We develop incarnational leaders.
We train the head, heart, and hands of urban leaders to love their city and seek its peace.
Our dream is to see a global network of incarnational leaders equipped to create cities of peace for all people.
Our core values are shaped by the life of Jesus Christ. We understand the story of Jesus to be the full unveiling of God’s presence among us, the full expression of God’s saving action for all creation, and the purest revelation of what it means to be human. This story of the incarnation of Jesus calls forth and sustains a people with particular ways of life in the world.
We gather and equip gifted grassroots leaders from diverse backgrounds, giving ample space for those of us who are marginalized misfits and overlooked one-offs. From such delightfully quirky stock we are formed as missional communities profoundly centered and mutually supported in our commitment to serve among those most vulnerable in society.
We see from below. We do theology from below, reading the Bible with the excluded and damned. We practice spirituality from below, together learning to see and celebrate good news in hard places. We share a spirituality of imperfection that delights in the Spirit’s dance among awkwardness and disarray.
Cities are our classroom, parish, and playground. We recognize the global, urban and postmodern forces that shape the cityscapes in which we live and serve. We eagerly lean into the challenges and opportunities we see emerging in our urbanizing world. Our particular calling is to corners of our cities marked by poverty and violence – and neglected possibilities.
We are contemplative activists, and active contemplatives. All of our work is an attentive act of prayer, whether in the bustle of street life or in the quiet inner room of the soul. “Lord, teach us to pray.”
We recognize our own pain and the pain of others as the primary gateway of transformation. We are wounded healers; we recognize that if we do not transform our experience of pain we will transmit it. The way of the cross demands disorientation and loss on the way to renewal and life, both for individuals and communities.
We embrace asset-based approaches to personal growth and social change. We begin with God’s exuberant Yes rather than the world’s dismal No. We are continually amazed by the overlooked and neglected vitality to be tapped in unlikely contexts, and seek to employ emerging tools for unleashing such energy.
We are blessed to be peacemakers, seeking a true center that holds in a fractured, unjust, and violent world. We are committed to unmasking and unplugging from the mechanisms of violence (physical, spiritual, emotional) within ourselves, as well as in those people and places we serve. We explore and model real-world alternatives to violence – “beloved communities” of justice and embrace.
We follow the tradition of St. Francis who said, “Preach the Word always, and only when necessary use words.” Our commitment to the preached word is grounded in our deep trust that true words transform the world when spoken, acted, or even held silently in love. The world, especially the most vulnerable among us, is hungry for daring, holy and humble speech that bears witness to the reality of God’s mercy and grace.
We enjoy lyrical and poetic language as we seek the Word of God among us, retell stories of grace, and express good news. We listen for the music among us and around us. Our taste is more jazz than classical – informal, communal, conversational, coming in and from the margins to influence the center.
Amid the monumental challenges of our contexts, our worst mistake is taking ourselves too seriously. Humor is a staple of our life. We take every opportunity to celebrate. We risk; we fail; we laugh together with God at our fumblings. Wonder and curiosity take us around the next bend of our journey, and joy will carry us home.
Our gift is the way we see and celebrate Good News in hard places.
Street Psalms Staff:
Kris lives with his wife, Lana, and their two sons Grant and Mitchell in Tacoma WA. He has served in urban ministry since 1985 and is the founding director of Street Psalms. He earned a B.A. in English at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA, an M.Div. at Palmer Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA, and a D.Min. in Transformational Leadership for the Global City from Bakke Graduate University in Seattle, WA. Kris is also an ordained member of the Street Psalms Community.
Joel Van Dyke
Urban Training Collaborative Director
Joel Van Dyke has lived and served in Guatemala City since 2003 with his wife Marilyn and their children Joel and Sofia. Joel was the founding director of CTM Guatemala and now is secunded to Street Psalms from Christian Reformed World Missions (CRWM) to direct the Urban Training Collaborative. Joel earned a B.A. in Psychology and Social Work from Calvin College and his M.Div. with concentration in Urban Mission from Westminster Theological Seminary. He completed a D.Min. in Transformational Leadership for the Global City from Bakke Graduate University.
Interim Director of Operations and Communications
Justin lives with his wife, Amanda, and young son, Crosby, in Tacoma, WA, where they practice incarnational ministry as the live-in community chaplains of a low-income apartment complex. Justin received his B.A. from Augustana College in Political Science and Spanish, and his M.Div. from Luther Seminary.
Lana has served in urban ministry since 1981 in several cities as a volunteer youth worker, Young Life Metro Director, and operational staff for Street Psalms since 1999. When she’s not working as a critical care nurse, Lana continues to serve with her husband Kris at Street Psalms. The Rockes and their two sons live in Tacoma, WA.
2016-17 Street Psalms Board Members
Joel Zylstra, Board Chair (4 years)
Director, Center for Community Engagement and Service, Pacific Lutheran University
Michael Hillis, Vice President (8 years)
Associate Dean of Education, Pacific Lutheran University
Cefe Quesada, Treasurer (3 years)
Global Head of Information Technology Applications, Russell Investments
Ken Sikes, Secretary (4 years)
Pastor, Manitou Park Presbyterian Church
Rev. Kristy Roberts Farber (1 year)
Pastor, Mercer Island Presbyterian Church
Executive-Director, Street Psalms