MU is celebrating the donation of a rare Torah scroll — and you’re invited

Comments Off Written on January 27th, 2015 by
Categories: Chapel, Events, Students

When students arrive for chapel on February 5, they’ll know something different is about to happen. The lights in the Student Center will dim, accentuating a brightly-lit stage dominated by an 89-foot-long scroll. The crowd will be peppered with new faces: members of Portland’s Jewish community, local Hebrew professors, pastors, university presidents, board members and Multnomah alumni. Everyone will be there for one reason: celebrating the official dedication of a rare Torah.

Influencing future scholars


Multnomah is one out of 40 seminaries nationwide receiving a Torah from Ken and Barbara Larson.

The Torah, a parchment scroll on which the first five books of the Old Testament were written, is more than four centuries old and was likely used in a synagogue in eastern Europe.

Last fall, Ken and Barbara Larson, who collect ancient manuscripts, announced their decision to gift the valuable artifact to Multnomah Biblical Seminary. The Larsons purchased several scrolls, all of which are hundreds of years old, in Israel. Multnomah is one out of 40 seminaries nationwide receiving a Torah from the couple.

Ancient Asset Investments, a brokerage firm dealing in rare biblical artifacts, has been assisting the Larsons with the donation process. Todd Hillard, the firm’s owner, said his clients had a vision for placing the Torahs in leading seminaries. “They have a deep passion for seminary education, and they want history to influence future scholars,” he said.

‘A testament to Multnomah’s commitment to the Scriptures’


Hebrew student Daniel Somboonsiri will be reading from the Torah scroll during the dedication chapel.

Multnomah’s scholars are already bubbling with enthusiasm over the generous gift. “The students are very excited,” said Biblical Languages Chair and Hebrew professor Dr. Karl Kutz. “It feels like we’re participating in a piece of history. When you’re reading from a scroll that someone read from 400 years ago, that’s pretty cool.”

Students will begin reading the scroll at the Torah dedication. After University President Dr. Craig Williford and the Larsons share a few words, Hebrew students Becca McMartin and Daniel Somboonsiri will read from the scroll out loud. Dr. Kutz will close the ceremony by giving a message from Psalm 19, where David wrote about the central importance of God's Word in our lives.

“Receiving this scroll is a testament to Multnomah’s commitment to the Scriptures,” said Kutz. “It’s a pretty significant object.”

And although that object is more than four centuries old, it’s durable enough to be used frequently for decades to come.

“We intend to use the scroll as an object of study in and of itself,” said Kutz. The document has corrections made by scribes, which opens doors to many more unique learning opportunities. “We can learn about scribal work, the transcription process and more,” he said.

Making history tangible

Dr. Kutz and students analyze a fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Dr. Kutz and students analyze a fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Following the dedication chapel at 10 a.m., an expert in ancient manuscripts will lead a colloquium* at 11 a.m. in B1. Listeners will be treated to the full history of MU’s scroll and even get to handle the document themselves. The session will conclude at noon.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity for our students to interact with another historical manuscript,” said Kutz, who headed two Dead Sea Scrolls projects at MU in 2013 and 2014. While he admits students can feel disconnected when delving into the intricacies of how the Scriptures of yesterday became the Bible of today, he’s confident the scroll will help bridge the gap. “The Torah takes the history of the biblical text from an abstract expression to something tangible,” he said.

Event details

Everyone is invited to attend the special chapel at 10 a.m. in the Joseph C. Aldrich Student Center and the colloquium* at 11 a.m. in B1. If you would like to RSVP or ask questions about these events, contact Joy Kruger at 503-251-5361 or

*A conference at which a scholar or expert presents papers on, analyzes and discusses a specific topic.

Chapel Series Tackles Sex, Lies and Recovery

Blake Williams, Multnomah alumnus and Executive Director of Pure Life Alliance, invites you to next week's chapel series.

I can still hear Dr. Pamela Reeve’s words: “You have a serious issue. You’ll need to stay out of ministry for at least a year.” These were not the words I wanted to hear when I was four months from graduating from Multnomah Biblical Seminary with my MDiv. I had been grappling with sexual sin for almost two decades, and I had just confessed it all to Dr. Reeve. Now, more than 14 years later, God has turned my story into one of sexual redemption and hope. Read the rest of this entry »

What Is Lectio Divina?

Comments Off Written on December 11th, 2012 by
Categories: Chapel, Faculty, General, Students
What Is Lectio Divina?

Lectio Divina Chapels at Multnomah are, simply, times of focused and prayerful attention to short passages of scripture.  This is done in small groups of 4 to 6. The point is to slow down, to sit quietly, and to consider God’s Word, praying for insight and a willing spirit to hear and obey.  Repeated readings of the short passage and prayerful consideration of the text give students an opportunity for prolonged exposure to a passage of scripture, placing themselves under the authority of God’s Word and to consider God’s will for their lives that day.

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Constitution Day 2012

Comments Off Written on September 17th, 2012 by
Categories: Chapel, Financial Aid, General, Pray For MU
Constitution Day 2012

Every year, as a part of the requirements for dispersing Federal financial aid to students, Multnomah must observe Constitution Day. Some years we hold panel discussions or a gathering around the flagpole in front of Sutcliffe Hall. This year students and faculty will be gathering in the Prayer Chapel for a time of prayer for the nation.

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Technology: Help or Hindrance to Christian Living?

Technology: Help or Hindrance to Christian Living?

Last Thursday in chapel, a moderated Staff and Faculty Panel discussed the issue of technology and how it effects our lives. For a modern student body that uses text messaging, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube as naturally as they would use their own limbs, the ideas presented were challenging thought-provoking. Read the rest of this entry »

Reflecting the Light of Christ

Reflecting the Light of Christ

Light in a Dark Place

"Have you ever been in a very dark space... [where] you couldn't see anything?"

Multnomah's president Dr. Dan Lockwood began his spring 2012 Convocation Chapel address with a story about a trip to New Zealand with his daughter, Elise. Preparing for a black-water rafting excursion, Dr. Lockwood and Elise donned wetsuits, climbing harnesses, and headlamps. Then they proceeded to climb down a 150-foot shaft to a steep tunnel that led to an underground river where a rubber raft awaited them. After traveling a half mile down the river, their guide told them to turn off the headlamps.

Listen to the spring 2012 Convocation Chapel. Read the rest of this entry »

Christmas Choir Chapel

Christmas Choir Chapel

Ambassador Choir Sings Christmas Carols

As I watched choir members sing Christmas Carols in chapel – their postures at attention, eyes trained on Professor Stan Campbell – and felt the concentration of each singer, I was taken back to my own choir days as a student here at Multnomah. I enjoyed remembering the friends I made while singing, touring, and falling asleep on the bus as we traveled from church to church. Despite being a group of very diverse peoples, there was a special kinship we all felt in using the musical giftings that God gave us to bring encouragement to men and women along the West coast.

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Jongeward Journeys

Jongeward Journeys

"I came across a quote the other day that said, 'We had the experience, but we missed the meaning'. Today I want to share with you the most difficult experience I have ever had. But I want to share with you the meaning... God has a way of turning tragedy into victory. Our story is a story of loss and of pain, but also a story of great gain."

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Veterans Day Chapel 2011

Comments Off Written on November 7th, 2011 by
Categories: Alumni, Chapel, General
Veterans Day Chapel 2011

This Veterans Day, November 11, Multnomah University will be having a special chapel service. Chapel will feature alumni Stu Weber, pastor of Good Shepherd Community Church and best-selling author. Weber served as a Group Intelligence Operations Officer in the Army during the Vietnam War. There will also be a military color guard present at chapel. Multnomah is very excited to have Mr. Weber back on campus, and we hope you can join us for the color guard presentation.

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Alumni Awards Chapel 2011

Alumni Awards Chapel 2011

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” Prov. 31:25-26

This year's Alumnus of the Year award 2011 recipient, was presented to alumna Joyce Kehoe, who is by known to those who love her best as a woman of supreme character. Read the rest of this entry »