Faculty Profile

Katherine Douglass

Katherine Douglass

Associate Professor of Educational Ministry and Practical Theology

Email: douglassk@spu.edu
Phone: 206-281-2997
Office: Alexander & Adelaide Hall 412

Education: BA, Grove City College, 2003; MDiv and MA, Princeton Theological Seminary, 2007; PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary, 2013

Katie Douglass is an ordained minister in the PC(USA) and served, with her husband John, at the American Protestant Church: An International Congregation, in Bonn, Germany before returning to doctoral studies. 

Since 2013, Dr. Douglass has directed The Confirmation Project, a $1.1 million grant from the Lily Endowment Inc., that researches confirmation and equivalent practices that form disciples of Jesus Christ in five denominations (PC(USA), UMC, Episcopal, AME, and ELCA) through a national survey of youth, parents, and ministry leaders, as well as congregational visits. The findings from this research and related events are available at www.theconfirmationproject.com.  

In addition to this research on Christian rites of passage, Dr. Douglass has taught courses on spirituality, the arts and Christian formation, Biblical literacy, and culturally responsive pedagogies as adjunct faculty at Princeton Theological Seminary and Seattle Pacific University. 

With their three boys, George, Paul, and Will, Dr. Douglass and her husband enjoy exploring Washington's national and state parks in tents, on skis, with ice axes, and by climbing up the rock faces they encounter.

For more information, please view Dr. Douglass' CV (PDF).

Faith Formation Project Grant

The Faith Formation Project consists of two parts; (1) building a community of learning in the Pacific Northwest among families, ministry leaders, and the academy regarding the intersectional realities and current challenges that influence Christian faith formation, and (2) conducting interdisciplinary research in practical theology and social cognitive psychology to better understand the transmission of the Christian faith from parents and caregivers to their children. Both dimensions support the common goal of supporting faith formation within families through congregations, giving special attention to what reconciliation might look like within these families as they navigate the experience of marginalization, racism, a changing gender/sexual landscape, disability, and issues related to mental health – some of which has been exacerbated by the COVID pandemic. 

Grant activities will include three community building and learning events each year: a fall “Faith Formation: Lunch and Learn” event for local family ministry leaders; a winter “Faith Formation: Evenings Together” event at a local congregation that will provide space for learning and conversation with families and ministry leaders; a spring “Faith Formation: Spring Conference” that will bring a national leader on faith formation to SPU’s campus. These three events will coincide with the development of a Certificate in Faith Formation at Seattle Pacific Seminary. In addition to this support for congregational leaders, four congregations each year, will be awarded $5000 for the development and support of their ministry, potentially to be used to hire student interns from SPU’s theology majors and seminarians. In addition to learning on campus and in local congregations, we will go on a reconciliation pilgrimage to learn about the impact that Hansen’s disease (leprosy) had on families in Hawaii. During this pilgrimage we will learn about the complicated relationship between colonization and native populations in Hawaii related to this disease, the role of faith in the leper colony at Molokai, and how this community healed and moved forward from this disease. 

Additionally, practical theologian, Katherine M. Douglass, social cognitive psychologist Brittany Tausen, and social psychologist, Jenny Vaydich, will conduct mixed-methods research with families on faith socialization. Research will include focus groups with families to better understand faith socialization amid intersectionally complicated family dynamics. Research will also include the development of a survey, based on existing faith socialization research and focus group findings. Each year we will train four students in interdisciplinary research, who will create reports and presentations for the spring conference event. Research will be published for both academic and ministerial audiences. 


Creative in the Image of God: An Aesthetic Practical Theology of Young Adult Faith

Cascade Books, 2020

Cultivating Teen Faith: Insights from the Confirmation Project

Eerdmanns, 2018

What are churches doing to form the faith of their young people? Many church denominations that practice infant baptism offer confirmation or an equivalent ministry when children reach adolescence and enter a new phase of spiritual growth—but all churches, regardless of tradition, wrestle with how to get young adults to actively join the church. What really works?

In this book twelve authors draw on a three-year study of more than three thousand US congregations across five denominations—United Methodist Church, African Methodist Episcopal Church, Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and Presbyterian Church (USA)—to answer this pressing question. They tell stories of excellent and innovative confirmation programs that work and that show, above all, what good discipleship with young people looks like. Youth pastors, church leaders, and parents alike will benefit from the practices and new ways of teaching presented here that have proven helpful in forming and enhancing the faith of youth.

Why I Teach at SPU

Katherine Douglass, Associate Professor of Educational Ministry and Practical Theology

“I love teaching at SPU because of the quirky way we fit into the PNW culture. As a community we care deeply about participating in God’s reconciling work between people and the land. As a liberal arts college we have the advantage of working across disciplines on these very issues. This has been especially significant for my own work with psychologist Brittany Tausen, on loving your neighbor and dehumanization. I am particularly interested in how we can form the faith of the next generation to address dehumanization and marginalization, while inviting people to grow in love for one another and for God.”