Faculty

Students Skip Class to Serve Portland

A blue sky and sunshine greeted more than 130 Multnomah University students as they left campus to participate in Day of Outreach on April 14.

Once every spring and fall, students volunteer at several locations in the Portland community, including nonprofits, nursing homes, schools and community centers. MU cancels classes for the day so students can devote their whole morning to service.

‘Get a different perspective’

dayofoutreach_492Chris Cleaver, a full-time counselor at Multnomah, led a group of students to Door to Grace, a Portland nonprofit providing restorative care and safe shelter for survivors of commercial sexual exploitation. The day home needed some TLC, so students took Windex to mirrors, vacuums to rugs and push brooms to sidewalks. Freshman Johanna Quezada carefully watered the small boxwood trees that stood in a line near the front door.

“This is definitely a cool opportunity,” said the TESOL major. “I love hearing about the different ministries here in Portland. My world can get so small because I live and work on campus, so it’s good to get outside and get a different perspective. We’re at MU for more than just time in the classroom.”

Olivia Botsford agreed. As she wiped the kitchen counters with a washcloth, the psychology major talked about how she appreciates a day devoted to helping neighbors. “We’re not just focused on getting our degrees,” she said. “We want to serve and be in the community, loving people in the real world.”

‘Be a light’

dayofoutreach_501Dean of Students Jon Mathis and Psychology Department Chair Dr. Elliott Lawless joined another group of students volunteering at Drive Away Hunger, the home of Portland Rescue Mission’s vehicle donation and sales program. The men took on yard work, sweeping, raking and cleaning and organizing the auto shop.

Danny Kugelburg, Community Partnership Lead at Drive Away Hunger, leaned against a blue Chevy as he explained the impact of volunteering. “You might not have direct contact with the people we’re helping, but what you’re doing is changing lives,” he said. “We’re a nonprofit that survives solely on the gift of volunteers.”

Kugelburg is an M.Div. student at Multnomah Seminary, so he’s familiar with the school’s  mission. But watching it come to life in the auto shop is inspiring. “Multnomah has a desire for its students not to be insulated, but to be a light in the community — in voice and in deed,” he said.

‘Actively love’

dayofoutreach_534At the Montavilla Community Center, Multnomah students sat at tables piled high with paper plates and colorful ribbons to craft decorations for the center’s upcoming Easter celebration. Sophomore Edwin Granados carefully cut the plates into half moon shapes as he spoke with fellow volunteers. The music major is on the student-led Day of Outreach planning committee and was in charge of promoting the event this season.

Granados said he loves the opportunity to branch out of the University and into the surrounding community. “It’s one of my favorite things to do,” he said. “Our planning committee had a vision — that students could actively love in a way that will last beyond today. I hope this will be a kickoff for people to begin serving more frequently.”

Besides MU's two annual Day of Outreach events, MU students provide more than 100,000 hours of service to the community each year through the University's Student Ministries program

How have you been impacted by volunteer work? Share your thoughts below.

You’re Invited to Respond and Prevent

violence_mainApril is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, when activists across the country raise awareness about violence and educate communities on how to prevent it. MU is getting involved by hosting a series of special events. Students, staff and faculty are invited to participate.

APRIL 14 DAY OF OUTREACH

A group of students and faculty will volunteer at Door To Grace, a Portland nonprofit providing restorative care and safe shelter for survivors of commercial sexual exploitation. Interested in joining? Email Clarissa Smith at csmith2@my.multnomah.edu.

APRIL 14-22 CLOTHESLINE PROJECT: BEARING WITNESS TO VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

This project gives those in the MU community who have been affected — directly or indirectly — by violence the opportunity to express their emotions by decorating a shirt. The shirts will hang in the JCA hallway to serve as a testimony to the problem of violence against women. This will be one of more than 500 Clothesline Projects being shown around the world.

Want to add a shirt to the clothesline? You can either decorate a shirt on your own or host a shirt-decorating party for a group. Shirts must be submitted to Martha Byrne in the counseling center by April 8.

APRIL 18 BRUNCH CHAT: THE GLOBAL IMPACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

Staff and faculty will share how God is using the Church to respond to violence against women around the world.

APRIL 22 CHAPEL: MEN CAN PREVENT VIOLENCE

Chris Cleaver, MU counselor, will speak about the role men should play in preventing abuse. “The problem of violence against women is a men’s issue,” he says. “Although the majority of men do not rape, batter and abuse women, many of us are passive bystanders and do not actively oppose the mistreatment of women. I want to call men to refuse permitting anything that supports a culture of violence against women. Because without their active participation, the violence will persist.”

For more information about any of these events, email Chris Cleaver at ccleaver@multnomah.edu.

Interested in Teaching English as a Second Language?

I wanted to let you know about a great opportunity for people who are teaching English as a second language and anyone else who wants to explore this vocation or ministry.

John Runcie, Director, MA in TESOL program

John Runcie, Director, MA in TESOL program

The Christian English Language Teachers (CELT) Conference will take place at Multnomah University on Wednesday, March 26. The event, which includes educational workshops and a keynote speaker, will prepare you to:

  • Integrate faith and teaching in ethical ways.
  • Explore the intersections of spirituality and language teaching.
  • Prompt each other toward excellence in service and teaching.

The cost (which includes lunch) is $35 if you register by March 17 or $45 at the door.

Have questions? Contact John Runcie at 503-349-1671 or at jruncie@multnomah.edu.

You’re Invited to Day of Prayer

karen-fancher

Multnomah University will hold a Day of Prayer on Friday, March 7. This is a day when daytime classes are cancelled, and students are given the opportunity to step back from studies to have a time dedicated to worshiping and seeking God together. The theme of this Day of Prayer is “Reflections of Grace”. This will be a time to reflect upon the amazing grace of God which has been extended to us, and how our hearts are responding to God in receiving His grace and in extending it to others.

Schedule

Students will meet in the JCA student center from 9 to 10:30 for a session of worship in song, reflection and prayer. MU's Chair of Pastoral Ministries Department Dr. Valerie Clemen will guide the time of reflection. Participants will have a short break and then gather in small groups to pray for one another from 10:45 to 12 noon. The small group prayer times will be led by students. The students will meet in affinity groups with their majors and minor, and the seminary and graduate students will meet together for prayer as well. In the afternoon students are invited to participate with at least two other people in prayer walks around the campus. The goal is to cover one another and the ministry of MU in prayer.

Student Feedback

Dr. Val Clemen

MU's Spiritual Life Committee conducted a recent survey which asked students what they would most appreciate on Day of Prayer. At times the spring Day of Prayer has been held at a retreat center off campus. However, 72% of the students in this survey said that they would prefer to stay on campus. Thus, the Day of Prayer will be held at MU, with an invitation to prayer walk over our campus as well. Students also indicated that they wanted intentional time focused on personal reflection and praying for one another. It was encouraging for the Spiritual Life Committee to hear how highly students valued prayer and wanted to grow in the area of personal prayer. It is our prayer that this time together will strengthen us in our relationships with the Lord, strengthen us as a community honor the Lord, and align our hearts even more with the heart of God.

About the author

Dr. Karen Fancher has worked at Multnomah University since 1998. She is the assistant professor of Pastoral Ministry and the dean of seminary students.

 

 

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