Recap: School Partnership on Homelessness Forum for UMC Clergy and Lay Leaders

September 29, 2016

The School of Theology and Ministry is built on values of spirituality and social justice with a dedication to ecumenical and interreligious relationships for the common good. In this spirit, the school’s new Center for Religious Wisdom and World Affairs is devoted to exploring the contributions religious wisdom can make, has made, and continues to make, in understanding and responding to the world’s most pressing social problems. Rooted in the university’s Jesuit commitment to create a more just and humane world, the Center weds theological scholarship with faith-based action, serving as a resource for School of Theology and Ministry students and faculty, lived communities of faith, nonprofit and government partners and the general public.

Building on the School’s past five years of experience with the Faith & Family Homelessness Project, the Center’s first focus issue is the complex problem of homelessness.

On Saturday, September 17th, Center staff facilitated a poverty simulation workshop (the 32nd such workshop provided by school staff) for a large group of clergy and lay leaders from the Seattle District of the Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Methodist Church as part of a day-long Homelessness Forum. Twenty-two clergy and over 80 lay people from at least 20 different churches attended the event, which was aimed at bringing the local UMC community “together to form a District strategic response to the crisis of homelessness in King County.”

It was a fantastic opportunity for United Methodist pastors, lay people, and School of Theology and Ministry faculty and staff to learn from one another in community. The simulation provided a platform for experiential learning, reflection, and plans for taking more focused and coordinated action with regard to poverty and homelessness.

Seattle District Superintendent Rich Lang shared his thoughts on the simulation and the local UMC’s relationship with the school: "I’m very grateful to Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry for their partnership and for doing fantastic public education around issues of justice. Their simulation on poverty is a lightbulb experience that motivates participants to seek solutions and advance the common good."

Center Director, Dr. Manuel Mejido, reflected: “The School of Theology and Ministry and our Center for Religious Wisdom and World Affairs are committed to fostering faith-based reflection and action around homelessness and related issues of human suffering. We look forward to further collaboration with the local United Methodist Church and other faith communities to tackle the complex set of issues before us.”

Learn more about the Center for Religious Wisdom and World Affairs >>