Congratulations to all you 2023 graduates of The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology! Welcome to this space, but even more welcome to this community and these beautiful people. They are pastors, priests, therapists, chaplains, counselors, artists, stay-at-home parents, teachers, administrators, for-profit & non-profit leaders, and mental healthcare workers who move with bold courage (there is always fear!) into people’s lives with creativity, innovation, persistent generosity, and conviction, offering the communities they love and serve a taste of beauty, goodness, and life.
At the end of June, many of us gathered at 2501 Elliott Ave for a twelve-hour party we called the “Day of Celebration” to mark the 25 year anniversary of The Seattle School. As we ended the day in a circle with prayer, I was deeply moved to look around and see so many alumni who had returned to be together–their bodies and faces all gathered in the large classroom and online across the nation–and the imagination of those thousands of lives “present” now in that space because these alumni had touched and been touched by them.
Dear friends, if you’ve read Derek’s email from July 10, you know that as we look toward jubilee and the 25 years to come, this next year we also look toward a new home at 1130 Rainier Ave S. Regardless, of where we are or where we call home, may the Spirit continue to gather us to Herself, that we might be sent again and again into the world, into our own lives, our own callings, to serve God and neighbor through transforming relationships.
Today, I say Hallelujah! for each of our alumni and I say Hallelujah! for you, 2023 graduates of The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology, that you are now among them. Welcome!
Day of Celebration & Spring Banquet
We celebrated 25 Years on June 3! Enjoy this blog post with more details.
Mark Your Calendars
- If you’re planning to attend Evolving Faith Conference October 13-14 in Minneapolis, MN, stop by The Seattle School table!
- Our next Day of Scholarship is planned for January 13, 2024. Confirmation of the date and more information coming soon. Take a look at Day of Scholarship 2023 on The Seattle School blog.
Seattle School Connect: Fall 2023
Seattle School Connect is a new virtual summit exploring topics in current culture with varying perspectives from throughout The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology community including our graduate school and seminary, the Allender Center, the Center for Transforming Engagement, and The Other Journal. The topic for our inaugural summit will be discourse. Thought leaders in theology, psychology, and culture will share insights and guide us into new understandings and growth in communication, belonging, and relationships.
Join us this fall for this exciting new series beginning on Friday, September 22, 2023, and ending on Friday, November 3, 2023. Here’s how it works: Each week, you’ll get a preview of the next week’s live conversation. The first preview will drop on September 22 and the first of 6 live conversations will be hosted on September 29. These live conversations will be interactive with opportunity to engage with the speakers through your own questions and perspectives. Registration is free and open to anyone. Purchase access to the recorded replay for $35 before the series ends on November 3. Stay tuned to our event page for more information and a link to registration.
25 Year Anniversary Benefit Dinner
On April 21, The Seattle School community gathered in the Large Classroom to celebrate at our 25 Year Anniversary Benefit Dinner. Here are a couple of video clips from that exciting event. Dr. Dan Allender spoke about hoping in the goodness of God in the land of the living through the challenges of the founding of the school. Dr. J. Derek McNeil, President and Provost, explained how the symbol of the Presidency, the sextant, helps us understand how to keep our eyes on the horizon through future storms. For more information and photos from the night, take a look at The Seattle School blog.
Discount for Alumni at The Seattle School Bookstore
Celebrate The Seattle School’s 25-Year Anniversary with 25% off any purchase at store.theseattleschool.edu through August 31. Use coupon code Alumni25 at checkout!
Financial Aid and Loan Repayment Updates
Sending Dr. Chelle Stearns and Dr. Kj Swanson
Last month The Seattle School sent Dr. Chelle Stearns and Dr. Kj Swanson MDiv ‘10 with blessings and care into the next phases of their respective professional journeys with deep gratitude for their gifts and time in our community.
Dr. Chelle Stearns has been known for her imaginative, compelling assignments and for the way her pedagogy wove stories and art into the classroom. Her innovative theology courses included Theology & The Artistic Impulse; God, Gender, & Sexuality; Beauty, Brokenness & the Cross; Spirit & Trauma; and The Triune God & Creation. Through the language of music and art, she encouraged students to grow in understanding God and relationships by exploring creativity, improvisation, and play. Years later alumni remember and cherish what they learned from theological discussions and art projects in her expansive classrooms. On June 24, Dr. Stearns gave the charge to the graduating class referencing The Chronicles of Narnia, exhorting graduates to prioritize the nurturing of their imaginations and to be open to the possibilities of beauty and goodness in the world.
Dr. Kj’s new venture will involve working in collaboration with her long-time writing partner on creative projects full-time. During her time as Affiliate Faculty and Common Curriculum Coordinator, Dr. Swanson co-founded the annual Day of Scholarship with Dr. Paul Hoard, revamped the Assistant Instructor program for better coherence and sustainability, and led the Writing Center. She is perhaps best known for creating the “Harry Potter” class in our theology programs: Spirituality & The Arts: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Other courses she taught include Theology and the Artistic Impulse; Advanced Seminar: Queer Theory and Christian Theology; Triune God & Creation: Ecotheology; and Special Topics: “Dystopia & Apocalypse: Hope & Resistance.” At Commencement 2023, Dr. Swanson participated in the presentation of candidates for degrees. To watch Commencement including Dr. McNeil’s blessing of Dr. Stearns and Dr. Swanson, check out the recording on YouTube.
Jay Briggs, MATC ‘14
Artist, educator, and nonprofit administrator Jay Briggs MATC ‘14 is now based in South Carolina where he is the Director of Education and Community Engagement at The Warehouse Theater. Earlier this year he took time to explain how his studies at The Seattle School shaped his understandings and practices in pedagogy and education.
Read More: Jay
Mary Jane Wilt MAC ‘05
After completing her MFT-PhD in September 2022, Mary Jane Wilt MAC ‘05 PhD visited The Seattle School campus and participated in our Day of Scholarship 2023. Earlier this year, she shared with us how her life journey led her to study for a MAC degree at The Seattle School (then Mars Hill Graduate School) and to pursue further training in years to come.
- Alex Houseknecht MACP ’14 defended his dissertation in early May!
- Suzanne (Linda) Aultman MACP ’16 was promoted to Senior Vice President of Engineering at her company, Metromont!
- Sarah Casbeer Eldridge MACS/MACP ’09 completed a year-long enneagram certification!
- Welcome aboard to our new, spectacular Alumni Quad members–Michelle Rubbert MACP ’20, Bethany Bylsma MACP ’16, and Mallory Redmond MATC ’13! The Alumni Quad is your amazing advisory group including these new folks and the wonderful Sunny Jansma MACP ’20 and Elise Hale-Case MACP ’15. Thank you so much for your ongoing leadership, Quad! Feel free to reach out any time and connect with them through firstname.lastname@example.org!
- Shaquille Sinclair MACP ’23, Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology Doug Shirley MDiv ’06, EdD, MACP student Marlene Chamonica Hernandez, and Eric Strom, PhD (attorney and clinician in private practice), presented their research study entitled “Are we OK? Potential Impacts of Telehealth Structural Changes on Clinician Wellness” at the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) annual conference in New Orleans last month. The presenters were able to reflect on some of the backdrop to the study, and also on the shared interest in furthering a communal ethic for mental health counselors in the recovery from a very difficult couple years of work living in and through COVID.
- Congratulations to alumni-run Self-Space‘s 10 interns offering Low Cost therapy and alumni among them! This year The Seattle School announced The Self Space Scholarship thanks to the leadership of Rachel Lund MACP ’13.
- Ella H. Chang MACP ‘11 founded Healing Together Therapy & Wellness Center in 2022 to provide accessible and affordable therapy and coaching services to the Expat community in South Korea. In the future, they are also planning to create affordable services for Korean nationals and retreats dedicated to supporting Adoptees and 2nd Gen Koreans that are returning to Korea to connect to their motherland. Please check out their website, www.seoultherapist.com to learn more about their work or email email@example.com.
- River Tree Healing Arts – Emma Baker MACP ‘23 and Katie Lin MACP ‘20 are running a group in the fall called The Playground. It’s an experiential therapeutic group for women and non-binary adults, where we explore embodied play and non-performative movement, using exercises inspired by mindfulness, theater, and trauma-informed practice. This is a great group for anyone you know (client, friend, yourself) who is looking for a way to feel more alive in their body, increase self-compassion, and play in a communal setting. It’s a 6-week group, Monday evenings 7:30-9:00pm in the U District, October 16-November 20. $55/week. Scholarships available. They are also hosting a one day “taste” of The Playground on Monday evening, September 25 for free (donations accepted). Come check it out and bring a friend! Find out more here: https://www.rivertreehealingarts.com/groups
- Bethany Bylsma MACP ‘16 of Therapy Godmothers is offering a 1.5 day workshop for launching a Private Practice: August 5-6, 2023 in Snohomish! Find out more here: http://www.therapygodmothers.com/bibbity-boppity-boot-camp.html Also – Therapy Godmothers is offering Cry Camp October 6-9, 2023 at the Whidbey Institute. Here’s the website for more info! http://www.therapygodmothers.com/cry-camp—october.html
- Rebekah Vickery MACP ‘21 is offering two amazing groups coming up: Transitions Process Group – August 2023 https://www.heart-root.com/transitions-group and Becoming | A healing & educational workshop for purity culture survivors – https://www.heart-root.com/becoming-a-group-for-purity-culture-survivors
- Jorge Tovar MACP ‘13 and Two Chairs are hiring! They are focused on creating a mental health system that prioritizes the personal well-being of clinicians while providing high-quality care to clients. They emphasize a supportive work environment, growth & connection, continuous learning, and the integration of data and technology into clinical work. Learn more about Two Chairs here or reach out to Jorge – Clinical Manager, Seattle.
- Dan Cumberland MACS ‘12 consistently shares insights for entrepreneurs on vital inner work. He’d love to connect with, inspire, and encourage folks: join him at https://www.linkedin.com/in/dancumberland/
Do you have any news? Let us know!
Allender Center News
Trauma Care Training with the Allender Center
If you’ve been looking for ways to hone your skills as a practitioner or discover new ways to serve your community, we invite you to join us for one of our upcoming training opportunities:
Seats are still available for the 2023-2024 cohort of Certificate in Narrative Focused Trauma Care Level I. This immersive group experience emboldens practitioners and leaders to facilitate healing through engaging individuals’ stories with courage, compassion, and skill. Applications for Level I are due August 1. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or to receive more information.
Registration is now open for Effective Trauma Care in Brentwood, Tennessee, this October 27-28. Led by Dr. Dan Allender and Linda Royster, LCMHC, this is a weekend seminar for those who desire a deeper understanding of the impact of trauma and abuse and a stronger grasp of the tools to engage individuals with courage and care. You can find out more and register for Effective Trauma Care here.
Updates from The Other Journal
Sign up to receive The Other Journal free newsletter where each month Editor-in-Chief Zac Settle shares insights and curated recommendations! For more access to each new issue and the archive, subscribe to The Other Journal!
In our next issue, we seek theological-infused submissions on themes of church. We accept essays, creative writing, art, and reviews that uniquely engage this complex topic. We seek contributions that table this theme with verve and slant by way of their distinctive style, ideas, and progressive consideration of the other.
- Center for Transforming Engagement: Add Transforming Engagement: the Podcast to your podcast rotation, and join us this summer for the “Church After Mars Hill” series, a response to Christianity Today Media’s wildly popular podcast, The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill. As listeners of The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill podcast, we could take two approaches: one as a mere observation of a captivating soap opera, providing voyeuristic pleasure through the shocking and scandalous true story of Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll. The other option is to utilize it as an opportunity for introspection, allowing us to examine our own involvement in personality-driven spirituality and dysfunctional church systems, seeking lessons from Mars Hill’s downfall to shape our future. Hosted by contributor and pastor Joel Kiekintveld, we’re seeking to learn what we can from the case study that is Mars Hill Church. After the destruction left by the collapse of that Seattle-based mega-church, the conversations in this podcast season are our offerings towards a rebuilding. Subscribe to Transforming Engagement: the Podcast on your favorite listening platform, or check it out at transformingengagement.org/podcast
- Allender Center: Enjoy the Allender Center Podcast!
- Meredith Dancause MDiv ‘08 and Steve Dancause MACS ‘08 co-host a podcast: “We Need to Talk”(out of The Well Church in Edmond, OK)
- Jasmine Svare MACP ‘14 hosts: “Live Your Life”
- Check out the podcast from Bryan Nixon MACP ‘07 : “Why in the World”
- Listen to Dan Cumberland MACS ‘12 in “The Meaning Movement” podcast.
- Do you have a podcast to share? Please let Jocelyn Skillman know at email@example.com.
Alumni Community Audit Voucher & Reduced Tuition
With more online courses available now, you won’t want to miss your opportunity to redeem your annual community audit voucher! As lifelong learners, our Alumni may join a class for free once a year with the annual Community Audit Voucher. Auditing a class is different from earning graduate credit or continuing education hours for a course, however, CEUs may be purchased for $30/seat hour. In addition, all non-degree seeking alumni in need of additional course credits receive a discounted tuition rate of $500 per credit.
View the 2023-2024 course schedule to get an idea of what you may be interested in. To register for a course using the Community Audit Voucher, please email Kelsey Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org for details and class availability.
Alumni Announcements & News
If you would like to place an announcement or share news in our upcoming quarterly alumni newsletter, please email Jocelyn Skillman at email@example.com. Thank you!
Alumni Therapist Directory – We are excited to be offering an updated list of therapist referrals from our alumni! Would you like to add your information to the list? Please fill out this Google form. This list can be found on our Seattle School website: https://theseattleschool.edu/alumni-therapist-list/
MACP Alumni Supervisor List – If you are in Washington State, would you like to be added? Email Jocelyn at firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook – At The Seattle School Alumni Association Facebook Group you can offer and gather professional resources, promote your own events and more, learn of upcoming events and information, and connect with fellow alumni. It has been an active and vibrant place for communication.
LinkedIn – On our LinkedIn group you can connect and network with other alumni. Find a range of information relating to your professional life. Opportunities for networking events, jobs, CEUs, and general career advice can all be found in this private group. Promote an event, share a resource, or network about jobs in your area.
Job Openings at The Seattle School–The Seattle School regularly posts teaching positions in the graduate programs and other open positions at Current Openings: https://theseattleschool.edu/human-resources/current-openings/.