Center Message September 2022

September 8, 2022


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Hi Everyone – I’m Michael Trice and it is a genuine privilege to serve on a Team as Director at the Center for Ecumenical and Interreligious Engagement in the Office of the Provost at Seattle University.  It’s a pleasure to welcome you to the beginning of the Academic Year and to our September Newsletter. 





Seattle University’s vision statement encourages this university to become the most innovative and progressive Jesuit and Catholic universities in the world.  President Eduardo Penalver’s leadership to Re-ignite our Strategic Directions through 2027, includes a vision of educational excellence for cultivating the whole person, and for empowering leaders for a just and humane world.  The SU Vision statement asks this university – and I take it to mean this Center too – “to not only imagine but to shape a Seattle University that is recognized for its excellence, purpose and impact.” 


Now, please consider yourself invited to a Center that is always growing, dynamic, striving.  And, today, the Center for Ecumenical and Interreligious Engagement does this work and lives by this vision right now, because the needs in the world are great, and the conversations for future education and formation are happening this month, not in two years. 


Today, a deeper ecumenical unity and religious collaboration must respond to the serious and significant challenges in local communities, in our region, and in the world.  Considering the rise of incivility and hate speech in our communities or the climate crisis we are witnessing in local neighborhoods around the world.  I’m watching religions convene around the world – such as the World Council of Churches meeting right now in Karlsruhe, Germany.  Their challenge to this Center, is to live fully, be collaborative, and educate, now. 


Our theme this year is to imagine and shape – excellence, purpose and impact, in all that we do.  In this newsletter, we begin with a featured podcast with our Provost Dr. Shane Martin, in which he considers how education liberates us in our care for the whole person and the collective good. 


Next, the Center for Ecumenical and Interreligious Engagement is advised by leaders that include students, alumni, community partners, staff, faculty, and additional leaders far and wide.  Some of these have created a video for you on imagination that I believe reveals the heart of excellence that I’m mentioning here.   


There is a lot of new, strategic programming this year.  For instance, we welcome a new series of lunch webinars, beginning on September 22nd with Dr. Mark Lloyd Taylor, and his newest book – So Fill Our Imaginations, where Dr. Taylor reimagines church-in-the-world and the relationship between justice and imagination alongside three of his former STM students.  Follow the links for these and other webinars each month in the fall.   


We are building together our workshop series.  The first workshop is facilitated by inspiring Spiritual Director, Carla Orlando,  on the Art of Spiritual Direction, its Foundations, Practice and Application.  More information is forthcoming so visit the website in September.   


On October 5th -- The Center is also extraordinarily pleased to work alongside the Seattle Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the United Way of King County, in Advancing Racial Equity by co-partnering to host LaTosha Brown, Co-Founder of Black Voters Matter.  Access of voice and vote, and pursuing policies that intersect with race, gender, economic and other aspects of equity, are a concern for any of us who care about unity within community, and so I invite you to attend this event in person or virtually.  Register in the Newsletter below. 


We all need creative projects to sustain our imaginations as well.  So, this summer I began to build a grandfather clock.  Here it is.  As I’m sanding and fitting wood, and adjusting metal, I’m reminded how nothing we do is ever in isolation to others.  Quite the opposite: The way the wood is sourced, the metal for the mechanism, the distribution of timber, everything up to the last coat of paint and the first chime requires we act in the plural.  Even when we create in a solitary space, we always participate with others.  


Like a clock, the Center team imagines and shapes ideas for purpose and impact because we assume the plural. In this way, we are hosting a Summit with Lutheran partners this fall, convening ecumenical partners, and developing a Religious Literacy course with the Parliament of the World’s Religions.  We are also developing a new relationship with The Interfaith Observer, (TIO) one of the finest popular interreligious and intercultural digital publications of its kind for use in local communities. TIO will become a curricular resource to what we have planned.  In the meantime, Paul Chaffee, TIO’s founder and respected leader in the field, will continue writing his “Interfaith News Roundup” each month, so look for it here and at the top of the Center’s website. 


There is more to say.  I want you to have a sense of how we start at the beginning of the 2nd year of this Center’s life.  There are so many reasons why this Center for Ecumenical and Interreligious Engagement thrives at Seattle University.  There is an art of encounter in what we do, as Pope Francis calls it, with a “heart open to the world.”  That’s certainly true.  Keep your heart open too. Here’s to an important academic year ahead. 


Thank you, 

Michael Reid Trice, PhD 

Spehar-Halligan Professor and Director 

Center for Ecumenical and Interreligious Engagement 

School of Theology and Ministry

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The Religica Theolab

The Center for Ecumenical and Interreligious Engagement includes our own theological laboratory: The Religica Theolab.  Visit today.