The Director's Note: Why an e-Newsletter?

Tali HairstonBy Tali Hairston, Director of the John Perkins Center for Reconciliation, Leadership Training, and Community Development


Early in life, I realized how reflecting on the past is a teacher and a mentor for me personally and vocationally. Upon accepting the role of the Perkins Center director, I took a look at Seattle Pacific’s history. I quickly realized Seattle Pacific is a gift of place and a gift of people. We are located in a wonderful city and neighborhood. And we have some of the best people with whom to work.


We get to see this antlike network of place and people on a regular basis from the Perkins Center. From Seattle to the Puget Sound region, all the way to Burundi and Vietnam, we have been blessed to see the message and ministry of reconciliation and community development move along this network in phenomenal ways.


In John Lederach’s inspiring and instructional book, The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace, the author names this act as the “centrality of relationships.” Lederach reminds us that “the centrality of relationships accrues special meaning, for it is both the context in which cycles of violence happen and the generative energy from which transcendence of those shackles burst forth.” (p.34)

‘Centrality of Relationships’

As the Perkins Center staff contemplated providing an e-newsletter, we realized another newsletter in the cyberworld was not needed. All of us were concerned with the time and resource needed to make this happen. So what tilted the table in favor of providing the newsletter? The answer to that question springs forth from the centrality of relationships Lederach speaks to.


In a gathering of regional Christian ministry and church leaders last April, they requested the Perkins Center be a champion for reconciliation and community development by creating awareness and education communities. We have labored with, and for, many of these leaders since the Perkins Center formed, developing a relational network of place and people, through which collaboration and education can be delivered. 


Providing this newsletter is not a burden, but an opportunity. It is an opportunity to link, collaborate, and draw together those of a like mind regarding reconciliation and community development. Contributors will provide ideas, criticisms, information, and prayers. Recent events will be highlighted and those events we missionally share in will be promoted.


So make room for the Perkins Center e-newsletter on your "cyber-coffee table." We will tell the stories of many gifted people and places both within and beyond the walls of Seattle Pacific University, testifying to the power of relationships to transcend violence and create “the generative energy” needed to see reconciliation and community development happen.


Tali Hairston has guided the Perkins Center at SPU since its founding in 2004. He is leading Seattle Pacific in a comprehensive initiative born out of a dream and a partnership between SPU President Philip Eaton and the legendary reconciliation advocate Dr. John Perkins.

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