For 22 years, Seattle University's School of Theology and Ministry has facilitated a unique training program entitled “Scripture and Leadership Training” (SALT) for leaders throughout the Pacific Northwest. The program is offered in three languages: English, Spanish and Vietnamese. Next month, over 60 students will be starting the final leadership year of the program, and next June over 70 students will be graduating—around 50 of them from the Spanish language program and 20 from the English language program.Dr. Sharon Henderson Callahan, Associate Dean for Academic Programs & Student Life, has been working with Chinese American groups to develop an additional translation of the program into the Chinese language. During late August through mid-September, Dr. Callahan visited Beijing, Shenyang, Fushun, Xian, and Shanghai, on behalf of the School and its SALT Program, to meet key leaders and connect with potential future students. Dr. Callahan met with religious leaders in each city, the leaders of three seminaries, overseers of two publishing houses, and multiple vowed religious communities. Accompanied by Chinese American representatives from the Chinese Catholic community in Seattle (David Chow, Jeff and Joan Wu) and a Maryknoll vowed religious sister (Sister Marjorie Bush), Dr. Callahan traveled with a local Chinese guide. The School currently works with the Chinese Catholic community to encouraging lay faith community leaders, vowed religious women and priests to consider the School for study. It has formed a partnership with the China Friendship Fund and the Maryknoll community to encourage global interaction and mutual development.Dr. Callahan had multiple opportunities to speak about the SALT program and the School, demonstrate how the program could be used, and gift people with copies of the program of study. Over 50 groups and individuals received SALT materials over the course of the trip. The trip included traditional Chinese cultural sites such as the Forbidden City, the Ming Dynasty Tombs, the Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square and the government buildings, the Terra Cotta soldiers in Xian, and many sites in Beijing, Shenyang, Fushun, Xian, Shanghai and Taiwan. The group met Directors of Seminaries in Beijing, Shenyang, Xian, and Taiwan and consulted with representatives from two major universities- Fu Dan University in Shanhai and Fushun University in Taiwan. The group was greeted by many Bishops, priests and vowed religious enjoying tea, fruit, with the exchange of ideas and cultural realities.The group learned more about Chinese culture, the opportunities the government is providing for Chinese development and growth, and the challenges that growth offer people of faith. The trip included site visits to many Buddhist and Confucianist sites, with opportunity to participate in some celebrations as they were happening. Dr. Callahan anticipates that we are more ready to receive students from China, and to learn more from them as they learn from us.Dr. Callahan shares: "After working for almost 10 years on making our full curriculum, including the more transportable SALT curriculum, accessible to the Chinese Christian Church, we finally were able to visit the country and experience the lived reality in China. I was privileged to be the only native English speaker in our group, and had a unique opportunity to communicate and learn in that context. As I listened intently and deeply, I was able to watch and interpret, and then check out my understanding with a group of highly committed, generous companions. We were privileged to meet some who knew us, and who had been in Seattle with us. We were especially happy to reconnect with Fr. Peter Zhao, of Sapientia Press; Sister Bosco Song and the whole community gathered in Fushun, along with Fr. Anthony Chen. We are grateful for our Maryknoll partners and our China Friendship supporters, Fred Brandauer and Marie Materi."
Some photos from the trip, below.
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