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We have just completed another Commencement Weekend, and each year this passage is bittersweet for me. Part of me is absolutely thrilled to watch our students walk across the stage and receive their diplomas. During that processional I remember so many great conversations, incredible shared experiences, and spiritually formative moments for so many of them. At the same time I grieve saying good-bye to good friends, these students who have made such an impact upon me.

And now we turn our attention forward as we prepare to host the 38th annual Whitworth Institute of Ministry (WIM). Our theme this year is "For Such a Time as This: Ancient Christian Wisdom for Postmodern Times." Our evening preacher is Carolyn Gordon, from Fuller Seminary, and our convocation speaker is James K.A. Smith, from Calvin College, whose book Desiring the Kingdom has received widespread acclaim. Our own theology profs Jerry Sittser, Karen Petersen Finch and Jim Edwards will each teach one morning in our bible study. It should be a great week and I hope you can join us.

After WIM my family and I will squeeze in some time for vacation, and then I am off to Japan (my first visit) to accompany 205 faculty members of Christian universities as we visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We will be in each city on the anniversary of the atomic bomb detonations that obliterated those cities. My role is to function as the pastor for this group. It will be a time of profound spiritual, personal and intellectual challenge. Please pray for us as we travel August 2-13.

I have now finished my 19th year here at Whitworth as the dean of spiritual life. I continue to find great joy each day in God's calling to pastor this community in so many challenging ways. Thank you for your continued interest and support in the Christian mission of the university.

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