Faith Formation

John M. Perkins visits campus

Grant given to study and support 20-something faith

The School of Theology at SPU recently became the only institution in the Pacific Northwest to receive a $1.5 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help congregations engage young adults ages 23 to 29. Jeff Keuss, professor of Christian ministry, theology, and culture, will lead the five-year initiative, called Pivot Northwest, at Seattle Pacific. Under his leadership, the SPU innovation hub identified multiple local congregations to partner with, and will help them better understand the experiences of young adults and work with them to design, launch, and evaluate new ministries. The hub will also gather leaders for mutual learning and support.

Lecture details the history of Scripture study at SPU

Rob Wall, Paul T. Walls professor of Scripture and Wesleyan studies, delivered this year’s Walls Lecture on May 2. Building on Howard Snyder’s historical book on Seattle Pacific’s founding, which notes the University’s “missionary impulse,” the lecture narrated a story that plots the purposeful pairing of Scripture’s instruction with this missional taproot. Wall explained a Wesleyan missional hermeneutics of Scripture cued by Jesus’s Great Commission (Luke 24:44–49), and John Wesley’s sermon “The General Spread of the Gospel,” followed by a curated history of Scripture at SPU. Doug Strong, dean of the School of Theology and Seminary, served as the respondent.

SoulCare small groups support students’ spiritual lives

Students in University Foundation 1000 classes participated in SoulCare groups this year. Derived from SPU’s Wesleyan holiness heritage, SoulCare is an adaptation of group spaces aimed at exploring faith and growing community started by John and Charles Wesley. Wesleyan small groups embody a practice in Christian formation and reconciliation that connects students to Christian community, and facilitate growth in awareness and love of self, neighbor, and God. To accomplish these purposes, participants gather weekly under the leadership of trained facilitators to ask and answer the question, “How goes it with your soul?”

First Immerse Youth Discipleship Academy held this summer

Immerse, an intensive discipleship experience for high school students, began this summer. Funded by a $600,000 grant from the Lilly Endowment, Immerse drew 37 students and 11 counselors (SPU undergraduate and graduate students) to the campus and Camp Casey July 9–15. They will reunite October 6–8 for a follow-up retreat. Immerse helps students ground their identity in Christian faith and their call to live out that identity within the local church and community. Students study theology, worship together, meet in small groups, practice spiritual disciplines, and learn what it means to apply their faith through service-learning and community-building opportunities unique to the Pacific Northwest. Michael Langford, associate professor of theology, discipleship, and ministry, leads the program, which is housed in the School of Theology.

Reconciliation leader John M. Perkins visits campus, and SPU hosts student leadership event

Founded in 2004, SPU’s John Perkins Center equips students to model reconciliation and contribute to community health and wholeness. Its co-founder, John M. Perkins, visited the Seattle Pacific University campus on April 25 for his 12th annual lecture at chapel, during which he was interviewed by Perkins Center director Tali Hairston.

The lecture kicked off a week of Perkins Lecture events leading up to the 2017 Justice Speaks Student Leadership Event — an event for college and high school students. The free, two-day event used breakout sessions, performances, storytelling, and artistic expression to interact with topics focused on justice for the stranger, justice for the prisoner, and justice for the land and its people.