Religious leader will take on new role at Pacific next fall

The Rev. Chuck Currie will join Pacific University next fall as director of the Center for Peace & Spirituality and university chaplain.

Currie, a leader in interfaith nonprofit work in the arena of social services, currently serves as senior minister at Sunnyside Church and University Park Church in Portland.

He earned his master of divinity degree from Eden Theological Seminary in 2006 and is working to complete his doctor of ministry degree from Chicago Theological Seminary. He also attended Pacific for a time in the 1980s. He is ordained in the United Church of Christ.

Working with people across faith traditions, Currie helped found two shelters for homeless youth and families in the Portland area and assisted in the development of the Multnomah County Interfaith Outreach Office.

He has received the Distinguished Service and Leadership Award from the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, the Blessed Are the Peacemakers Award from the World Council of Churches and the Vollum Ecumenical Humanitarian Award from the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon.

He also is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post’s religion section.

At Pacific University, Currie will head the Center for Peace & Spirituality, which was founded in 2012 to support students’ study, reflection and action in a spiritual context. To date, the center has focused on partnering with organizations at Pacific and in the community and on bringing speakers and activities to campus.

Founding Director and Distinguished University Professor Dave Boersema plans to return to the classroom. He touted Currie as the ideal person to lead the center.

“He is really keen on working with students directly both in the classroom … and out of the classroom. He is far more knowledgeable than I about religious traditions and has vast interfaith connections both locally and nationally,” Boersema said. “If, at the start, I had been asked to hire someone to direct the center, hands down it would have been Chuck.

“I am genuinely thrilled and excited that Chuck will be coming back to Pacific in this new role.”

Support for students is particularly important as Pacific University continues to grow, said Sarah Phillips, director of the School of Social Sciences.

“As we serve more and more diverse students, spirituality and religion plays a more important role to them,” said Phillips. For example, she noted the growing population of Muslim students who need appropriate campus space for prayer.

Currie will teach a 2013-14 winter course in the public health program focusing on the intersection of religion and healthcare. When he starts work full-time, he also will teach courses in the university's comparative religion program.

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