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Alumni Lecture Series with Pádraig Ó Tuama: Belonging to Each Other

The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology is pleased to welcome poet and theologian Pádraig Ó Tuama as our featured artist for our 2021 Alumni Lecture Series. Pádraig Ó Tuama’s work centers around themes of language, power, conflict and religion and has won acclaim in circles of poetry, politics, religion, psychotherapy and conflict analysis.

This year’s event on Saturday, March 6 will include a morning workshop, “Belonging to Each Other: Through the Lens of the Book of Ruth,” followed by a reading with Pádraig Ó Tuama. Registration for each part of the event is separate.

Each year during the Alumni Lecture Series, the featured guest co-leads a portion of the event with an alumnus of The Seattle School. This year, Pádraig Ó Tuama is joined by Charissa Bradstreet (Master of Divinity, 2004) to facilitate the workshop. Pádraig and Charissa will explore the theme of belonging and its intersection with the Book of Ruth.

This workshop will explore what it looks like to move toward each other, especially in the midst of the divisions in this world with those least like us and who hold different values and beliefs. While we may believe in practicing discourse across different traditions, life experiences, and perspectives, we often struggle with the discomfort and cost that such a call implies, frequently seeing ourselves as solely at the center or on the margins of the story. The story of the book of Ruth invites us to upend our understanding of who is on the inside or outside, not just seeing ourselves as hosts, advocates, or helpers, but as co-equal companions, as much in need of being called in ourselves as we are called to make room for another.

Later, Pádraig will host a reading in which he will select poems from his collection to share with us.

9:00-10:30am PT: Workshop, Belonging to Each Other: Through the Lens of the Book of Ruth
11:00am-12:00pm PT: A Reading with Pádraig Ó Tuama

Access to join the workshop and / or reading will be sent to registrants on Friday, March 5 at 5:30pm PT.


Poet and theologian, Pádraig Ó Tuama’s work centres around themes of language, power, conflict and religion. Working fluently on the page and in public, Pádraig is a compelling poet and skilled speaker, teacher and group worker. Ó Tuama’s published work incorporates poetry (Readings from the Book of Exile [longlisted for the Polari Prize 2013]; Sorry for your Troubles), prose (In The Shelter) and theology (Daily Prayer, The Place Between).Ó Tuama has worked with groups to explore story, conflict, their relationship with religion and argument, and violence. Using poetry, group discussion, and lectures, his work is marked both by lyricism and pragmatism, and includes a practice of evoking stories and participation from attendees at his always-popular lectures, retreats, and events. From 2014-2019, Pádraig led the Corrymeela Community, Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation organization. Pádraig presents Poetry Unbound with On Being Studios and in late 2019 was named Theologian in Residence for On Being, innovating in bringing art and theology into public and civic life. He holds a BA Div validated by the Pontifical College of Maynooth, an MTh from Queen’s University Belfast and is currently engaged in a PhD in Theology through Creative Practice (Uni of Glasgow) exploring poetry, Irishness, and religion. In addition to these qualifications, Ó Tuama has numerous professional accreditations in conflict, focusing particularly on dynamics of group conflicts.

Credit for Pádraig Ó Tuama’s photo goes to Trevor Brady


Charissa Bradstreet (MDiv ’04) understands her vocation as a compassionate ambassador for God’s reconciliation, looking for the ways in which a song of reconciliation beckons to us and invites us into even greater wholeness with others, God, and self. She serves as Curate at Good Samaritan Episcopal Church, preaching, teaching, and overseeing formation for all ages. Over the last year, Charissa has been creating congregational resources to support increased resilience during this time of pandemic and cultural reckoning. Until recently she worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as an organizational development specialist and offered relationship systems coaching through her business, Crossing Thresholds. Recently ordained as a Deacon, Charissa is a writer, theologian, and troublemaker, entering ministry with particular attention to issues of trauma that affect people who sit in pews. She loves chocolate, Ireland, snow, and books featuring Lord Peter Wimsey.