5 new columnists will share insights

Next Saturday marks the launch of Faith & Values, The Seattle Times' revamped weekly page on faith, religion, spirituality and values.

The page will continue to feature a main religious-themed story most weeks. But other elements will be new or different, including the introduction of five new columnists.

Among the changes are:

• Two new semi-regular features, Culture Corner and Good Deeds.

Culture Corner, which will run most weeks, will offer a snapshot into spirituality and popular culture, including listings of best-selling books, CD reviews, movie reviews or upcoming TV specials.

Good Deeds will be from and about readers — examples sent in by readers of recent actions they've seen or people they've met who've inspired them.

• The religion calendar will be a briefer listing of select events — book readings, concerts, revivals and other events of wide interest in the community.

• Most importantly, with last week's retirement of the Rev. Dale Turner after 21 years as The Times religion columnist, Faith & Values will introduce five new columnists — a Roman Catholic, a mainline Protestant, an evangelical Protestant, a Jew and a Muslim.

They will take turns writing a column in a five-week rotation and, occasionally, may collaborate on a column.

They are:

Patrick J. Howell

Howell, a Jesuit priest and dean of the School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University, will launch the new lineup with his column next week.

One of Howell's passions is engaging people in talk about "how we share our faiths together across the boundaries" — an interest evidenced by his leadership of a school that is unique in allowing students from both Catholic and Protestant traditions to pursue ministerial degrees together.

He hopes the column reflects that passion.

At the same time, he'd like to share what he loves about his own faith. "There's been so much negativity about the Catholic Church in the press," he said. "I'd like to say something about the rich heritage and beauty of the Catholic tradition."

And throughout, he said, he'd like his writing to reach people on a personal level — to "touch people's hearts and help them through their crises and periods of suffering."

Howell taught spirituality, sacramental theology and pastoral theology at Seattle University before becoming dean of the theology school in 2000. He received his doctor of ministry degree from Catholic University of America.

He is the author of several books, including "Reducing the Storm to a Whisper: the Story of a Breakdown" (Thomas More Press, 1985; new edition Ulyssian Press, 2000) and "A Spiritguide During Times of Darkness" (Sheed & Ward, 1996).

Mark S. Glickman

Glickman is rabbi of Congregation Kol Shalom, a Reform congregation on Bainbridge Island.

"I love being a rabbi," he said. "I love teaching Torah, I love the opportunities to touch people's lives during happy and sad moments. I love being a spokesperson for Judaism and the Jewish people."

He wants to do those things, as well, in his column.

In addition, Glickman intends to "challenge people to think in new and broader ways about religion, its role in society and its role in their own lives."

He hopes that "by presenting Jewish perspectives on issues we all face, I can encourage people to deepen their commitment to their own religion or help them begin to find their religious paths in the first place."

Prior to leading Congregation Kol Shalom, Glickman served at Temple Beth El in Tacoma for about seven years. He also wrote a regular religion column for The News Tribune in Tacoma, is the author of numerous magazine and journal articles, and is working on two books.

Glickman received his rabbinical ordination from Hebrew Union College — Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. Glickman is married to Caron Nelson Glickman. They have four children.

Patricia L. Hunter

Hunter is an associate in ministry at Seattle's Mount Zion Baptist Church — the church where her parents met, where she's been a life-long member, and where she served on staff as assistant pastor from 1981 to 1987.

Hunter has felt "a thirst for greater understanding of who God is" since childhood, when she read the Bible with a flashlight under the covers at night. She felt called to ministry but "struggled with what to do with this call," since she had never seen a woman in full-time ministry.

After finding out there were, indeed, female ministers in some Baptist churches, she went to seminary and eventually earned a doctor of ministry degree from Saint Paul School of Theology. She currently works for American Baptist Churches in the USA, dealing with benefits for pastors and congregations.

Hunter intends to bring her perspective as an African-American woman to the Faith & Values page. Women "see the world differently from men," and her own faith and theological framework have been shaped by issues of race, gender and class, she said. "I have experienced love and support from the church, as well as prejudice and oppression.

"In this column, I want to encourage those of faith to live in God's love and share God's love with others."

Aziz Junejo

Junejo is the host of "Focus on Islam," a 30-minute weekly show on cable TCI's Public Access Channel. The show, which has run for 15 years, recently was picked up by Bridges TV, a television network aimed at American Muslims nationwide.

Junejo's family was one of the first Muslim families in Seattle. His father was born in India and moved to Pakistan in 1948; his mother, who grew up in Indiana, converted to Islam shortly before they married. They arrived in Seattle in 1962.

Junejo, a Sunni Muslim, sees the column as an opportunity "to give people a window into a Muslim American, someone who's grown up in his country." He hopes to give readers "a better perspective on how a Muslim thinks and feels about the world around him or her."

Junejo, who also works at a local printing and publishing company, graduated from the University of Washington. He has traveled extensively throughout the Muslim world, delivering humanitarian aid to Bosnia in the early 1990s, and traveling to the Middle East, India, Pakistan and Malaysia.

He is married to Seema Junejo. They have three children and are expecting a fourth.

Mark Driscoll

Driscoll is pastor and founder of Mars Hill Church, a nondenominational evangelical church in Seattle.

Since its beginning in 1996, the church has grown about 60 percent each year and now draws about 3,000 people — many in their 20s and 30s — to its four Sunday services.

Driscoll, who believes in a literal interpretation of the Bible, says the focus of his columns will be "connecting the life and teachings of Jesus with contemporary issues and problems."

Also, he said, he would like to "bring a breath of comedy and hipness to what can be an otherwise dull religious discussion."

Driscoll is president of Acts 29, a "church-planting" network whose goal is to start 1,000 churches around the world in 10 years. The group has already helped found 100 churches in eight countries.

Driscoll, who grew up in SeaTac, graduated from Washington State University. He is the author of the book "Radical Reformission: Reaching Out Without Selling Out" (Zondervan, 2004), and is pursuing a master's degree in exegetical theology at Western Seminary in Portland.

He is married to Grace Driscoll. They have four children.

Janet I. Tu: 206-464-2272 or jtu@seattletimes.com