Who We Are

Dr. Nijay K. Gupta

Nijay K. Gupta, PhD

Nijay K. Gupta (PhD, University of Durham) teaches New Testament at Portland Seminary; he also serves as a doctoral faculty associate at Trinity College Bristol (UK), and as a visiting instructor for the summer program at Regent College (British Columbia). He has taught in higher education for 10 years, and he recently received a pedagogy grant from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion.

Gupta has written five books and several dozen academic journal articles and book essays. Three of his books are biblical commentaries aiming to educate and inspire pastors and laypeople toward personal formation. He is currently finishing a book on Paul's theology of faith, and coediting (with Dr. Scot McKnight) a summary of scholarship entitled "The State of New Testament Studies."

Gupta previously served on the writing team of the Missio Alliance blog and contributed to WorkingPreacher.org. He regularly preaches at churches in the Portland metro area and speaks to Christian groups about biblical interpretation and spiritual formation. When he is not in the office, he enjoys fair trade coffee, watching and playing soccer, cycling, watching superhero movies, and hanging out with his family. Check out his personal blog: cruxsolablog.com.

Roger Nam

Roger Nam PhD

Nam arrived at Portland Seminary after stints in both youth ministry and corporate finance. As a scholar, he focuses on the historical and social contexts that surround the Bible’s textualization. His work is primarily on understanding the nature of economy in the ancient Near East, as reflected in biblical and extra-biblical texts.

Secondarily, his publishes on Late Bronze Age civilizations, social scientific approaches to the Bible and inner-biblical exegesis. In 2012, Nam completed his first book, Portrayals of Exchange in the Book of Kings (Leiden: Brill, 2012), which examines the social structures that undergird the economy of ancient Israel.

He is presently completing The Theology of the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) as well as a technical commentary on Ezra-Nehemiah for the Old Testament Library (Westminster John Knox). He is also a grant principal for Theologia, The George Fox University Summer Theology Institute.

Leah Payne

Leah Payne, PhD

Leah Payne (PhD, Vanderbilt University) is assistant professor of theological studies at George Fox University and Portland Seminary. She is also a senior fellow at the Louisville Institute and a Faculty Fellow at the William Penn Honors Program.

Her first book, Gender and Pentecostal Revivalism: Making a Female Ministry in the Early Twentieth Century (Palgrave, 2015) won the 2016 Pneuma: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies Book Award. Her second book explores the development of political theology in American Charismatic Christianity. In 2015, she and three other colleagues received a Lilly Endowment, Inc. High School Youth Theology Initiative grant to co-found Theologia: The George Fox University Summer Theology Institute, which began in 2017.

In 2017, she and four additional colleagues received a $1 million dollar grant from the Lilly Endowment to create an Institute for Pastoral Thriving at Portland Seminary, which began in 2018. She currently serves the Foursquare Church as a commissioner on the Foursquare Education Commission. Her work analyzing religion and popular culture has appeared in The Washington Post and Christianity Today.

Erica Ramirez

Erica Ramirez, PhD

Erica Ramirez is a third-generation Pentecostal from San Antonio, Texas, who is passionate about many of the Pentecostal worship and pneumatology. She is ABD at Drew Theological School, concentrating in Religion and Society. In general, her academic projects concern the work of myth and ritual in Pentecostalism and the efficacy of religion in women’s lives. As of this year, she is Director of Applied Research for the research wing of Auburn Seminary.

Erica has published work on the development of Pentecostal charisms in Annual Review of Sociology of Religion, and on Pentecostals and politics in The Washington Post. She is currently completing a chapter on Latinx Pentecostalism for a forthcoming Oxford Handbook on Latin American Christianities (OUP, 2019).

Erica doesn't get tired of deep conversations, Cakebread Cellars cabernet, the books of Ruth and Esther, introspecting or singing.

Trisha Welstad

Trisha Welstad, MDiv

Trisha Welstad (MDiv, Azusa Pacific University) is passionate about investing in leaders to see them become all God has created them to be. As an ordained Free Methodist elder, Trisha has served with churches in Los Angeles and Oregon, leading as a pastor of youth and spiritual formation, a church planter, and as a co-pastor of a church restart.

Trisha currently serves as leadership development pastor at Northside Community Church in Newberg. For six years she's directed The Leadership Center, partnering with George Fox and Wesleyan Holiness churches. The center is a network facilitating the development of new and current Wesleyan leaders, churches and disciples through internships, equipping, mentoring and scholarship.

Trisha is one of five grant principals for The Institute for Pastoral Thriving with Portland Seminary and also serves as the director. In addition, she and three of her colleagues received a grant to begin Theologia: George Fox Summer Youth Theology Institute for high school students. Both Thriving and Theologia are supported through the generosity of the Lilly Foundation and encourage the vitality of the church through providing established and potential leaders with forums for theological depth, exploration and holistic care.

Trisha loves living in, serving in, and enjoying the outdoors of the Northwest with her husband Troy and their son William.

Loren Kerns

Loren Kerns, PhD

Loren Kerns (PhD, King's College London) enjoys his family, photography, music, running and hiking with his wife, OSU Beaver football in the autumn, and Jesus! Having received his PhD from King's College London, with Dr. Markus Vinzent, Kerns’ expertise and research interests are in Patristic historical theology, Philo of Alexandria, Classical and Hellenistic Greek moral psychology, and passions and the soul in antiquity.