Posted by: kunzkm | October 15, 2011

More Occupy movements!

There will be a second meeting for Berkeley Seminarians to discuss what actions we wish to take in regards to solidarity for Occupy Berkeley, Occupy Oakland and Occupy SF.

When:            Monday, October 17, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Where:           PSR Cafeteria, 1798 Scenic Ave., Berkeley, CA

Items to be discussed:

  • Results of FCCB meeting on Oct 13th
  • Dates of Non-Violent Protest Training
  • Coordination of joining the Interfaith Clergy Action in Solidarity on Oct 24
  • Discuss various solidarity options to include join with civil disobedience actions
  • Share personal experiences of going to occupations and General Assemblies
  • Other topics as presented…


There is also a Berkeley Seminarians Solidarity for Occupy Wall St


Last week a group of Bay area clergy gathered to plan an Interfaith Clergy Action in Support of Occupy Wall Street SF.

WHEN: Monday, October 24, 2011 – 10:30 am
WHERE: Gather at Justin Herman Plaza (Steuart and Market Streets in San Francisco)
WHO: Clergy and religious leaders in identifying clerical clothing

“The event will begin with prayer and ritual to rededicate ourselves to justice and prepare ourselves spiritually. We will then walk to the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank (101 Market St.) to join in solidarity with “Occupy Wall Street – San Francisco” where we will offer our blessings and commitments of support as part of that witness for justice. We will then have an opportunity to go in smaller groups to key sites throughout the financial district for prayer.”

Rev. Lois Mueller (MDiv, 1997), pastor at Plymouth United Church of Christ, who called the meeting, also helped to organize the 2003 protest against the war in Iraq. In 2003 clergy united across the Golden Gate bridge, creating one line from Marin County to San Francisco.

Other PSR Alums at the meeting included Sandy Gess (MDiv, 1976), Joellynn Monahan (MDiv, 2003), Bea Morris (MDiv 2002), Carolyn Collins (MDiv, 1997), Bob Howell (MDiv, 2000), and Eileen Lindsay (MDiv 1980).

Read more about the Occupy Wall Street movements here:
Occupy Wall St (in New York) and Occupy Together (all over the country) and We Are the 99% (blog/gallery)

Read more about clergy actions related to Occupy Wall Street here:
Judson Memorial Church action Sunday, October 9
Interfaith Worker Justice
The Protest Chaplains

Are you participating in related actions? Send us news!

Posted by: kunzkm | October 6, 2011

We’re back!

The PSR alumni/ae blog is back in (virtual) print after a brief hiatus. We will be doing more profiles of alumni/ae and the work they (you!) are doing in the world. If you know of a great alum or alum-lead project that you would like to highlight, please send their information to me. If you know of an organization or project that PSR should know about, send that my way as well!

It is important to share these stories about the impact of PSR-educated leaders in the world. Not only do we spread the good news about what PSR and PSR alums are doing, we also engage in important cross-discipline and inter-faith conversations and inspire each other with the power of our collective work in the world.

Welcome back!

Katherine Kunz, PSR Director of Alumni/ae Relations

Posted by: kunzkm | February 24, 2011

Alumni/ae Blogs

There is a wealth of information and expertise residing out there in the PSR Alumni/ae. Recently, we have started collecting blogs kept by alums. The next few posts will highlight some of these sites. PSR Alum Emily Goldthwaite Fries (MDiv 2004) is spending this year in Jerusalem with her husband, Tim.

While Tim is in school at the Hebrew University’s Rothberg International School, Emily is working as missionary through the United Church of Christ.

Emily has been offered an opportunity to assist the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) as the assistant to the director of the Lutheran schools.  While she is a missionary through the United Church of Christ, she placed with this Lutheran partner organization.  The Lutheran Schools are an educational ministry of the ELCJHL, which embrace and empower students and families in the region from all religious, economic and social backgrounds.

Follow their fascinating journey here:

Do you have a blog? Send it to me at: and spread your wealth of knowledge!

Posted by: kunzkm | December 7, 2010

December in Berkeley

Christmas celebrants

December is a much-anticipated month for many. But the television and greeting card images of this holiday season are often very different from what we experience. So, here is one snapshot of what December is like here at PSR.

While the Christmas cards extol a snowy winter wonderland, here in Berkeley, we expect the gift of water. Rain, while damp and inconvenient at times, also brings the gift of life. The bay area becomes green again, new flowers are spotted in the neighborhood, and the sound of rain on the roof is welcomed back. Perhaps new life and refreshing waters are some of the things we await during advent. For the many homeless who call the bay area home this can be a challenging time. We are proud of our many alums who serve these populations, including Thom Longino (MDiv 2004) and Monique Ortiz (MDiv 2006) with San Francisco Night Ministry and Megan Rohrer (MDiv 2005) with WELCOME.

Final Exams
It can be easy to forget the intense pressure of finals once you leave an academic institution. It is its own unique reality of trying to schedule your creativity, energy, and even (God help us) inspiration. While the stress feels unwelcome, it is an apt analogy, one might say even experience, of facing the darkness this season – and having faith. May the camaraderie of fellow classmates and the knowledge that so many have gone before, help students persevere through one more exegesis, one more oral exam, and one more final exam.

Children anticipate gifts, families anticipate reunions, many anticipate a break from shopping and preparing, and church communities anticipate welcoming the light of  Christ. Here at PSR we anticipate few other things as well: a welcome break in the academic cycle, end-of-year donations (keep ’em coming!),  and the excitement of Earl Lectures 2011. We are eager to welcome alumni/ae and friends to campus for the annual Earl Lectures, January 25-27. We are excited to hear the words and ideas of Robert Reich, Kim Bobo, and Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, among others, as they address the pressing issue of economic justice in today’s world. Amidst our many holiday preparations, we are busy scheduling workshops, making banquet preparations, and coordinating room reservations.

Is there any spiritual practice better for this season then being right where we are at? Whether we are in Berkeley taking exams, in Iowa ministering to congregants, or in Japan teaching students, Christmas calls to us to welcome the darkness as well as the light, the sun as well as the rain.

Posted by: kunzkm | November 24, 2010

It Gets Better…

Pacific School of Religion is known for its willingness to stand up for the marginalized in society. So it’s no surprise that PSR joined the “It Gets Better” Project.

The “It Gets Better” Project was launched in September by Seattle columnist Dan Savage in response to the news of suicides of gay teens who had experienced bullying and harassment. Savage and his partner produced a video with words of reassurance that “it gets better.” To date, more than 5,000 similarly supportive videos have been posted on the project Web site at On October 19, Pacific School of Religion trustees, faculty, staff, and students gathered in the Chapel of the Great Commission on the PSR campus to add their voices to the chorus around the country proclaiming to gay youth that “It Gets Better.”

In the video, clergy, seminarians, and laity are led by Roland Stringfellow, director of ministerial outreach at the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry (CLGS), which was founded at PSR in 2000 as the first LGBT center at an American seminary. Individual PSR and Graduate Theological Union community members also speak out, including Sharon MacArthur, chair of the PSR Board of Trustees; Trustee Linda Jaramillo, speaking in both English and Spanish; and Admissions and Recruitment Director Nicole Naffaa, who provided the initiative for the video project.

Posted by: kunzkm | November 15, 2010

Pastors’ Reception

Riess speaks to pastors at the reception (photo by Bruce Cook)

We have a lot of great conversations here at PSR. I often feel lucky to work in an environment steeped in important discourse about religious leadership, theology, and social justice.

A week ago we hosted a particularly important and relevant conversation at PSR: a conversation between churches and the seminary; between local church pastors and the leadership of Pacific School of Religion.

PSR President, Riess Potterveld, asked the group what they felt PSR could offer local congregations. I was impressed by the wealth of insightful comments and keen observations about churches and the current work of religion in the United States.

Among the things we heard, one thing stood out: We need greater collaboration at all levels of religious life. We need collaboration and respect between the seminary and the church. We need collaboration between denominations and congregations.  Collaboration needs to extend beyond religious organizations to not-for-profit and for-profit organizations.  As this work becomes more complex, we will all benefit from pooling good ideas, rich resources, and deep experience.  Some of this is already happening. How can it be further supported?

We heard church leaders say: we are already collaborating with other denominations and churches. As well as “Don’t forget about the wisdom church leaders can offer to the seminary.” We will not forget, for you are the ones on the “front lines” so to speak, ministering directly to diverse populations using not only your theological training but your own creativity and perseverance.

We hope that PSR is already a valuable asset to the community and to churches. How else do you envision collaborating with PSR? What are the trends that you see affecting your ministry? Would you like to join us in future conversations? Drop me an email at

Posted by: kunzkm | November 11, 2010

Veterans’ Day at PSR

For the first time in recent memory, PSR held at Veterans’ Day chapel service on Tuesday, November 9. The event was organized by a group of veterans who are current GTU students. At the blessing to begin the service, members of the PSR community who are veterans, have family members who are veterans, or know a veteran were asked to stand. With the whole community standing, our connection to men and women who serve was remembered and blessed.

MDiv student, Daniel Borysewicz, convened the service. Communion was celebrated by MCC minister and campus pastor, Jim Mitulski, along with Swedenborgian minister, Rev. Susan G. Turley. Susan created the documentary, “Broken Hearts Lifted Spirits: Mothers of the Fallen Speak Their Truth,” after the death of her son in Iraq. In the movie she traces the faith and grief journeys of mothers whose children have died at war. The film was screened at PSR Tuesday evening.

Hal Bergman (MDiv 2010) gave the sermon, recounting some of his experiences as an Air Force pilot in Vietnam. While we honored the memory of the men and women who have served this country, and all countries, we also prayed for peace and an end to all war.

We each have a story to share. I am the daughter of a U.S. Army officer and Vietnam Veteran. I am also a former youth minister on U.S. Army bases in Europe. On Tuesday, I appreciated the opportunity to wrestle with my complex history and remember the deep roots I share with the men and women of the Armed Forces. Are you at veteran? Do you have a story to share?

Posted by: kunzkm | October 25, 2010

Earl Lectures and Robert Reich


Earl Lectures 2011


Earl Lectures registration is now open!

This year’s topic is Our Daily Bread: Faith, Work, and the Economy and features keynote speaker, Robert Reich, former U.S. secretary of labor, who is professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley and the author of the new book “Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future.” Read more about him on his blog.

This weekend he also published an op-ed in this Sunday’s S.F. Chronicle. He writes compellingly about a disturbing trifecta that is affecting democracy in the United States. First, income is becoming more concentrated in  the hands of fewer citizens. Second, these people and companies are flooding the government with money in support of legislation that benefits their interests. Third, more citizens are becoming angry and disenchanted with government as taxes rise and services decrease. As leaders of communities of faith we see the realities of what Reich describes on a daily basis. The 2011 Earl Lectures is an opportunity to engage Reich’s perspectives from Washington D.C. with the experiences and theologies of activists and religious leaders. What is our role in creating economic and spiritual abundance? How can we help care for all people, regardless of their income or impact on D.C. politics?

Posted by: kunzkm | October 21, 2010

A New Day at PSR!


PSR group Spring 2010

PSR Staff, Faculty, and Students celebrate (photo by Bruce Cook)


On September 7, PSR welcomed 215 
students to the start of new academic year.

On October 1, PSR welcomed its 11th President, Riess Potterveld.

On October 17 and 18 the PSR Board of Trustees will met on campus.

On October 28 the PSR Alumni/ae Council will meet.

Our new community is settling in – I hope you will remain a part of it! Stay up-to-speed here or by checking the news and events on our website

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