Eileen Mejia, communication studies faculty, will lead a retreat for Universal Unitarians in Seabeck, Wash., in May 2015.
Applied theology alum Linda Ross Swanson has published her first book, Wisdom Under the Bridge: The Prophets from Skid Row.
Swanson believes that the stories told in letters from former addicts living on the streets will appeal to all individuals because "we all have our own story, whether we are rich, poor, homeless or homeowners."
In their letters, while battling their inner demons, the men and women explain how advocates for the homeless and the addicted worked hard to find them employment and housing. They show how they became contributing members of a society which once looked down upon them.
Swanson uses the Jewish tradition of the ethical will, but changes it to her personal idea of a "wisdom will." The letters are meant to pass down life lessons and wisdom to future generations, and ease loved ones' grief when they die.
"After finding sobriety, meaning and purpose, these individuals are helping others get their lives back," Swanson says. "They offer profound insight and advice by example."
Linda Ross Swanson holds a master's in applied theology from Marylhurst University. She is certified in grief and loss counseling and education through the Association of Death Education and Counseling.