Welcome to Thriving

Who We Are

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 in the George Fox University 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

Trisha Welstad

Trisha Welstad, MDiv

Executive Director, Institute for Pastoral & Congregational Thriving

Trisha has served as the executive director of The Leadership Center, coaching women and men on vocation and leadership since 2012. Trisha has her doctorate in Leadership and Global Perspectives from Portland Seminary and is an ordained elder in the Free Methodist Church. Trisha directs The Institute for Pastoral and Congregational Thriving at Portland Seminary, is the director for Theologia: George Fox's High School Youth Theology Institute, and serves as project faculty for the doctorate in Leadership and Global Perspectives at Portland Seminary. Trisha’s vision for the world is for all people to activate their unique identity and calling, welcoming one another to play and work together in mutually honorable, hospitable and generous ways that create healthy and sustainable relationships with God, self, others, and the planet.




Hannah Souter

Assistant Director, Institute for Pastoral & Congregational Thriving

Pastor at New Hope Church

Hannah Souter is the Assistant Director for Theologia. She is a graduate of Portland Seminary and attended George Fox University for her undergrad. Hannah also serves as Community and Spiritual Formation Pastor at  New Hope Church in SE Portland. Hanah grew up camping, hiking, and romping around the Pacific Northwest. Not much has changed :)