School of Theology and Ministry
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News and Events

  • Faculty, Staff, Student & Alumni Highlights: March 2013

    Faculty, Staff, Student & Alumni Highlights: March 2013



    Dr. Valerie Lesniak Dr. Valerie Lesniak received the "Campaign Coordinator of the Year Award", along with Seattle University's Gerald (Jerry) Huffman (Vice President for Human Resources & University Services) and Kathy Ybarra (Assistant to President Steve Sundborg, SJ), for their efforts in increasing overall participation in the Seattle University faculty and staff's United Way Campaign drive in November.  The award was presented on March 19 at the United Way of King County's Spirit of Caring Celebration, by former Mariner, Dan Wilson. United Way shares on their website: "With tremendous support from Fr. Steve Sundborg, president of Seattle University, Seattle University’s Gerald Huffman, Dr. Valerie Lesniak and Kathy Ybarra pulled together a high-energy campaign in which 140 new faculty and staff took part—a huge increase from last year."



     Dr. Mark Lloyd TaylorDr. Mark Lloyd Taylor gave a presentation on Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal Son (the Compassionate Father? the Angry Older Brother?) entitled: “Forgiveness: The Unheard of Miracle” at Plymouth Church (Seattle) on March 6 as part of the congregation’s Lenten Series. Seattle University's School of Theology and Ministry alumna Dr. Mary Lee Peters invited Dr. Taylor to do this work, made the arrangements, and hosted the evening.  Other School alumni and partners were among those in attendance.



     Dr. Cynthia Moe-LobedaDr. Cynthia Moe-Lobeda - Book ReleaseDr. Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, one of the School's Adjunct Faculty, released a new book on March 1 entitled "Resisting Structural Evil: Love as Ecological-Economic Vocation" with Fortress Press. The book received several significant endorsements, including by Cornel West
    who calls it  "a grand prophetic book motivated by love and focused on justice...". It also is endorsed by Rabbi Michael Lerner who calls it a "true classic of spiritual progressive consciousness...that should be read in every college and university and religious seminary, every church, synagogue, mosque, and ashram." For more information visit the book's webpage, here.

     Dr. Andrew DavisDr. Andrew Davis received a Faculty Research Grant and Summer Course Development Stipend from Seattle University's Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture (ICTC) to provide financial support for research and course creation that expands the engagement with the Catholic intellectual tradition. The program’s goals are to encourage and enable faculty to undertake research and create new course offerings to students that intentionally and robustly engage Catholic thought and culture, expanding the opportunity for students to learn more about the influence of Catholicism in the history of thought and the development of cultures. Dr. Davis was awarded for his work on “Abraham Heschel's Personal Papers Relating to Vatican II".

    Dr. Davis was also accepted for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's annual seminar for seminary and religious studies faculty addressing, "The Overlooked Revolution: The Shift in Catholic Teaching on the Jews since Vatican II", scheduled from June 10-14, 2013. The seminar "provides professors of philosophy, theology, ethics, and religious studies an overview of the history of the churches during the Holocaust, both inside and outside Nazi Germany, and the ways in which religious leaders of all faiths have addressed the Holocaust since 1945." More information here.


    Dr. Gloria Burgess Dr. Gloria Burgess, Coordinator for Contextual Education and a member of the School's Core Faculty, led a session for the School's fifth annual Search for Meaning Book Festival entitled: “Sanctuary: Tender Mercies for the Servant Soul". The session was very well received, offering much-needed respite from the busyness of our everyday lives. Based on material from her most recent book, "Dare to Wear Your Soul on the Outside: Live Your Legacy NOW!", Dr. Burgess’ work focuses on legacy consciousness, a term she coined many years ago. Earlier this month, Dr. Burgess delivered an invited keynote for the VIP dinner to launch the 5th Annual Women’s Alumni Conference at the University of Southern California. During the conference, Dr. Burgess was honored as a distinguished alumna and acclaimed author. She was also recognized for the keynote she presented several years ago, which inspired this year’s conference theme, “Celebrate Your Story, Celebrate Your Legacy,” as well as the “Living Your Legacy Speaker Series” that is now a signature element of the conference. An award-winning author, Dr. Burgess is also the author of a children’s picture book, which is due to be released next year.


    Dr. Michael KinnamonRev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, the School's Spehar-Halligan Visiting Professor of Ecumenical Collaboration in Interreligious Dialogue, was named Alumnus of the Year and will be giving an address at his alma mater, University of Chicago Divinity School on May 2.  The title of the address is "A Report from the Front Lines of a Movement Under Siege".  Dr. Kinnamon will be speaking in Indianapolis on April 6 for the State Council of Churches in Indiana–with hope that his contributions help encourage new ecumenical ventures in the future.  On July 1, Dr. Kinnamon will give the keynote address and public lecture for the triennial meeting of the National Council of Churches in Australia.  He will also be the featured instructor for a week-long seminar in ecumenical and interfaith relations, sponsored by the Center for Ecumenical Studies, in Australia and New Zealand.  At the end of the month of July, Dr. Kinnamon will be the keynote presenter for a national assembly in Sri Lanka to celebrate 100 years of ecumenical work in that country.


    Dr. Mark S. Markuly - Dean

    Dr. Mark S. Markuly, the School's Dean, appeared on KIRO Radio's Luke Burbank show on March 13 and 14 for two twenty minute segments regarding the Papal transition. The interview on March 14 is available here, as well as last month's interview following Pope Benedict XVI's resignation on Monday, February 11, here.

    Dr. Markuly has been a member of the ACTA Foundation's Board of Directors for several years. This month, Dean Markuly traveled to Chicago to work with the Board on funding endeavors related to creative Catholic Adult Education initiatives throughout the world. The ACTA Foundation was founded in 1957 by a number of Archdiocese of Chicago Priests with a dynamic Vatican II vision.





    Lisa Gustaveson, MNPL Lisa Gustaveson, MNPL, the School's Program Manager for the Faith & Family Homelessness Project, was featured on the cover of Real Change News' Annual Report for her participation in the One Night Count (read more about that event and the Project here) on January 25.

    The caption reads: "Sounding the Gong: Lisa Gustaveson of Seattle University's Faith & Family Homelessness Project takes a turn hitting the gong in front of City Hall Friday, January 25. Each ring represented a homeless person counted during this year's One Night Count. The gong sounded 2,736 times." Photo by John Williams, Real Change



     Rabbi Anson LaytnerRabbi Anson Laytner, the School's Interreligious Initiative Program Manager, had a "Letter to the Editor" pubished in the March 22 issue of Commonweal magazine, below.

    In addition, Rabbi Laytner had over 40 people attend his session “The Search for Meaning in Suffering” at this year's Search for Meaning Book Festival on March 9.  For Laytner, it was a great way to test-market his evolving ideas on God and the meaning of suffering.  Based on participation and comments received, Laytner believes his presentation was well-received and he had a good time sharing his work-in-progress—enough so that it might actually inspire him to get back to finishing the book!

    “Our Other Ancestors” - Commonweal, March 22
    Donald Senior’s review of Jon D. Levenson’s Inheriting Abraham (“Our Father,” February 22) traces the problems Levenson identifies in calling Abraham the common father of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, given that the figure of Abraham evokes multiple meanings for each faith. Senior mentions other possible shared roots: Nostra aetate finds common ground in the creation; Levenson suggests Adam and Eve as an alternative; and Jewish tradition considers the Noahide Covenant to be our common bond.
    I suggest one more: the Pharisees. They were the progenitors of Rabbinic Judaism, and their beliefs color Judaism, Christianity, and Islam more than we care to admit. Belief in the hereafter, resurrection of the dead, teachings about the messiah, concepts of God and prayer, the post-biblical stories we Jews call midrash that found their way into the Qur’an—all these and more can be traced to the Pharisees. Dare we say that the Pharisees are our common ancestor?
 - Anson Laytner   Seattle, Washington


    Hannah Hunthausen We're happy to welcome Hannah Hunthausen as interim Stewardship Assistant during Chelsie Hanner's maternity leave. Hannah graduated from Gonzaga University in 2011 with a degree in French and minor in International Relations and History. She spent the 2011-2012 academic year teaching English on a Fulbright Grant at a high school in the suburbs of Paris is now considering graduate programs in Teaching and/or French. As Hannah's last name suggests, she is grandniece to Archbishop Hunthausen, and "Uncle Dutch" is her great uncle.




    Conference - Drea Chicas, MATL Student

    Current Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership student, Drea Chicas, shared some of the School's 2013 Search for Meaning Book Festival art expression stations in a workshop she presented the week of March 18, at the first annual ALDES El Salvador Human Rights Conference for the LGBTQ issue in San Salvador.

     Click the thumbnail image to view the full event poster.


     Carolyn Dougherty, Class of 2013Carolyn Dougherty, Class of 2013 in the Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling - now Master of Arts in Relationship & Pastoral Therapy program, was nominated this month for Seattle Unviersity's Center for Service and Community Engagement's Spirit of Community Award. Seattle University faculty and staff as well as community friends nominated graduate students who show thoughtful leadership, dedication, integrity, humility, and who serve with compassion and soul.

    Carolyn also attended a special “ACT Boot Camp” in Reno NV (ACT = Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) the week of March 18. The Boot Camp was attended by over 350 practitioners from around the world, including Ireland, Australia, Belgium, and Nigeria and consisted of 37.5 hours of training over four days.
    ACT is part of what is known as the “third wave” of cognitive behavior therapy. The core conception of ACT is that psychological suffering is usually caused by an antagonistic relationship between human language and cognition and the control of human behavior by direct experience. Psychological inflexibility which bolsters this antagonism emerges from experiential avoidance, cognitive entanglement, and attachment to a conceptualized self, loss of contact with the present, all of which can result in a failure to make behavioral choices in accordance with core values. ACT is supported by extensive basic research on an associated theory of language and cognition, Relational Frame Theory. ACT posits that trying to change difficult thoughts and feelings as means of coping can be counter-productive. Technologically, ACT uses traditional behavior therapy techniques, as well as others that have recently emerged from outside these traditions, such as cognitive defusion, acceptance, mindfulness, values and committed action.

     Lorenzo Herman, SJLorenzo Herman, SJ, in the Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership program, was asked by the Northwest Leadership Foundation to review and evaluate 60 applications for Gonzaga University's "Act Six: Leadership & Scholarship Initiative". Lorenzo had the opportunity to meet the scholarship recipients as well in Tacoma. "What an honor to get to know these outstanding young leaders through their words, community service, and academic rigor," Lorenzo shares. For more information about "Act Six", visit their website here.


    Sarah Wahlen - Master of Divinity Student

    Sarah Wahlen, current Master of Divinity student, accepted an offer this month for a full-time faculty position in the Theology Department at Holy Names Academy, beginning in the fall of 2013. Sarah will be teaching Theology to students in grades 9-12. In addition, Sarah serves as Assistant Coach for Holy Names Academy's Gymnastics Team.


    Hannah Hochkeppel, MDIV - Current Student

    Hannah Hochkeppel is the newest addition to the School's graduate assistant team, supporting the Interreligious Dialogue Initiative.  Hannah is a first year Master of Divinity student, coming to the School with a background in mental health counseling as well as many years of ministry experience.  She has worked with a wide variety of groups including inner-city youth and children with special needs.  Her goal is to work in parish ministry developing elementary curriculum for religious education.  Hannah also hopes to design programs that are inclusive to people from all walks of life, especially children with special needs.  In the meantime, after 1.5 months on the job, she is doing great work in conjunction with School faculty, staff and students.





    Bjorn Peterson, Alumni 2012 Bjorn Peterson, Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership 2012 Alumni, was accepted this month into Arizona State University's PhD program in Community Resources and Development. In addition, he has assumed the position of Executive Team Coordinator at University-Community Partnership for Social Action Research.










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