish things back together? How can we be unified in complexity? Specifically, can we really be a multiethnic nation? Can we as students, faculty, and staff cross boundaries for the sake of connecting? We start here, in the microcosm of this school.
A Few Fun Facts
- 4 names
- 3 locations
- 20 cohorts of students
- 19 graduating classes
- 1,160 alumni
- 877.5 pounds of Red Hot Tamales consumed
- 405 pounds of coffee brewed
When The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology started just about twenty years ago in the living rooms, kitchens, classrooms, and offices of people whose vision was pointed to the future. Did they imagine the legacy of more than 1,160 alumni? Of pastors, therapists, artists and leaders whose lives have been formed by classes, curriculum, mentoring, and the drama of learning? Did they believe their decisions made in 1997 would start a graduate school, a center for trauma and abuse, and, truthfully, a movement?
Our 2016-17 annual report is a reminder of God’s presence in our story and the impact of The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology, The Allender Center, The Other Journal, and the Forum. This is our report on all those ordinary, repetitious, faithful, wise, flawed, surprising, failed, and impact things we’ve been doing for the past year.
We hope you’ll read, feel inspired, and join this movement of transforming relationships as we persist into the future.