Events

Spring Thaw energizes, educates 650 students

Whimsical obstacle courses, lanky wooden structures and exotic Egyptian relics peppered campus. Youth Ministry Chair Dr. Rob Hildebrand and his youth ministry majors had spent months building props, planning games and booking entertainment. Now they waited. Anticipation hung in the air.

Buses and vans packed with youth groups slowly rolled into parking lots. Hildebrand watched as 650 high school students began pouring into campus. Then he began to cry.

“It was beautiful to see their energy and excitement over the work we put into it,” he says. “This event says to them, ‘You’re important to us, you’re important to the church, and we love you.’”

‘A catalyst for community’

Spring Thaw 15 Blog 1For Hildebrand, every piece of Spring Thaw is significant. The wild games, the powerful speakers, the silly comedy sketches and the rich theology seminars each play a distinct role in developing students during the three-day retreat.

“Some people think they should be in classes all day, but you can’t expect them to be able to sit down for 20 hours and listen,” says Hildebrand. “The truth is that we learn from watching people and interacting with them. Activities break down barriers between kids and their leaders. It’s a catalyst for community.”

Hunter Johnson, a junior from Mountainview Church, agrees. “I’ve been bonding with my youth mentor this weekend,” he says.

STcamel_featureimageStudents were treated to a variety of activities during the weekend, including bacon bonfires, real-life Mario Kart, a petting zoo, limo rides and a color war. April Fancher-McKinzie, a sophomore from Central Bible Church, loved meeting Curly, a towering camel who visited campus Saturday afternoon.

“Spring Thaw brings youth groups closer to each other, and we get to meet new people,” she says.

‘We’re learning from the best’

But Hildebrand doesn’t stop with games and entertainment. Spring Thaw hosts a main speaker who teaches four sessions during the event. There are also four theology seminars led by Multnomah professors.

STtheology_featureimage“The theology seminars are something I love about this retreat,” says Hildebrand. “Sometimes youth ministry can be shallow. But kids are deeper than you realize; they grapple with tough issues. This is a way they can hear from thinkers who have spent many years studying the deep issues of life.”

Fancher-McKinzie attended Stump the Prof, a seminar where Dr. Brad Harper answered students’ theology questions, which included:

  • How do you know if God speaks to you?
  • Is war ever OK?
  • Does God love something because it’s right or is it right because he loves it?
  • Can you be gay and be a Christian?
  • How does free will work when God is in control of everything?

“It addressed a lot of questions that come up in everyday life,” says Fancher-McKinzie.

Austin Thompson, a senior from Gladstone First Baptist Church, feels the same way. “The seminar was very beneficial to me,” he says. “It helped me understand the Bible more clearly.”

He was also impressed by the professors’ knowledge. “I feel like we’re learning from the best,” he says. “They are people to look up to.”

Supporting the work of the kingdom

Spring Thaw 15 Blog 2It’s Thompson’s second year at Spring Thaw, and he’s soaking in all the information he can. “I’ve only been a Christian for two years, so everything I take in is new to me,” he says. “I’ve become spiritually closer to God and am learning more of his Word.”

Hildebrand says that’s what Spring Thaw is all about. “This event allows us to utilize the assets the Lord has blessed us with to support the work of the kingdom in dozens of our area churches,” he says. “We’ve had people say, ‘Spring Thaw changed my life,’ but really it’s Jesus who changed their life.”

“You guys put a lot of effort into Spring Thaw,” says Thompson. “And it’s not about getting people to attend MU — it’s a chance for people to come together. I think that’s an amazing, selfless thing for a university to do.”

MU’s Torah unrolls new learning opportunities for students

Comments Off Written on February 6th, 2015 by
Categories: Events, Students

Thursday dawned wet and dreary, but it might as well have been Christmas for MU’s Hebrew department. As soon as people filed into the JCA Student Center that morning, they saw the reason: A 16th-century Torah scroll lay partially unfurled on stage, offering the crowd an enticing glimpse into the rich history of biblical transmission work.

MU president Dr. Craig Williford commenced the Torah Dedication Chapel by introducing the donors, Ken and Barbara Larson, who had flown in from Florida that morning.

“We can feel your enthusiasm in the air,” said Barbara Larson. “We’ve been impressed by your faculty and students, and we’re excited for what this Torah will do for the school.”

The scroll, which is durable enough to be used frequently for decades to come, will provide countless learning opportunities for MU students.

“We intend to use the scroll as an object of study in and of itself,” said Biblical Languages Chair and Hebrew professor Dr. Karl Kutz. “We can learn about scribal work, the transcription process and more.”

MacKenzie Williams and Chad Woodward are two students who will benefit from using the Torah, and they expressed their gratitude to the Larsons during the dedication.

“Thank you for this opportunity to grow as a Hebrew community,” said Williams. “This means a great deal to me.”

The gift means a great deal to Kutz as well.

“You can imagine I’ve been anticipating this moment for some time,” he told the crowd. The scroll, he said, represents many things: history, centuries of faithful copying, transmission work, and the enduring faith of God’s people. But most importantly, he noted, it represents an appeal. “This Torah is an invitation to a relationship with the living God…an invitation to me and you,” he said.

Torah_blog

Colloquium attendants encircled the room as the scroll was fully unfurled for the first time. View the full photo album on Facebook.

After the dedication chapel, the scroll was swaddled in cloth, tucked into a padded suitcase and transported to Bradley Hall for a colloquium with Ancient Manuscripts Expert Dr. Scott Carroll.

Four long tables, each draped with a black tablecloth, lined the stage. As the Torah was carefully unrolled, it crackled and popped, creating stiff waves along the tabletops.

The 89-foot scroll, Carroll said, was composed somewhere in Eastern Europe during the Reformation. Constructing the parchment for such a Torah is no small feat — the artifact is comprised of 50 calf skins.Vegetable components were used for ink and goose feathers for writing. It took a scribe an entire year to create the manuscript. 

“If this Torah could talk to us, imagine what it could say and what it’s seen,” said Carroll. “It was preserved through the Enlightenment and the Holocaust. Through a wonderful turn of Providence, it’s in your community now.”

Listeners were invited on stage to get a firsthand look. Some gently touched the scroll's edges — smooth on top, suede on bottom. Others bent over the relic, iPhones poised. A few scanned the impeccably centered lines of text, their eyes searching for familiar passages.

Carroll then asked everyone to encircle the room so the scroll could be completely unfurled, a scene you might witness in some synagogues during the Jewish festival Simchat Torah. Young and old, seasoned Hebrew scholars and novices alike held the Torah together. It was the first time the scroll had ever been fully unraveled.

Hebrew student Thomas Belcastro was euphoric. “It’s beautiful,” he said. “When I came to Multnomah, I didn’t expect I’d ever be holding a 600-year-old scroll. I actually get to study it on Monday.” 

MU’s annual Global Ministries Conference Spotlights International Impact of Storytelling

Comments Off Written on February 5th, 2015 by
Categories: Events, Students

GMC2015_blogStories are found in all the nooks and crannies of the globe. They burst upon wrinkled faces, sparkle through aged eyes, are crusted upon worn-out sneakers, tucked into treasure-boxes, worked into the cracks in the gravestone, and are told and retold with increasing fervor. Life itself is embedded in story, and each individual bears the marks of it.

That's why we graced this year's Global Ministries Conference with the theme of storytelling. The 75th annual event, which runs from February 24–26, will emphasize the overarching narrative of God's worldwide redemption and our roles as believers within his story.We'll be exploring this theme through workshops, plenary sessions, evening activities, prayer hours and conversations. We'll also be bringing our students' stories into the event through an open mic evening with Spoken Word artist Micah Bournes, an international worship night, and a Snack Chat featuring students who have served overseas.

Dr. Greg Burch, intercultural studies department chair, hopes the GMC will encourage more students to share their stories and ultimately the greatest story of all — the birth, death and resurrection of Christ. “When you share stories, people listen,” he says. “Storytelling is a powerful means of communicating the Gospel around the world. A deep passion to see people reconciled to their Creator and profoundly restored is in Multnomah’s DNA.”

That’s why this conference has always fit well into the fabric of MU's mission. It provides an array of opportunities for volunteer work and encourages a readiness to serve. Classes are cancelled for three days while students speak with missionaries and connect with agencies that interest them. Even those who don't feel called to full-time mission work will cultivate a global focus and discover ways to enter the stories of local organizations that need their time and talents.

Stories can't be resisted, and that is why God chose to woo his world through a story which required him to enter it himself. It cost him to write his masterpiece, and yet he did it anyway. This year's GMC will simply be a celebration of the way he has worked the same theme into people of all walks of life. And we will rejoice together because he never leaves his stanzas unfinished.

About the author

Olivia Morud is a senior English major at Multnomah University who’s helping organize the annual conference. This is her second year volunteering at the GMC.

More about the GMC

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

scroll_featured

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’

OxfordStudent2

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 joykruger@multnomah.edu.

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

Fall graduates look to the future with confidence

Comments Off Written on December 12th, 2014 by
Categories: Events, Students

Last week, Multnomah students walked across the stage of Central Bible Church as part of our fall graduation ceremony. Among the group of participants were Wendy Contreras, Quincy Robinson and Ruben Alvarado — three students who have grown to embody the biblical wisdom, resilient character and infectious servants’ hearts that set our alumni apart.

wendy_thumb'This is what I was created to do'

Wendy Contreras was insecure about pursuing music until she began a private class with MU’s voice instructor, who recognized her rich potential. “She made me see that I needed to pursue singing and never give up,” says the music ministry major. “I saw how the Lord used my music to touch people. When I knew he’d given me this gift, I wanted to be responsible with it.” Now Contreras is performing at events and recording an album with her worship pastor. “God has been opening doors for me everywhere,” she says. “This is what I was created to do.” Read Contreras' full story.

quincy_main'A foundation for my future'

Quincy Robinson has mastered the skills he needs to climb the academic ladder. The Hebrew major dreams of teaching Epistemology and Math at Stanford or Oxford. “What lies ahead for me is going to be easier because I’ve been doing graduate-level work at the undergrad level,” he says. Now Robinson is enrolling at Portland State University to earn his master’s in mathematics. “A degree from MU is a foundation for my future,” he says. “This school is an amazing place to push you forward.” Read Robinson's full story.

'The professors learn right alongside you'

MU’s emphasis on strong student-faculty connections made a meaningful impression on M.Div. student Ruben Alvarado. “No matter how experienced the professors are, they’re still vulnerable enough to learn right alongside you,” he says. “They give their students opportunities to write with them, serve with them, study with them and travel with them.” ruben_mainAlvarado recently began a job as executive assistant for Rick McKinley, MU professor and lead pastor at Imago Dei Community. “I'm excited to learn from and work with Rick,” Alvarado says. “The education I received — as well as the experiences I’ve had at MU as a teacher’s assistant, tutor and student leader — have prepared me to step confidently into this new stage of my life.” Read Alvarado's full story.

Walking confidently into new stages of life is exactly what all our graduates are doing, and we couldn’t be more proud of them.

MU joins the #GivingTuesday movement

Comments Off Written on November 26th, 2014 by
Categories: Events

GivingTuesday_v2Hello, MU Family!

Are you weary like me of how much our consumer-driven culture bombards us to buy, buy, BUY for our self, self, SELF on Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

On Tuesday, December 2, Multnomah University invites you to take a moment to consider what it means to give. We are uniting with charities worldwide to encourage God’s people to deploy some of his resources on #GivingTuesday.

WHAT IS #GIVINGTUESDAY ALL ABOUT?

#GivingTuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back. It’s really a simple idea. We believe it brings a smile to the Father’s face to see his children responding in love and generosity — no matter where he stirs their hearts to give.

Unite with the Multnomah family of givers and join a global celebration of a new tradition of generosity. Here’s what your gift to Multnomah could do:

• $50 provides a professor to help one student translate The Dead Sea Scrolls.
• $75 feeds an MU student for a week.
• $100 supports a seminary student for a day of Bible and theology classes.
• $170 houses a student for a week.

When you commit to supporting MU on #GivingTuesday, you are bringing to life this vision God has provided for our University:

  • Creating a global campus
  • Inspiring an infectious love of service within our students
  • Building moldable and resilient Christian character within our students
  • Developing a diverse learning community

Soon Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday will have come and gone. But when you stand in support of Multnomah University on #GivingTuesday, you impact lives for the kingdom that will last for generations.

But just as you excel in everything — in faith, in speech, in knowledge,
in complete earnestness and in your love for us — see that you also excel
in this grace of giving.

2 Corinthians 8:7

steve-cummingsGratefully,

Steve Cummings
Vice President of Advancement

I will give on #GivingTuesday

 

MAGDJ program launches Night of Dialogue

1 Comment » Written on October 28th, 2014 by
Categories: Events, Faculty, Programs

MAGDJ Program Director Greg Burch introduces the first Night of Dialogue event on November 12

file2701271716451As evangelical believers, what roles do justice and development play in our desire to see the world reconciled to its Creator? How will biblical justice and development help us bring transformation to our communities? Through a TED talk style forum, a Night of Dialogue on Justice and Development brings together active scholars in this field to explore biblical understandings in these critical areas.

The event will be held on November 12th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the JCA Lounge (just outside of Roger’s Café) on campus and is being sponsored by the Master of Arts in Global Development and Justice degree program.

Join us as we hear from Multnomah professor Paul Louis Metzger, lawyer and adjunct professor Mark Loomis and Ron Werner, Jr. of the organization Bend Youth Collective. In addition, several partnering nonprofits will be on hand to provide opportunities to get involved locally and internationally. We hope to see you there!

Learn more about Multnomah’s M.A. degree in Global Development and Justice.

Service with a smile: Students build friendships off campus

A cloudy sky and thin veil of rain greeted more than 130 Multnomah University students as they left campus to participate in Day of Outreach on September 23.

Once every spring and fall, students volunteer at several locations in the Portland community in need of their time and energy. A volunteer site can be anywhere: a nonprofit organization, a school, a community center. Even a neighbor's home. MU cancels classes for the day so students can devote their whole morning to service.

OutreachFall2014_1"Now we get to give"

The living room at ElderPlace Laurelhurst, a care facility for seniors on Glisan Street, is a bright space filled with round tables where students talk and laugh with elderly men and women over cups of juice and coffee. Colorful flags hang from the ceiling and a giant white teddy bear looks down from an old piano.

Senior Olivia Morud is chatting with Phyllis, a curly-haired woman with blotchy hands and tiny glasses. The two have just finished playing a card game. Morud, an English major from Scappoose, Ore., says she loves being able to listen. "They have so much to say, so many stories," she says. "As students, we are given so much in the classroom. Now we get to give."

Volunteering is important, she says, because Jesus was a servant. "He would be doing this if he was here today," she says."It's close to his heart."

OutreachFall2014_2"A real picture of the Gospel"

Volunteers at Harrison Park School on 87th Avenue, their shoes caked with soil, are constructing a community garden. Some students build raised garden beds while others clear away debris and pull weeds.

Freshman Kimberly Marshburn and junior Maggi Schlosser are filling a garden bed with dirt. Marshburn, a Bible and theology major from Bakersfield, Calif., has been attending MU for only a month, but she's excited to serve the community so soon.

"I was talking to some students the other day who were concerned that we'd become secluded at MU," she says. "But this day shows me that we're living what we say we are. School is the practice zone and then we get to go out and live life together. It's a real picture of the gospel."

"A desire to serve"

OutreachFall2014_4Just a few blocks from campus, senior Cory Howatt is starting a lawnmower in front of a small pink house. Dotty, an wispy woman with hunched shoulders and worn moccasins, looks over her property.

"I've lived in this house for 66 years," she says. "My husband died 30 years ago, and this yard is too much for me to keep up." She smiles. "You guys have been coming to see me for a long time now."

Several volunteer sites, including those featured in this story, are permanent fixtures on the sign-up sheet. That way, students can nurture
friendships over time.

OutreachFall2014_3Howatt, a pastoral ministry major from Koloa, Hawaii, says the day shows people who Christ is through students' service. "Who we get to work with is the best part," he says. "I get to meet people like Dotty."

"We serve out of a desire to serve," he adds. "We may not benefit from any compensation, but we benefit from building relationships."

Be A Part Of SEVEN

Comments Off Written on September 8th, 2014 by
Categories: Events

What is SEVEN?

Seven is a week-long event focused on praying for Portland.

When is SEVEN?

Sunday, September 21 through Saturday, September 27.

Where can I get involved in SEVEN?

There are five participating regions within the Portland metro area. Groups in each region meet at a different location each night of the week to pray and worship together. On the final day of SEVEN, all regions will gather in downtown Portland.

seven_instagram_3Click on a region to view a schedule.

  1. SEVEN Clark County
  2. SEVEN East
  3. SEVEN Portland
  4. SEVEN Southeast County
  5. SEVEN West

How is MU involved in SEVEN?

Multnomah will be hosting Night 6 in the SEVEN East region. We're the first university to host a SEVEN event, and we're honored to serve our community this way.

Come to the JCA cafeteria at 7 p.m. on Friday, September 26, for communal worship and prayer for our city — and all the people who live in it.

Want to spread the word on social media?

Let people know about SEVEN by using these images on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets.

Join the conversation by using the hastag #sevenpdx when you share thoughts and photos.

Students Arrive with Different Dreams, Common Purpose

Comments Off Written on August 22nd, 2014 by
Categories: Events, Students

Business owner. Teacher. Counselor. Our new students have different goals, but they all want to make the world a better place, wherever God leads them. Their first step? Multnomah University.

NSO2014_photo1Incoming students from across the U.S. — some from as far as Germany — congregated on campus August 21 to kick off MU’s four-day orientation. Director of Student Services Dr. Karen Fancher said the event’s name, Heaven’s Poetry Etched on Lives, was taken from Ephesians 2:10 — “For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago.”

“We believe God has specific things meant for you,” she told the group of new students. “Remember that you are unique. Don’t ever feel like you have to look a certain way or be a cookie-cutter Christian — be yourself, and engage with others in the way you’re created to.”

NSO2014_photo2Louie Idlett feels called to engage with others through the marketplace. The business major from Longview, Wash., hopes to start his own company one day, and he’s confident that MU’s biblical foundation will help him succeed. “As a Christian, you’re called to keep a higher standard of business,” he said. “It’s not all about the profit margin. It’s about loving God, loving your community and loving what you do — because you’re doing it for Him.”

Tara Osburn, from Hillsboro, Ore., dreams of teaching in South America. The elementary education major said she was attracted to Multnomah’s close-knit community. “I like the family feel and the small classes here,” she said. “And I like my teachers knowing who I am.” Osburn is also looking forward to being a Lion — she’ll start playing on the women’s basketball team this year. “Coach Tim is awesome,” she said. “And I’m excited to get some guidance from the more experienced players.”

NSO2014_photo3Jordan Lovell, from Medford, Ore., plans on being a counselor. The psychology major said Multnomah’s professors drew him to the university. “I thought they were great teachers,” he said.  “I’m most excited for my classes with them.” Lovell is passionate about equipping himself to help people through life — emotionally and spiritually. “The great thing about getting a psychology degree at MU is that you also get the Bible and theology degree. That way, you stay balanced and don’t go too far to one side.”

Staying balanced — and staying true to God’s unique call on your life — is what MU is all about.