Celebrating ?Religious Leadership? Release

Written by Hannah Crivello
October 16, 2013

Seattle Unviersity?s School of Theology and Ministry is proud to celebrate the outstanding achievement and publication of a major two-volume work on the topic of ?Religious Leadership: A Reference Handbook?, with fifteen of the ninety-seven contributors linked to the school, as well as edited by our very own Associate Dean--Dr. SharonHenderson Callahan.

For more than twenty-four years, Dr. Sharon Callahan has contributed to the school?s ethos and the unique way it embodies its values. The School of Theology and Ministry uniquely expresses the Seattle University?s value of empowering ?leaders for a more just and humane world? through work in faith communities, denominations, the corporate marketplace, counseling and therapy, education and more. Dr. Callahan has served as lecturer, assistant professor, associate professor and, for the last 13 years, the school?s Associate Dean for Academic Programs & Student Life. Throughout that time, and in addition to her teaching and work with students, Dr. Callahan has researched, presented and published on leadership?topics such as ?Women, Leadership and Diversity?; ?Creating a Space in Oneself for the Other?; ?Shifting Images of Church Invite New Leadership Frames?; ?The Missional Church and Leadership Formation? and more.
Four years ago, Dr. Callahan, was approached by Sage Publications to produce an academic work around the topic of ?Religious Leadership.? Sage has an international reputation as a publishing house for academic, educational and professional markets. Dr. Callahan was serving as president of the Academy of Religious Leadership, of which 2013-2014 is her final year, and a colleague had recommended that the publishing house approach Dr. Callahan--because of her research and extensive work with students around the area of leadership.

Dr. Callahan recalls the proposal and some of the initial work that went into the two-volumes:

?I submitted a preliminary sketch, listing some potential focus areas with several names of scholars known for their work in the field. I insisted that we needed people from various religious traditions to contribute to the work, and hopefully more than one person from each of those traditions, so that a variety of viewpoints could be experienced in any given tradition. I personally invited more than 107 contributors. Most said yes almost immediately, because they could see the vision of such a two volume work offering both accessible chapters and also delineating a comprehensive bibliography for further study. Each author was asked to write for an undergraduate audience, and each was advised that seminaries and schools of theology and ministry would also be likely candidates for this text. Since its release, I've found that parishes and congregations are also interested in purchasing the two volumes, because they are so comprehensive.?

Dr. Callahan, in conjunction with an elected editorial board, provided consultation to the 97 contributors throughout the process, to ensure the works? highest quality. The contributors very much kept their audience in mind, every step of the way.

Contributor Dr. Gretchen Gundrum shares her hopes for the work?s audience of students and professional ministers:

?It was a privilege to be asked to contribute to this two-volume work because of its content--a subject important to me--and because of the caliber of its many contributors.??We are living in a time of paradigm shift concerning religious practice and understanding. While the roadmap tells us where we've been, together we are charting a course for the future.??No one can predict quite where it will lead, but the collective wisdom in this text can be seen as?a pretty impressive GPS to help us move forward. My hope is that it will encourage and stimulate not only additional scholarship on the subject, but also provide practical applications so that people are supported in their search for God, encouraged in their development of spiritual communities that flourish, and deepen the connections between various religious traditions.?

Dr. Gundrum was asked to contribute on the work of Karen Armstrong, one of the foremost historians of religion. Dr. Gundrum shares:
??Dr. Callahan asked me specifically to write this chapter, ?Karen Armstrong: A Journey Toward God?, knowing how much I've appreciated Armstrong's work.?Armstrong represents a woman who found her voice despite considerable adversity and?professional obstacles.?She pursued truth as she experienced it and has had the courage to look deeply into religious beliefs and traditions, shedding light on the context and evolution of many long-held religious truths.??In the course of determined exploration, she has elucidated and defined threads that unite spiritual seekers the world over and continues to educate worldwide on the importance of compassion for world peace.??She inspires me and I hope that others will be equally inspired by her integrity and work.?We all need role models and Armstrong is exceptional.?

Fifteen of the contributors are faculty or scholars from Seattle University?s School of Theology and Ministry. Dr. Callahan shares that was not just a coincidence:

?I wanted people to think outside the box of ?congregational/ temple/ synagogue/ parish? focused religious leadership to broader areas that have demanded that people lead from a deep spiritual and religious core. I am grateful that so many scholars from within the Seattle University community accepted the contribution invitations, as they individually provide extensive research and contributions in their respective fields and relating to the future of leadership.??

The two-volume work with over 700 pages of content produced by almost 100 contributors took two years to construct, before going into production December 2012 and released June 2013. The volumes are available in hardback, but also electronically, so anyone with a lending library, such as Seattle University?s Lemieux Learning Commons, can offer the entire two volumes online.

Contributors from Seattle University?s School of Theology and Ministry: ?

  • Rev. Faustino M. Cruz, SM, PhD ? Core Faculty: Associate Professor of Practical Theology and Leadership
  • Gretchen Gundrum, PhD ? Adjunct Faculty: Psycho-Spiritual Development?
  • Rabbi Anson Laytner ? Staff: Interreligious Program Manager
  • Valerie Lesniak, PhD? Core Faculty: Director of Formation and Associate Professor of Spirituality
  • Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, PhD ? Associate Professor: Christian Ethics
  • Jeannette Rodriguez, PhD ? Professor: Liberation Theologies, Social Analysis, and Relationship and Pastoral Therapy

Contributors that are closely linked to Seattle University's School of Theology and Ministry:?

  • Ted Fortier, PhD - ?Seattle University College of Arts & Sciences - Associate Professor: Anthropology, Sociology and Social Work
  • Bill Grace - author in the school?s Search for Meaning Book Festival; founder of the Center for Ethical Leadership in Seattle
  • Christie Lynk, MAP ? Adjunct Faculty to Seattle University?s College of Arts and Sciences, Phenomenological Psychology; Faculty at Seattle School of Theology and Psychology; co-facilitator at Whidbey Institute, Powers of Leadership
  • Raza Ul-Mustafa, PhD - Adjunct Faculty to Seattle University?s College of Science and Engineering; member of the school?s interreligious dialogue collective; editorial board member for the works
  • Fr. Vince Pastro - Pastor of Parish of the Holy Spirit; contributor to and supporter of the school?s Spanish SALT curriculum (LINK)
  • Anthony B. Robinson - ordained United Church of Christ minister; President of Congregational Leadership Northwest; and part of founding the school?s Certificate of Post-Graduate Studies in Pastoral Leadership; Adjunct Faculty, Pastoral Leadership
  • Kyle Small, PhD -? Adjunct Faculty, Missional Leadership; Associate Dean and Associate Professor of Church Leadership at Western Theological Seminary
  • Rabbi Daniel Weiner - Rabbi at Temple de Hirsch Sinai; Adjunct Faculty in areas of Judaic studies for the school; member of school?s Shemanski committee for well over 10 years

Throughout every degree program offered by Seattle University?s School of Theology and Ministry, and within almost every course, students directly or indirectly intersect the question of what it means to be a spiritual, ethical leader in the 21st century, working toward a more just and humane world. The school embodies an intentionally ecumenical and interreligious character as well as ethnic and cultural diversity. Seattle University is known for its engagement in social justice, uniquely living out its Jesuit-Catholic character for the greater good. For more information on the school and its degree programs, please visit seattleu.edu/stm/degrees.