Although it is a relatively new entity on Pacific’s campus, the Center for Peace and Spirituality will soon be known as the home to one of the most nationally recognized reverends.
Beginning fall 2014, Rev. Chuck Currie will begin his position as director for the Center for Peace and Spirituality as well as university chaplain. He will relieve the current director for the center, professor David Boersema.
Currie attended Pacific University in the 1980’s, where he first met Boersema. The two remained in contact throughout the years and Boersema paid much notice to Currie’s success in the Portland area, as well as throughout the country.
Currently serving as a minister to Sunnyside Church and University Park Church in Portland, Currie is no stranger to both the religious and the spiritual.
“That’s his passion: to connect with people on a spiritual level,” said Boersema.
So when Boersema and Currie were speaking on the phone over the summer about the current activity in the Center for Peace and Spirituality, Boersema’s decision to get Currie hired as director was not a difficult one.
“I could tell as we were talking on the phone he was lighting up,” said Boersema.
From there, Boersema brought his idea to administration, along with proof that hiring Currie would have “zero budget impact.” Because Boersema’s usual courses had been taken over by adjunct professors, he will return to them next year and no new faculty will have to be hired.
According to Boersema, Currie accepted the offer without hesitation and from there, he had individual meetings with University President Lesley Hallick, Provost John Miller, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs Mark Ankeny, Dean of Arts and Sciences Lisa Carstens, and Director of the School of Social Sciences Sarah Phillips. Currie signed his contract shortly after.
Boesema was adamant that Currie was more than qualified for his new position and explained, “the religion end of stuff really isn’t me.”
Furthermore, Currie will be able to bring a new angle to the courses he will teach at Pacific based on public health and religion. He is well-rounded in his advocacy for local homeless populations and work in a strategic planning process to make Parkrose Community United Church of Christ “open and affirming” to the LBBTQA community.
“He feels that ministry is a form of teaching, anyway,” said Boersema. He added that the reverend’s methods were an effective form of what Currie deems, “spiritual activism.”
But although UCC is a more liberal, open church, Boersema said that Currie is simultaneously “very sensitive and aware of conservative, Christian attitudes.”
To say the least, Boersema is excited to welcome an old friend to the Center for Peace and Spirituality. Someone who he said would be the equivalent of Lebron James as a basketball coach.
“He’s just fantastic,” said Boersema. When it came to Currie’s hiring, “in this case, it was a pull.”
Currie also knows the Obamas on a personal level and Boersema laughed as he remembered saying to the new director on the phone, “If we hire you, I want Michelle Obama as our Commencement speaker.”