“Are you ready?” Dr. Michael Reid Trice asked a student in line for graduation last June. She smiled and didn’t miss a beat: “Is the Church ready?” Great question.From the very beginning, Seattle University's School of Theology and Ministry has been an integral part of the work of the Church in the Pacific Northwest. Over 40 years ago, the framework of the school and its degree programs were founded by local faith community leaders who saw the need for a different type of learning community—one that fosters the next generation of grounded leaders while preparing them to be nimble and dynamic to meet the needs of our ever-changing world. Read more about the school's history, here.A new academic year has begun this week! Students have come to the school from corners of the United States and even abroad and are ready to either begin or continue their own exploration of what it means to be a leader in the 21st century. In the classroom, faculty have begun an intentional walk with students through degree programs woven in a tapestry of leadership, ministry and transformation. Our faithful partners support students that are focused on faith community leadership. Representatives from our "Denominational Outreach Teams" meet with faculty to ensure that the curriculum supports the most recently updated ordination requirements, and they connect with students to help them navigate their learning and make connections to help them in their future. Read more about our partners, here.Throughout the year, the school is known as a place where faith communities can gather together, across denominations and faith traditions, and alongside interreligious collaborators for the common good. Every October we kick off the year with a special event, gathering together faculty, staff, students and our faith community partners. We call the event "Our Story" in honor of the mission and values we share. In May, denominational executives and pastors meet around the roundtable of conversation we have entitled the "State of the Church." Students are also welcome and can hear from the leaders themselves the unique and shared challenges faced by the church today. Now in its third year, the 2014 "State of the Church" gathering will focus on responding to changing demographics in ministry. The school's Faith & Family Homelessness Project connects faculty, staff and students with over a dozen interreligious faith communities, empowering them to respond to the issue of homelessness in the Pacific Northwest. Throughout the year, the school gathers together leaders to respond to the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, issues in peacebuilding, Interfaith Harmony Week, Faith & Values in the Public Square (including last year's session with Ray Suarez at Seattle's Town Hall), and more. As our class of 2014 enters their final year of training, we know that the church is ready and willing to welcome them as faith leaders uniquely prepared in their experience here. Join our students, and our faculty and staff in the conversations and dialogues this year about what it means to be the Church in the Pacific Northwest! The conversation will be all the more enriched if you join us.
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