For Seattle Pacific community, faith is foundational
Seattle Pacific community members express their Christian faith through lives of service to others.
They are building relationships and creating change around them, from working in technological innovation at Amazon to providing training for business owners in Rainier Valley and literally keeping the lights on for Seattle residents.
SPU alumni, students, faculty, and staff enact change in the world from a foundation of thoughtful Christian faith nurtured in classrooms, residence halls, and other gathering places. Here are a few of the ways individuals live faithfully, inspired by their campus experience to address the challenges of the world.
Associate Professor of Sociology Karen Snedker finds that Seattle Pacific’s faith focus directs her to seek solutions with her research. Snedker’s new book, due out this summer, examines problem-solving courts. It grew out of a class trip she took with Seattle Pacific students to study Seattle’s court system. Snedker has always been motivated by faith, but SPU’s community challenges her to link faith with practice.
“I include more possible interventions and solutions in my classes than I would have before,” she says. “Now it’s, ‘What am I going to do about it, what is my church going to do about it, and what is SPU going to do?’”
For Associated Students of Seattle Pacific President and senior Mary Liu, Seattle Pacific has been a space to explore faith, both in the classroom and outside it. She learned about putting her faith into action in a class on vocations.
“The belief that God is calling me connects Christianity with real-life, practical questions, like what am I going to do with my job and what is my career going to be?” she says. “I can find ways to use my gifts that impact not just my church but also people around me.”
Mark Tegtmeier ’11, who is now a user-experience designer at Home Depot Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia, recently gave a TEDx talk in Colorado Springs, Colorado about how cities could be designed in ways that are more hospitable to diverse and low-income communities. In many cities, he pointed out, design projects prioritize the wealthy while creating challenges for lower-income communities, which often also consist of people of color.
At SPU, Tegtmeier created a close community with his SPU neighbors, while the urban location let Tegtmeier and his friends explore city life. They would often meet to pray and then head downtown to pray for strangers.
“There was a lot of learning about what living out faith meant, in terms of just spending time together in community with one another,” he says. “Outreach to the people around you really became an overflow of that community.”
Teylar Greer ’09, MA ’17, says SPU gave her the experience to see how faith can and should be lived out. She volunteered at the women and children’s shelter of Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission and worked there after college and through seminary. Greer now works as executive assistant to SPU’s vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
“I got to see that faith wasn’t just something that led me to go to church and chapel and worship events,” she says. “Faith is also knowing what’s going on in other places, learning about disparity, and asking, ‘What should the church be doing about this?’”