First Congregational Church
The University of Theology and Spirituality,
& The Spiritual Care Association:
FCC -- Supporting Education and Lifelong Learning for the Last 147 Years
On June 17th, 1874 First Congregational Church (FCC) was organized in Tacoma, Washington. In June 1883, just nine years later, they constructed their first building, with a more permanent structure built in 1909. From the very start, FCC held education as one of its highest priorities.
They gathered their funds together and built a three-story, state-of-the-art Educational Wing in 1928. This wing had a dozen classrooms, a basketball court, and three stages to host educational plays and pageants. Although no longer in their original building, FCC continues to be a powerful advocate in the academic community by building and sustaining the University of Theology and Spirituality (UTS).
On September 13th, 2015, First Congregation Church held a special meeting with 16 people in attendance. The 12 voting members constituted a quorum. After a very supportive discussion, a vote was called to approve the starting of a University offering both online and in-person education. The vote was unanimous continuing their 141-year old passion for education.
It was decided the University would focus on five areas of education: Progressive Theology, Chaplaincy, Pastoral Training, Spiritual Direction, and Clinical Pastoral Education, which are still prominent today. That same 2015 vote also facilitated the creation of the Graduate Academy of CPE Supervision (GACS), a graduate-level clinical pastoral education training & learning center, with its first group of students joining the program in February 2016.
Over the years, some of those original founding members have gone on to other adventures. The Founders who continued to fix their eyes upon the horizon of the future as FCC launched the SCA UTS were, and continue to be, Reverend Nancy Wade, Ted Wiseman, Sue Wiseman, Miriam Carpmail, Sharon Schroder, and Reverend Bill Greaver.
Without FCC’s substantial contribution and investment in UTS, the idea for a University would never have left the discussion tables.
The SCA UTS will forever be grateful for these founding fathers and mothers who gave of themselves and bravely stepped out into the future with their dream of educating the next generation of leaders in the helping professions.
UTS set out to obtain their Washington Student Achievement Council Religious Exemption immediately upon launch. The Religious Exemption was granted on December 29th, 2016.
At that time, UTS ambitiously asked for and received permission for 15 different degree programs, including 3 Associates in Theology, 4 Bachelors of Theology, 2 Masters of Theology, 1 Masters of Divinity, 1 Doctorate of Divinity, 3 Doctorates of Theology, and 1 Chaplaincy Doctorate.
On April 24th of 2018, FCC’s UTS began conversations with the Spiritual Care Association (SCA) via Dr. Rev. Greaver and Dr. Rev. Hall.
On April 10th, 2019, an agreement was reached, and a working arrangement between the FCC owned Academy of Theology and Spirituality (AHTS), and SCA was formed. FCC’s Academy would receive a name change to the Spiritual Care Association University of Theology and Spirituality (SCA UTS). This partnership has launched the University into becoming one of the most innovative and unique spiritual care universities on the planet with the largest think tank of spiritual care providers in the world.
On March 10th, 2020, in order to add stability to the University and forever indebted to FCC, it became an independent organization with its own board of directors. At that time, the board of directors consisted of 3 representatives from FCC and three representatives from SCA, including representatives William Greaver and Eric Hall.
Today FCC’s University continues to value its partnership with SCA both in leadership and in relationship. Without SCA, FCC’s dreams would not have moved forward fast enough to sustain itself. FCC believes that it is within this partnership that their lifelong mission of education to future leaders continues and will continue to provide spiritual care education for many generations to come.
Both of UTS’s Chancellors continue to be involved heavily in both education and the church. Rev. Greaver preaches weekly at FCC, and his partner Co-Chancellor Rev. Hall also pastors a small church. They are both supported in their efforts by FCC and SCA in making UTS one of the best universities for educating our future men and women in the spiritual care helping professions.
Theodore (Ted) Wiseman & Sue Wiseman
Growing up and graduating from Colville High School, Ted Wiseman has a long history of service in the Washington area. He is incredibly passionate about helping those who have had trouble with the law. As a career, Ted chose to be a Parole & Probation Officer and later served as a Parole & Probation Supervisor for the Washington Department of Corrections. He also took up the mantle of being a Child Advocate for the Court Appointed Special Advocate (C.A.S.A.). He earned an undergraduate degree from the University Of Washington and received an M.A. in Social Services Administration from Pacific Lutheran University. A humble servant of the church, Ted has served in almost every position possible at F.C.C.: Moderator; Trustee Chair; Deacon; and has been instrumental in everything from church maintenance to the groundskeeping, never hesitating to pick up a broom or a rake. As a UTS Founder, he has held positions on the UTS Board of Directors.
Sue Wiseman has been very supportive of FCC’s passion for education, teaching for over a decade. As a young woman, Sue was a professional actress and learned to present her thoughts concisely and logically. She has taught, it seems, almost every child that has come through FCC either in Sunday school or as a youth leader. Sue held many church service positions as her husband Ted led the church as the Deacons chair and the church secretary. Sue values education and received her degree from the University of Washington. She also has held positions on the UTS Board of Directors as a founding member. Over the past ten plus years, Sue has also had a passion for the Heifer Foundation, which provides livestock to children and families in need worldwide. The Foundation also builds wells for villages that are in desperate need of water. Through the Heifer Foundation, Sue has personally seen that over a dozen young women from varying countries are able to receive education in places of the world where this would be a rarity. Sue has touched many people’s lives in a very compassionate and kind way. She has always been one of the University’s strongest supporters.
Sharon Schroder, a CPA, has been extremely beneficial to UTS with her work on the financial statements and budgeting during the University launch. Graduating from the University of Wyoming, she has had a history steeped in education. While living in South Dakota, Sharon taught and facilitated Native American culture classes on Lakota language, history, and heritage to inmates who spent time in the prison system. She has been an advocate for those that are disenfranchised; a strong supporter of young women in 3rd world countries, sending them to school through the Heifer Foundation; and continues to teach and serve people in positions she supervises. She currently works for a local college where she utilizes her accounting and CPA skills to assist students. As a UTS Founder, she has held positions on the UTS Board of Directors.