The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology is in the midst of (S)ending 2017, an annual season of events and conversations designed to orient the school’s graduates to life and career after Commencement. (S)ending is organized by the Office of Students & Alumni, in partnership with alumni from a variety of vocational contexts who return to The Seattle School to facilitate workshops and small groups.
“It’s a way of launching folks from the end of the grad school experience into their life as alumni,” says Daniel Tidwell (MDiv, ‘10), Alumni Programs Coordinator. “It’s an invitation for them to reflect and intentionally move through that transition.” In that way, (S)ending is a time of marking the end of a season, but it is also very much a beginning—into which the entire Seattle School community works to send our students. “Graduating is a threshold, moving from one space to another. You’re stepping into the thing that you were here for.”
The (S)ending season began in February with the annual (S)ending Retreat, an opportunity for graduating students to reflect on their time together at The Seattle School, to share their gratitude and hope for the years ahead, and receive practical skill-building and training from alumni who have gone before them.
“Graduating is a threshold, moving from one space to another.”
Earlier this year the Office of Students & Alumni also hosted Alumni Week, an annual opportunity for The Seattle School’s staff and faculty to meet with alumni in the contexts of their workplaces, with the intention of gathering stories and data about their experience, offering encouragement and support, and inquiring about alumni vocational experiences and development since completing their graduate training from The Seattle School. The 2017 Alumni Week, organized by Alumni Outreach Coordinator Shauna Gauthier, featured five gatherings involving 12 alumni, 15 faculty and staff, and two current students who are nearing graduation.
Though (S)ending continues unfolding throughout the year with Portfolio Groups, Symposia, and other events, it reaches a culmination of sorts in June as the academic year comes to a close. As MA in Counseling Psychology students complete their clinical internships, Master of Divinity and MA in Theology & Culture students share the projects that serve as a capstone of their time in graduate school at the annual Integrative Project Symposium. This year’s Integrative Project celebration also included a special event and gallery opening, “From Trauma to Resilience: Art and Poetry as Witness.” The featured art, which grew from the academic work of several Integrative Projects, included stories, poetry, woodworking, and visual art.
(You can see a list of this year’s Integrative Projects at the bottom of this post, and stay tuned to our Vimeo page and the Intersections blog as we post videos of the presentations throughout the year.)
Finally, the entire Seattle School community will gather on Saturday, June 24, for Commencement. Alumni, faculty, staff, current students, friends, and families will all convene at Town Hall Seattle to celebrate the accomplishments of the Class of 2017. Commencement marks the official transition from student to alumni, when 85 graduating students will join a community of more than 1,100 alumni throughout the world who are continuing to wrestle with text, soul, and culture in their personal and professional contexts.
Each year at Commencement, the graduating class and faculty select one student from each program as a speaker, and one student to offer a special vocal selection. The 2017 student speakers are Carrie Cates (MDiv), Mary DeJong (MATC), and Beau Denton (MACP). They will speak around the theme of the Hero’s Journey, and the vocal selection will be offered by Julie Hall (MACP).
In all of this, the heart of (S)ending is rooted in The Seattle School’s ongoing commitment to equip students to practice their calling in creative, courageous, and sustainable ways long after they leave our classrooms, and to continue to refine who we are and how we operate based on their experiences and perspectives.
“While any conversation about transition holds its share of anxiety and exhaustion,” says Paul Steinke, Dean of Students and Alumni, “we hope to offer each of our graduates something of a respite—a time and space to stop and breathe, celebrate their labor, and playfully lean into the stories waiting to be written as they become alumni.”
2017 Integrative Project Titles and Presenters
Deserts and Dragon Skins: Embracing Divine Silence and Otherness as a Balm for the Modern Soul
Exposing Evil In Everyday Life
Restoring the Soul
Found Hope:Developing a Theology of Trauma Engagement Through the Visual Arts
Poiesis: What Poetry Can Teach Us about Healing, Hope and the Imagination
A Trinitarian Imago Dei: How Reimagining Genesis Informs an Integral and Functional Creation Theology
Crafting The Table: Participation in the real through work and eating: a sacramental vision
Spiritual Neglect: Anxiety and Depression and its reception in the American Evangelical Christian Church
Toward a Spirituality of Liberation: Reimagining Difference through a Theology of the Racialized Body
Prayer, Poetry, and Pain: Learning to Lament
Idolatry of the Couple: Breaking the Idols that Ostracize Single Women in the Christian Community
Jesus and Buddha Kissed: Spiritual Promiscuity as an Enlightening Path for Christianity
Tracking Dirt in the Sanctuary: Restoring Authenticity to the Church
Exploring the Heart of Hungarian Identity: Trauma, Memory and Hope
Looking for Hope: A Study of Humanity Through the Lenses of Identity, Vocation, and Community
Personhood, Intimacy, and Relational Flourishing: Implications on Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Bodies
Hinterlands of Meaning: Metaphor, Mediation, and Scripture