; charset=UTF-8" /> DSF Announces Third Partner School : Connecting Voices
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DSF Announces Third Partner School

     In the early 1990s, Seattle University launched a bold initiative: to form an ecumenical school to prepare ministers for a range of Protestant denominations alongside education for Catholic religious workers. Their innovation almost twenty years ago grew into one of the most lively and effective M.Div. programs in the United States. The School of Theology and Ministry has long been recognized as one of the best new locations for ministerial preparation by leaders in theological education.

     Disciples have been present at the School of Theology and Ministry from its beginning. Dr. Richard Cunningham was one of the first faculty members to join STM in order to make its ecumenical dream a reality. A lifelong member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and a graduate of Pacific School of Religion, Dick Cunningham had served the Disciples’ national offices as executive director of youth ministries and had pastored in Washington and California. He joined STM in 1995 and has served as director of field education ever since. Over the years, a number of Disciples students have enrolled in and graduated from STM.

     Now, DSF and STM have entered into a partnership. Disciples M.Div. students at the School of Theology and Ministry will receive DSF tuition scholarship support, similar to what has long been offered to students at Claremont School of Theology and Pacific School of Religion. STM has worked closely with the Northwest Region through STM’s Disciples Outreach Team, in order to provide Disciples mentors and pastoral formation to each of the students, and DSF will work with STM to strengthen these services. For the years ahead, Dr. Marvin Eckfeldt will direct the pastoral formation of Disciples students at STM. Marv served as pastor of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Kent, Washington, until his retirement.

     Dr. Mark Markuly, dean of the School of Theology and Ministry, celebrated the new partnership at DSF’s luncheon at the General Assembly this past July. Joining the celebration was a table full of Seattle Disciples, STM graduates, and current STM students.

     This new partnership will allow Disciples Seminary Foundation to expand its ministry in line with its mission: to provide ministerial education throughout the Pacific Slope. Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry will enable DSF to serve more Disciples and congregations throughout Washington and the entire Pacific Northwest.

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