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Response Spring 2007

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Seattle Pacific University
Spring 2007 | Volume 30, Number 1 | Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

I wanted to thank you for the article in your Autumn 2006 issue about a young heroine, Akemi Takahashi [“Akemi’s Garden”]. As executive director of Northwest Harvest, her inspirational story has great meaning for me. Akemi’s work represents a giving spirit that our agency, partner food programs, and clients across the state depend upon every day. In her wonderfully forthright way, Akemi took it upon herself to solve a complex problem before her — because her very young friend Calista was frequently going hungry, Akemi decided she would help feed hungry children.

Akemi’s mother, Kathy [Kathy Kestle Takahashi ’94], has imparted her own compassion so honestly that her 6-year-old daughter understands the situation more clearly than most adults: Many of our neighbors struggle, and we all have the power to help.
It is not only our responsibility as human beings to support each other in times of need; it is greatly rewarding to do so.

I hope that every parent can give this gift of empathy to their children. I know Akemi takes great satisfaction from her remarkable efforts. An accomplishment of that kind can mean everything to a child, and can show them they have the power to positively affect the lives of others. That is a great reminder for all of us.
Shelley Rotondo
Executive Director, Northwest Harvest
Seattle, Washington

Sleep, Scrolls, and More

I want to congratulate you on the beautifully presented issue of Response [Autumn 2006]. The articles on sleep and learning, resulting from studies in your Brain Center for Applied Learning, were absolutely fascinating and challenging. I look forward to future updates on what will be accomplished by John Medina and his colleagues. In addition, “Secrets of the Scrolls” was a great reminder of the treasure we have in that extraordinary 1947 discovery.

As a Board member of my local Food Bank in Oxnard, California, I found “Akemi’s Garden” a charming and heart-warming article of what even children can do to address hunger in their own neighborhoods. Both 
our staff and volunteers are reading that delightful article and saying “Hooray to Akemi’s parents!” for encouraging her to share, even at her tender age.
Jan Thornton ’63
Port Hueneme, California

Enjoying The Lemon Tree 

I just finished reading The Lemon Tree. What an outstanding book. I especially liked the way Sandy Tolan interwove the beautiful relationship between Dalia and Bashir into the story. Thank you so very much for sending it to me. I now feel I have a deeper understanding of the very complex problems in Israel.
Florence Meyer
Bremerton, Washington

The book [The Lemon Tree] arrived this week, and I look forward to reading it. I think this is a wonderful idea. … I will also take advantage of this opportunity to tell you how much I enjoy the Response. The makeover is awesome, and the contents are always stimulating. I read it from cover to cover shortly after it arrives. As a now-retired alum, it is encouraging to know SPU continues looking for creative ways to embrace our needy culture with the good news, and the Response is a fine tool to communicate how SPU is doing so.
Vi Frederick ’61
Freeland, Washington

A Passion for Urban Community

Once again the arms of Seattle Pacific University reached into the urban community and embraced the city with a passionate heart to bring God’s Kingdom together. With the wisdom of Dr. Barbara Skinner and the powerful leadership of Dr. John Perkins, the Coalition for Community Development and Renewal (CCDR) and SPU’s John Perkins Center opened the hearts and challenged the minds of the culturally and religiously diverse crowd in attendance. [See “John Perkins Ministers to His ‘Adopted’ City”] We truly believe there is more to come and thank President Eaton for his commitment to walk with us as friends and co-laborers.
Doug Wheeler
Senior Pastor, Restoration Christian Center
Interim President, Coalition for Community
Development and Renewal
Seattle, Washington

Weigel’s Grasp of the World

I just finished the second of three George Weigel books I immediately bought after hearing this remarkable Catholic theologian speak during the recent President’s Symposium. [See “Perspectives on the 21st Century”] Even though I am not a Catholic, I had read occasional columns of his in the Catholic Northwest Progress, on the Internet, and elsewhere. When I heard him in person, I was blown away by his knowledge, insights, and grasp of movements that are shaping our culture and the world’s as well. He is far more than an adept writer; his is a voice that must be heard if one buys into SPU President Philip Eaton’s urging to “engage the culture and change the world.”

There are points in time when players walk on the stage whose roles help us define and clarify what Hamlet called “enterprises of great pitch and moment.” Weigel is one of these. His presence at the President’s Symposium is a tribute to the sense and sensibilities of a university that makes a difference, and to its outstanding leadership.
Dick Paetzke
President, Dick Paetzke Creative Directions
Seattle, Washington

Awed by the Sound

What a thrill it was to be inspired by the Seattle Pacific University Gospel Choir and Symphonic Wind Ensemble, directed by Dr. Stephen Michael Newby and Gerry Jon Marsh, at the Sunday morning Gospel Brunch of the Northwest Division Conference of MENC [Music Educators National Conference] recently in Portland, Oregon. … [See “New Sound"]

Your group was a true model to all in attendance of the beauty, expression, and inspiration that is possible when quality teaching and collaborative teamwork are combined with the challenge of expanding the realm of understanding and pushing beyond self-inflicted limits. I sat with tears in my eyes, awed by the group’s sound, its ministry, and ability to communicate each musical nuance.
Jim Rice
MENC Northwest Division President
Everett, Washington

Response to Response

We really appreciate the variety and caliber of articles in Response. It not only keeps us informed about campus news, but also includes informative articles of cultural interest and concern reflecting the institution’s seriousness about engaging the culture — the first step in “changing the world.” Kudos to your staff!
Doris Liebert ’56
Spokane, Washington

What Do You Think? Don't be shy!

We'd like to hear your opinion about  Response or any articles printed in the publication. To tell us what you think, send email to You may also write Editor, Response, Seattle Pacific University, 3307 Third Avenue West, Suite 116, Seattle, Washington 98119–1922. Letters must be signed and will be printed as space permits.

Department Highlights

from the president
Embracing the Christian Story
SPU President Philip Eaton asks what would happen if the Bible were at the center of the learning enterprise.

Destination: Asia
SPU President Philip Eaton joined a historic delegation of U.S. university presidents that visited Asia.

Coffee as Change Agent?
Pura Vida employees, including several SPU alumni, engage the culture using a social-venture business model.

books, film, & music
Dark Alphabet
Jennifer Maier, poet and SPU associate professor of English, receives a literary award for her first book.

National Tournament Returns
For the first time in 10 years, SPU hosts the USA Gymnastics Women's Collegiate Championship.

my response
Undone by the Word
Response writer Kathy Henning shares her journey to know the Bible better.

Response art
Pink Emperors
Class of 1973 alumna Jill Ingram introduces Response readers to “Pink Emperors.”