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Life together at The Seattle School

The Seattle School is uniquely one-another-minded. Our mission is to train people to be competent in the study of text, soul, and culture in order to serve God and neighbor through transforming relationships. To that end, student life at The Seattle School is full, engaged, and designed to put you in the way of others and in the way of God.

These are some of our key practices in our student life together.

Student Leadership

We invite you to join us in shaping this community, whether by joining student leadership, volunteering to help with events, or emailing Becca Shirley ( or the student leadership quad ( Community life and rhythms at The Seattle School are co-created by faculty, staff, and students. Student Leadership invites students and spouses/partners to shape and embody the vision and mission of The Seattle School for the sake of blessing our community, the neighborhood of Belltown, and the larger community of Seattle.

There are four main realms of student leadership:

Student Council

Student Council exists to be a representative of the student body on two fronts: building healthy and trust-filled relationships between faculty and students, and nurturing a culture that engages diversity and difference through our Intercultural Engagement practices. Email to get in touch with Student Council.


Anamchara is a Gaelic concept with a rich Celtic monastic tradition, literally meaning “soul friend”. Anamchara serves as the hands and feet of Christ, creating contexts for “soulful” connections. They steward the Commons, connect neighbors for community dinners, facilitate moving help for first-year students, and come alongside your journey as a student at The Seattle School.Email to get in touch with Anamchara.

Sacred Space

Sacred Space creates opportunities to rest, wrestle, and play in relationship with God, ourselves, and each other. They steward the spiritual rhythms of student life including the School liturgical calendar, the Chapel space, art gallery spaces and events, and student-led spiritual practice groups.Email to get in touch with Sacred Space.


Mosaic exists to support the partners and families of Seattle School students. This takes a few different forms, including regular opportunities to participate in School life as a family, and childcare support to give parents a well-deserved break.

Apply to Student Leadership

Student Lifecycle Gatherings

The Office of Students & Alumni provides Student Lifecycle Gatherings to support students throughout each season of their journey as students. While every person who trains at The Seattle School has their own unique story and journey, we gather around the shared rhythms and formational pathways that all students follow through their degree program.

At each gathering, we will take a step back to engage in conversations to help you navigate your time in this community of learning practitioners.

We have divided Lifecycle Gatherings into three phases: First Year, Middle Years, and (S)ending Year. While we’ve structured this program into these three phases, we realize that some student journeys are more complex (e.g. 2-year MATC, 5-year MDiv). While gatherings are targeted to these three phases, all students are welcome to attend Lifecycle Gatherings from any year.

First Year Student Lifecycle Gatherings

Find First Year Lifecycle Gatherings

The first year in graduate school can be quite a challenge. Whether you’ve just finished an undergraduate degree or are returning to school after quite some time, becoming a student at The Seattle School means learning a new language, developing new skills, and examining your own beliefs and stories for the purpose of deep formation.

This work takes courage, community, and practice. First Year Student Lifecycle Gatherings begin your first week at (Re)Orientation and Frameworks & Intersections where we partner with Academics to connect you with the Faculty in your degree program as well as with the students who are ahead of you on this journey. Later in the Fall Term, we connect you with leaders from Student Groups and help you find ways to connect with others as you seek to find the balance of life in a learning community.

We also partner with Student Leadership to offer places of connection and renewal through Vespers, the Christmas Party, and Spring Banquet. As the year continues, we’ll offer gatherings to engage in reflection and practice around how you are experiencing formation at The Seattle School and what kind of culture and community you are co-creating.

Middle Year Student Lifecycle Gatherings

Find Middle Year Lifecycle Gatherings

Students enrolled for three or more years will experience one or more “Middle Years” during which Student Lifecycle Gatherings are designed to assist you as you pursue specialized training, connect you with Alumni practitioners, and build practices and frameworks for engaging your own vocational growth within your fields.

The Middle Years gatherings begin at (Re)Orientation in the fall and continue throughout the year with special attention given to vocation discernment, internship placement, dialogue with Faculty & Alumni, and practices that support your holistic engagement as learning practitioners. Students completing the MATC degree in two years participate in the (S)ending Year Gatherings, however, you may also participate in any Middle Year Student Lifecycle Gatherings of your choosing.

(S)ending Year Student Lifecycle Gatherings

Find (S)ending Year Lifecycle Gatherings

In each student’s final year, the Student Lifecycle gatherings are called (S)ending—this is a year-long series of events designed to connect you with the broader Alumni community, offer intentional space to move through the transition from student to practitioner, and send you into life as alumni.

In the fall, this begins with (Re)Orientation and participation at Symposia,The Seattle School’s homecoming gathering where you will engage with Alumni around their ongoing work in various fields. In the winter, we will gather for a two-day (S)ending Retreat. You’ll have opportunities to connect with Alumni through Alumni Month and conversations with our Alumni Chapter Facilitators around the country. You’ll also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of workshops on topics including vocational networking and licensure. The (S)ending season culminates with Graduate’s Breakfast and Commencement as you transition into membership in our Alumni Association.

Cultural Programs

The Seattle School is a community of people with diverse backgrounds, perspectives, experiences, and identities. As people living in a biased culture, we are committed to growing our capacity to deeply engage different stories and experiences and critically examine our context all while exercising a commitment to center personhood.

In order to create a context that allows all students to thrive in our community, regardless of race, sexual/gender identity, age, or theological perspective, we’ve developed cultural programs and underrepresented student resources. To learn more about cultural programs at The Seattle School, email Becca Shirley at

Critical Conversations

Critical Conversations groups are open to all students and meet regularly to engage contemporary cultural events and social issues.

Culture & Film

Culture & Film is a community screening of culturally relevant films and documentaries followed by reflection and discussion.

What do we mean by underrepresentation?

Underrepresentation is not defined solely by demographic statistics but also takes into consideration the values, experiences, and narratives of cultural groups represented in curricular and co-curricular content. Underrepresentation is based around five categories:

  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity
  • Age
  • Theological/Political Perspective
  • Ability

Thrive Gatherings

Thrive Gatherings are designed to be constructive environments of connection, conversation and skill development for students from underrepresented groups. Students gather once per term to engage categories that impact the sustainability of underrepresented people in relational vocations. Faculty, staff, alumni, and other practitioners are invited to share their experience and connect with students.

Student Groups (Identity/Interest)

Student groups are peer facilitated communities designed to bring together students based on a shared interest or identity. Students from underrepresented groups are encouraged to gather together with others who share similar experiences and/or values. These groups are designed to help support the development of cultural identity of students as they develop a capacity for critical self reflection within a diverse social context.

Alumni Guides

Alumni Guides are alumni practitioners who serve as a primary resource for students from underrepresented groups at The Seattle School. Students can request a match with an Alumni Guide within their respective degree program and desired vocational practice. As alumni of The Seattle School, Alumni Guides offer context and connection between the formational experiences of graduate education and practice.

La Danse Award

Each year we commission an artist from our community to create their own interpretation of Matisse’s “La Danse”, an illustration of the invitation of a Kingdom community: struggling to learn, labor, love, and serve one another. At the annual Spring Banquet, we display the artist’s work, and we honor The Seattle School community along with four individuals—one faculty, one staff, and two students or spouses/partners, who we collectively believe to be exemplars of la danse in our midst.

Displayed in our common area is an art piece central to our mission called “La Danse Revisited” by alumnus Phil Nellis. The piece was commissioned by our community to remind us who we are: a diverse community practicing life together around the interplay of text, soul, and culture.

2019 La Danse Recipients

  • Gabes Torres, MATC ’18, MACP ’20
  • Sunny Jansma, MACP ’20
  • Doug Shirley, EdD, PhD, faculty
  • Ben Oldham, MDiv, staff

Artist Residency

For seven days each year, artists from within our community reside in our building to create, explore, dialogue, and collaborate with one another in their artistic endeavors around a common theme. Each evening, artists come together around the table for dinner and fellowship with one another, conversation, and rest during the creative process.

The Artist Residency is open to students, spouses/partners, and alumni. In the term following the residency, artists display their work in the Community Gallery and have the opportunity to share both their work and their creative process during a reception.

2019 Residency Participants: “Contours of Beauty”

  • Ellen Cline
  • Elise Hanson
  • Jonny Hiett
  • Judy Ko
  • Kelsey LaBelle
  • Lucas McGee
  • Emi Sigrist