FNW Director Charles "Kim" Anderson
I’m a big fan of The
Big Bang Theory, a TV comedy that is in its sixth season. It’s about a bunch of dysfunctional physicists
and one engineer, really smart people, who bumble and stumble through
life. One of the lead characters, Dr.
Sheldon Cooper, has a special place in his living room. It’s the far left side of an old leather
couch that gets just the right amount of heat, light, breeze from the window, view
of the TV, etc. It’s Sheldon’s place and some of the most hilarious
segments of the show have Sheldon feeling out of place if he’s not sitting in hisplace.
In July, after being in our Fuller Northwest office - our place - for the past 27 years, we’ll be
moving to a new office and classroom space just south of the Northgate Mall,
our new place. It’s just six miles north of Mercer St.,
where one usually exits to get to our current office and classroom on the north
side of Queen Anne Hill . It will be
about 10 minutes quicker, however, to get to our new campus driving those six
miles north of the city center and Mercer St.
That’s the way it is about place: the familiar is comfortable and secure
but sometimes moving into the unfamiliar and challenging offers tangible
I’m often astonished at the bravery of our students when I
hear the stories of their special calls to ministry and realize how much security
some are giving up to follow the urging of the Holy Spirit into full-time
Christian service. I’ve been here long
enough to know how that translates into many brave acts as one transitions from
one ministry to another, from secular work to the church, each change requiring
one to draw upon a reservoir of faith and courage.
One of our senior adjunct faculty at Fuller Northwest, Dr.
Bryan Burton, just went through a change of place. He accepted a call to a church in Florida and
moved fairly quickly so that his first
Sunday in his new church was Easter. He
wrote me an email a few weeks ago telling me how he was fairing. While he has gone to new churches in the past
and moved several times in his years as graduate student and pastor, I had the
sense that Bryan hasn’t quite forgotten Seattle as his place.
The same thing happened to me when I went to College in
Portland. Fall of my Freshman year was
spent trying to get my head around making my new place a home, of sorts, for
the next four years of my life anyway.
Surprisingly, it happened. When I
go back to walk through the campus that my wife Nancy and I know so well, it
still has the sense of place for us, despite new buildings and faculty. I know this will be the case for Bryan and
his wife Caroline as well. Sometimes it
just takes a little time for place to settle in.
That’s what life for all of us is going to be in a few
months. Our move in July will be a
challenge, that’s why our summer offerings are a little sparse this year. Trying to manage a move amidst a full
schedule of classes was a challenge we couldn’t meet this year in our new
slimmed down staff model. Are we
apprehensive? Yes. There are lots of parts and pieces to put
together to pull something off like this move.
Are we excited about what this move will bring? YES!
This new facility has lots of free parking, many services for students
within walking distance (it’s just a block and a half to the Northgate Mall
food court). There is a major rapid
transit hub across the street from our building, exits off of I-5 to both
regular and express lanes are prolific, we are six miles north of the “Mercer
Mess” which has been challenging for all of us.
Our new facility has lots of room for our library and triple the space
for community in our new “Café.” We’ll
have two classrooms with a folding wall separating them. The smaller of the two will be a multi-purpose
room for class, study, a chapel, and a preaching laboratory. Somebody told me the other day that after
being in the same place for 27 years, this is like a toddler moving up to “big
boy pants.” We’re happy, like many new
parents, that that day has finally come for Fuller Northwest.
Our hope and our dream for our new place in Seattle is that
it will be a blessing to students our alumni and the community as a whole. We hope that it will be a place to gather and
provide a much better haven for study and learning. We hope that it will continue to attract
those who are excited and a little overwhelmed about being called to ministry
and want the best of what Fuller Seminary has to offer. We hope those students who might have to
drive a littler further than our current facility will not feel out of place in
our new place, missing the rumble of the Akido class and noise of the bike
& fitness shop that has been under us.
My hope is that it will be a place of respite and become a home, of
sorts, for those students who have shown the courage to say “yes” to the Holy
Spirit and take this wild ride that is being called to professional ministry.
We are working on having a pre-open house for
any students, alumni or prospective students who are interested in “tasting and
seeing” our new site. Check your email
or our Fuller Northwest website in the next few weeks for more information.