Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I'm excited to share the news that I've been named the new Associate Director of The Westar Institute, one of our nation's most important academic bodies focusing on the critical study of religion. For many, the work undertaken by the Westar Institute is a beacon of hope to anyone wishing to embrace a spiritual life that has more intellectual integrity. The Westar Institute is best known as the home of the Jesus Seminar.
Just recently The Westar Institute relocated from California to the campus of Willamette University. Dr. Stephen Patterson, Geo. H. Atkinson Professor of Religious and Ethical Studies at Willamette University, is the director of The Westar Institute. We've known each other both from Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis and Salem's First Congregational United Church of Christ.
You can read more about my appointment on the website of The Westar Institute. I hope that all my friends and colleagues will consider becoming a supporter of The Westar institute either as an associate member or as a contributor. Biblical scholars can apply to become Westar Fellows.
And make sure you become a fan on Facebook!
I look forward to working with all those associated with The Westar Institute - but particularly with the membership and the churches that take advantage of the educational programs we offer.
In addition, I look forward to continuing my work toward a Doctor of Ministry degree at Chicago Theological Seminary and will also be transferring my church membership to Ainsworth United Church of Christ in NE Portland, where our family lives. Ainsworth UCC is a multi-racial, open and affirming, just peace church with a long tradition of active community involvement. I will retain my standing as an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ.
Rev. Chuck Currie
Read the press release from The Westar Institute below the fold:
Rev. Chuck Currie Named Associate Director Of The Westar Institute
The Westar Institute announced today the appointment of The Rev. Chuck Currie, a United Church of Christ minister nationally recognized for his work on social justice issues and with social media, as Associate Director. "This is a wonderful opportunity for me to support the work of one of our nation's most important academic bodies focusing on the critical study of religion," said Currie. "For many, the work undertaken by the Westar Institute is a is a beacon of hope to anyone wishing to embrace a spiritual life that has more intellectual integrity." The Westar Institute is best known as the home of the Jesus Seminar.
The Westar Institute is a member-supported, non-profit research and educational institute founded in 1986 and dedicated to the advancement of religious literacy. Westar's twofold mission is to foster collaborative research in religious studies and to communicate the results of the scholarship of religion to a broad, non-specialist public.
Dr. Stephen J. Patterson, Geo. H. Atkinson Professor of Religious and Ethical Studies at Willamette University, is the director of The Westar Institute. "The Westar Institute recently relocated to the Willamette University campus in Salem, Oregon and we are poised to enlist scholars from across the country and around the world to engage in public scholarship for the common good," said Dr. Patterson. "Rev. Currie will help us to become better equipped to bring into the public forum the considered views of biblical scholars whenever the Bible is invoked on behalf of this or that cause."
The Westar Institute will launch a new project - The Bible Seminar - this November. The Fall Meeting of The Westar Institute will take place November 17-19 in Berkley, CA.
Currie earned a Master of Divinity degree at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis and is currently working toward a Doctor of Ministry degree at Chicago Theological Seminary in the area of public theology. He has previously served as the Acting Minister of Salem, Oregon's First Congregational United Church of Christ, the interim minister of Portland, Oregon's Parkrose Community United Church of Christ, and as the director of community outreach at Portland's First United Methodist Church. Before attending seminary, Currie worked with a number of Oregon and national organizations that address issues of homelessness, poverty and health care. "His experience as a non-profit manager with a background in the critical study of religion is just what we need," added Dr. Patterson.
Currie started one of the first progressive Christian blogs in 2003 and is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post. He has appeared on ABC's World News Tonight, FOX News, NPR and other national media outlets. Currie won the Vollum Humanitarian Award from Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon in 2003 and a Blessed Are The Peacemakers Award from the World Council of Churches in 2004. In 2009, he was an invited guest of President and Mrs. Obama to a holiday reception at the White House. Rev. Currie is married to Liz Smith Currie, a policy advisor at Multnomah County. They live in NE Portland with their twin 7-year old daughters, Katherine and Frances.