From the President




  Books & Film



  My Response

  Letters to the Editor

  Contact Response

  Submit Footnote

  Submit Letter to Editor

  Address Change

  Back Issues

  Response Home

  SPU Home

Winter 2006 | Volume 29, Number 1 | Campus

A Ministry of Reconciliation: Hairston Reflects on the Perkins Center's First Year

THE JOHN PERKINS CENTER for Reconciliation, Leadership Training, and Community Development opened on the Seattle Pacific University campus October 20, 2004, and just marked its one-year anniversary. As a result of the Center’s work — modeled on the life and teachings of the renowned Christian civil rights leader John Perkins — Seattle Pacific is not the same place it was a year ago, says Director Tali Hairston.

What’s different is that faculty, staff, and students are beginning to intentionally incorporate reconciliation into the curriculum and into the many ways in which they engage the culture, he explains. “What the Perkins Center is doing is encouraging those who have always wanted to become reconcilers but felt like they didn’t have the ability or the support,” says Hairston. “This is a holistic approach to reconciliation; it’s not just about social or civic responsibility. We want to help SPU and the church lead toward cultural change.”

In its inaugural year, the Center worked directly with faculty members on projects that linked Seattle Pacific and the community. For example, Hairston collaborated with Professor of Nursing Kathy Stetz on a community- nursing experience in the urban neighborhoods of Seattle. “This was a first step in what I anticipate will be future partnerships between SPU and community agencies,” says Stetz. “Our nursing students are learning what the issues are for those living at poverty level, for families worried about raising healthy children.”

Hairston has reached across the various academic disciplines, also collaborating with Stephen Newby, SPU assistant professor of music and minister of worship. “Stephen’s work in music — what I call reconciliation music — is leading the nation and bringing people together,” says Hairston.

The Perkins Center sponsored guest lectures, hosted visiting scholars, and invited urban youth — such as the acclaimed Renton High School Debate Team — to campus. It also established the Urban Youth Leadership Academy, providing high school students with coaching in academic and leadership skills, as well as college preparation.

Something else that has come out of the Perkins Center is a first-of-its-kind partnership with Duy Tan University in Vietnam. After two trips to Vietnam, Hairston was instrumental in cementing a relationship designed “to help Vietnam help itself,” using principles of reconciliation and Christian community development.

“It has been a thrill to watch this important work unfold,” says Seattle Pacific President Philip Eaton. “Tali has done an outstanding job of building bridges with community leaders; speaking at key events on and off campus; and working closely with me, others across campus, and the Perkins Advisory Council to provide vision and leadership for the future.”

And Hairston is just getting started. “This is the tip of the iceberg,” he says. “There is much more to come.”

Send This Page Send-to-Printer

Back to the top
Back to Home

A Conversion of the Imagination
2014: A Blueprint for Excellence shows "Seattle Pacific will be a place that knows and understands what's going on in the world, and it will be a place that embraces the Christian story," says President Philip Eaton. [President]

Allowing Scripture to Transform Our Lives
Kerry Dearborn, associate professor of theology, contributes introductions and study notes to the Renovaré Spiritual Study Bible. [Faculty]

Quality Always
Alumni of the Year, Kathi and Jerry Teel, live out their Vitamilk Diary slogan, "Quality Always," in all areas of their lives. [Alumni]

The Gospel According to Miller
Author of best-selling book, Blue Like Jazz, tells SPU students that "engaging the culture is not rocket science." [Books & Film]

Field Goals
Courted by Division I soccer teams while in high school, stand-out Falcon forward, Sarah Martinez, hits goals on and off the field. [Athletics]

My Response
John Perkins writes a letter to Seattle Pacific about God's grace during and after Hurricane Katrina.

Copyright © 2005 Seattle Pacific University. General Information: (206) 281-2000