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Whitworth Theology Department Annual Newsletter 2018

Gerald Sittser (1989-present), Professor of Theology, Senior Fellow in the Office of Church Engagement

Dear Friends of Whitworth:

I write this newsletter with joy. Much has happened over the past two years in our department that gives glory to God, serves our students, advances Whitworth's mission and encourages me. Our veterans, like me, continue at their posts, and our newer faculty are taking Whitworth by storm and continuing the good work of our department. As I draw closer to retirement, I could not be more grateful.

Today I will finish packing up my office. Most of my books will spend the summer in storage (what I need for research is in my home library). In late summer we will be moving into a new wing, attached to the back of the chapel, that will house the theology department and the Office of Church Engagement. For the first time in many years we will be together, and we will be able to look out our windows and see the campus. The addition is lovely: full of natural light, wide hallways, a seminar room, a student lounge, two workstations and 13 offices. Thanks be to God!

As I mentioned last year, my role has changed at Whitworth. I am now teaching only two or three courses a year in theology. In addition, I am serving as senior fellow and resident researcher in the Office of Church Engagement, working with my dear friend Terry McGonigal and two recent graduates. Last year we received another $2 million from Lilly, in addition to the $1 million we received four years ago, to continue the work of church engagement. This includes the Summer Fellows Program, the Academy of Christian discipleship, the Whitworth Institute of Ministry, learning communities and much more, all in partnership with local and regional churches. Lilly has invited us to apply for still another $1 million grant, which will focus on working cooperatively with a network of local pastors and churches to prepare leaders to plant churches. The dream of establishing and strengthening the relationship between local/regional churches and Whitworth is bearing fruit.

I am currently working on a book, The Third Way: How the Early Christian Movement Formed People in the Faith(working title only), which is scheduled for release next year under the Baker label. I have been doing other kinds of writing, too, as well as speaking at churches and on campuses. What a rich life.

Our family is thriving. Our three girls and their husbands (Pat's Morgan and Taylor, and my Catherine) have all moved back to Spokane. John and his family still live in Seattle, and David and his family in Durham. We have four grandchildren, and two more on the way.

Whitworth is enjoying good years. Our department is thriving. I am deeply grateful to God. I hope we can somehow stay connected with you, too. We all play a role in a larger drama of redemption. I celebrate that partnership with you.

Jerry Sittser