New chaplain bring new initiatives
The Rev. Lisa Ishihara joined SPU as its chaplain, ushering in new programs, including an ecumenical Bible study series with nine local pastors on the book of Galatians. The Office of University Ministries also implemented a “chat with a campus pastor” program, inviting students to talk about life, faith, doubt, relationships, vocation, the future, the Bible, and more. A “happy lamp” ministry was also launched to counter the effects of Seattle’s grey skies. Light therapy mimics sunlight to enhance mood, energy, sleep, and focus. Students were able to check out the lamps in their residential halls or in common areas like the Student Union Building. Each station included a card with best practices, additional resources, and a guided prayer and reflection to complement use.
Immerse offers theological education to high schoolers for second year
High school students from Hawaii, Kansas, California, Oregon, Idaho, and Washington attended Immerse, a seven-day summer intensive, hosted on campus at SPU and at SPU’s Camp Casey Conference Center on Whidbey Island. Students grew in their vocations as servant-leaders through a week of living in community, learning, service, and worship. Immerse students who later enroll at SPU also receive $1,000 off their first year of undergraduate study.
New Ministry on campus: “Need Prayer?”
For over a decade, a group of staff, faculty, and students have been meeting weekly to pray for Seattle Pacific, praying for revival on campus and looking for ways God is at work. Out of that group has grown a ministry, which began in March, to pray for anyone on campus who stops by a centrally located tent for prayer. Members of the prayer team received training from University Chaplain Lisa Ishihara. The ministry, based on the book Street Level Prayer: Loving Your Community Through Prayer Outreach by Todd W. Volker, was the vision of Associate Professor of Nursing Bomin Shim, who facilitates the ministry.
Faith-business initiative expands
Faith & Co. is a 14-part documentary series produced by SPU that highlights the struggles, triumphs, and stories of businesspeople wrestling with what it means to live out business as their calling. Filmed across three continents and 18 U.S. cities, and featuring a wide range of industries — high tech, health care, retail, and property development — Faith & Co. seeks to provoke questions and provide insights about what it means to act as faithful followers of Christ in business. A free, eight-week online course to deepen connections between faith and work was offered to the public in January, exploring the themes, concepts, and questions raised by the films through exercises, readings, and interviews with business and thought leaders. An accompanying study guide is sold on Amazon.com. The course is also offered for credit, which can be applied toward an SPU graduate business degree.
Ecofaith lecture: “Reforesting Faith”
Matthew Sleeth, a former physician and carpenter, spoke at SPU in April on “Reforesting Faith: What Trees Teach Us About the Nature of God and His Love for Us,” based on his book Reforesting Faith.
Students participate in homelessness immersion program
At the start of winter break, 14 students engaged in a five-day immersive learning program called Urban Plunge to focus on the human crisis of homelessness in Seattle. Hosted by the John Perkins Center, the students received three weeks of orientation prior to their experience. Traveling in groups, students spent their days exploring Seattle, including eating at meal sites (which are reimbursed for the resources consumed by students), interacting with people, hearing stories of people experiencing homelessness, and learning from the relationships and interactions of organizations serving the homeless community. They spent their nights in a local church. Site visits included Millionair Club Charity, New Horizons, Mary’s Place, and NeighborCare Clinic.
Theologians celebrated at book event
School of Theology and Seattle Pacific Seminary faculty who authored books this year were celebrated at an event in May. Their works included Mediating the Wesleyan Liturgical Heritage by Matthew Sigler; Cultivating Teen Faith: Insights from the Confirmation Project by Katherine Douglas; Refugee Diaspora: Missions amid the Greatest Humanitarian Crisis of the World by Miriam Adeney; The Marks of Scripture: Rethinking the Nature of the Bible by Rob Wall and Daniel Castelo; and Live The Questions: How Searching Shapes Our Convictions and Commitments by Jeff Keuss.