Members' News


The winner of the 2018 SSCS Founders’ Circle Essay Contest was:

Leonard McMahon, for the essay "John Woolman and the Practice of Truth"

Leonard is currently pursuing his doctorate in theology at the Graduate Theological Union with a focus on spirituality, theology, history, politics, and culture. Leonard holds a MA in Religious Studies from UC Santa Barbara, and an MDiv from Harvard Divinity School. His interest is in public theology and improving civic engagement, and he is also concerned with how these are affected by the advent of artificial intelligence. Through his nonprofit, Common Ground Dialogue, he works to bring diverse citizens into deeper conversation for the sake of our democracy. 

Leonard was awarded:
  • $250
  • A two-year membership in the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality, which includes a subscription to Spiritus
  • Recognition at the Society's annual meeting on Saturday, November 17th
  • Presented his essay at a special session of the AAR/SBL meeting in Denver on Saturday, November 17.

Honorable Mentions:
  • Ricardo Franco, for the essay entitled “Spirituality and Border-Crossing: Cassian and Anzaldúa on Prayer, the Spiritual Journey and Spiritual Discernment”
  • Paul Blankenship, for the essay entitled “ Wounds of Love: Homelessness, Suffering and Christian Spirituality”   
  • Elizabeth Anderson, for the essay entitled “Spiritual Discernment in a Deceptive World: Wisdom of Jacob of Serugh” 

On October 13, Philip Sheldrake and Sandra Schneiders delivered keynote addresses at Mysticism and Contemporary Life: A Conference in Honor of Bernard McGinn. The conference was hosted by the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Spirituality (ISCS) at the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas. The title of Schneiders' address was Experiencing the Risen Jesus: The Biblical Basis of Christian Mysticism. Sheldrake's address was Prayer in the Teachings of Julian of Norwich: A Journey of Desire. The conference began with Theology and Mysticism, a public lecture by David Tracy. [Thanks to David Perrin for the photos.]

Tracy and McGinn
David Tracy, Pat McGinn, and Bernard McGinn

Sandra Schneiders, David Tracy, Bernard McGinn
and Ronald Rollheiser, President of the Oblate School of Theology

On September 21 2018, Pilgrimage of Metropolitan Spirituality by Pan Yi Jung was announced as the Winner of Best Awards of Spirituality of the 8th Association Christian Publishers (ACP) Book Awards in Hong Kong. Here's the book's citation:

Pan Yi Jung, Pilgrimage of Metropolitan Spirituality (《相遇在都會靈程路》). Hong Kong: Christian Communications Ltd., 2016.

This book starts from the author's profound concern about metropolitan spirituality in Chinese churches. Therefore, it explores the Chinese urban context and discerns its spiritual needs and challenges. The Spiritual Exercises provides insights within the theoretical framework of each chapter. The language and spiritual practices of the Exercises are applied to the experiences of daily city life. In short, it is a methodological attempt to integrate practical theology with urban spirituality.

A video titled “A Jesuit with the People” featuring SSCS member Michael O’Sullivan, who is now based in Ireland, is available on YouTube. It narrates Michael’s extensive engagement in campaigns for social justice in Latin America in years past, and his frequent proximity to danger and to martyrs in Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador and elsewhere. At the conclusion, Michael makes a powerful statement about the need for a spirituality that is fully embodied. The 54-minute film by Peter McDermott may be accessed on YouTube by typing “A Jesuit with the People,” or by going directly to this link.

On May 11 and 12, 2018, SSCS members Diana Villegas, Chair of the SSCS International Relations Committee, and Pieter G. R. de Villiers, SSCS Past President, visited with Noel Burke, Rector of St. David's Church, Diocese of Barbados, to offer support to Codrington College in their effort to offer more training in spirituality.  Rev. Burke, SSCS member and Anglican Canon, also teaches spirituality at Codrington and invited the assistance of SSCS members.


Left to right: Diana Villegas, Pieter de Villiers, Susan de Villiers, and Rev. Noel Burke:

Left to right: Diana Villegas, Pieter de Villiers, Susan de Villiers, and Rev. Noel Burke

Rev. Burke flanked by his wife Hazel Burke and Rev. Michael Clarke, Principal of Codrington College (in red shirt), together with symposium participants:

Photo: Rev. Burke flanked by his wife Hazel Burke and Rev. Michael Clarke, Principal of Codrington College (in red shirt), together with symposium participants.


In November, SSCS Vice President / President-elect Glen Scorgie of Bethel Seminary San Diego was invited as an official observer to the international conference on Health of People, Health of Planet and Our Responsibility, a gathering of 37 participants/presenters and 22 invited observers convened by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences at the Vatican in Rome. According to Bethel University News, "The three-day event featured more than 40 academic papers by leading scientists, prominent health care authorities, government officials, and faith leaders. It also produced a declaration titled “Our Planet, Our Health, Our Responsibility,” signed by conference members including Nobel prizewinners, world-class scientists like Stephen Hawking, and prominent faith leaders like Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals in the U.S." The complete news article is available.



Updated 12/14/18