Press Releases

MU celebrates grand opening of new study space

No Comments » Written on February 20th, 2017 by
Categories: Press Releases, Students

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This afternoon, students, staff and faculty gathered to celebrate the grand opening of The Study, a new space for students who want to focus on homework. An extension of the Student Success Center, The Study is located in the southwest corner of the JCA. It takes the place of the former Commuter Center Lounge, which has since relocated to The Den.

“I’m so glad you’ve all made yourselves at home,” said Dean of Student Kim Stave to the group before her. “We’re so excited to open up this space. Our hope is that The Study will become a bustling center of academic effort and success. It’s been exciting to see this come to life!”

The Study offers computers and a printer, as well as several cozy areas designed for individual or group study. Food is permitted, and the space is available during the same hours as the JCA Student Center, which is typically open from 6:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.

The new space will be overseen by Christy Martin, assistant director for housing & academic support. And while The Study will usually be unstaffed, Martin announced there will be weekly study hall sessions when students can drop in without an appointment to meet with a staff member or tutor.

“We can provide more opportunities for students to maximize their learning,” says Martin. “We want this to be a place where people can learn from one another, connect with staff, and just drop in and get some homework done.”

Elementary Education major Sarah Carrier already plans on making The Study a regular haunt. “I think it’s a really beneficial and needed space,” she says. It’s homey and conducive for studying. I think students will really benefit from it.”

Study hall times

Tuesdays
2:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Staff member: Christy Martin

Wednesdays
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Student tutor

Thursdays
6 to 8 p.m.
Student tutor

If you have any questions about The Study, contact Christy Martin at cmartin@multnomah.edu.

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Global Ministries Conference to make creation care a priority

No Comments » Written on February 8th, 2017 by
Categories: General, Press Releases

PORTLAND, Ore. — From February 21 to 23, Multnomah University will host the 77th annual Global Ministries Conference (GMC) on campus. The title of this year’s conference is “Cultivating Renewal: Back to the Beginning.” The seminars, plenary talks and activities will revolve around creation care in its many aspects. Read the rest of this entry »

MA in Global Development and Justice students travel to Rwanda

No Comments » Written on February 6th, 2017 by
Categories: Faculty, Missions, Press Releases, Programs, Students

Dr. Greg Burch, chair of the Master of Arts in Global Development and Justice program, recently returned from a two-week stay in Rwanda with the MAGDJ program's very first online cohort. Students in the online MAGDJ program spend the first two weeks of their program in Rwanda, where they glean insights from guest speakers, study the world’s most pressing issues and team up with NGOs that are involved in compassion initiatives, poverty alleviation and combating injustice. You can learn more about the online MAGDJ program here

Learning on the Road in Rwanda

by Dr. Greg Burch

Rwanda is a known as the land of a thousand hills.

Rwanda is a known as the land of a thousand hills.

On January 3, Multnomah inaugurated its new blended online development and justice (MAGDJ) program in Rwanda. Students coming from California, Colorado, Oregon, Kenya and Rwanda joined together for a two-week experiential learning course that included a focus on learning from development organizations throughout the country. Learning from social entrepreneurs, community-based child care workers, refugees, and micro-finance and savings clubs participants proved significant for students working in the fields of international development and global justice.

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Memorial site in Kigali, Rwanda's capital city, where more than 250,000 victims of the 1994 genocide are buried. All in all, the 1994 genocide left nearly 1 million people dead.

One primary focus of the trip was learning from a country that suffered a genocide in 1994. Rwanda has faced significant suffering and also profound transformation since that time. Genocide memorials, including a visit with a perpetrator and a victim helped the students understand the profound nature of forgiveness and reconciliation. In meeting with Emmanuel (a genocide perpetrator) and his victim, Alice, who survived a machete and spear attack from Emmanuel and the loss of her baby, met with us to describe their healing process and what Christ has done in their lives to bring their them into a close relationship today. The conversation was truly stunning. We learned forgiveness and reconciliation is possible even with the most heinous of crimes.

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Visits also included time with a number of non-government organizations and ministries, including Africa New Life Ministries, Tearfund, World Relief, These Numbers Have Faces, Prison Fellowship, International Teams, Word Made Flesh, and Arise Rwanda. The course led us through the importance of a solid biblical understanding for engaging in transformational development and biblical justice with an emphasis on peace and reconciliation, micro-finance and job creation, savings clubs, refugee resettlement, and education in poverty contexts, just to mention a few.

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Learning about World Relief with country director Moses Ndahiro.

There are a number of standout experiences from our time in Rwanda, but Alice and Ariana demonstrated a powerful example in their entrepreneurial efforts as electrical engineering students in designing and preparing to manufacture solar lamps that will provide light for children studying at night in refugee camps in the country. What was so capturing was that they themselves come from refugee backgrounds and struggled to read at night with candles.

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Learning from social entrepreneurs Alice and Ariana, and from the program These Numbers have Faces.

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Beans – a staple in a country where malnutrition continues to plague many communities, despite valiant efforts.

Another significant event was our time in a refugee camp. Eighteen thousand people, primarily Congolese people who have been forced out by insecurity and conflict, live just across the border in Rwanda in a cramped camp managed by the UNHCR. Our primary focus in the camp was on access to education by the 9,000 children and youth in the camp. Much of our time was spent with students, the very few, that have access to school through sponsorship programs. Spending time with refugees and hearing their stories was moving. Stories that involved faith, hope and patience as they await placement in countries around the world, with many having to wait eighteen or even twenty years as governments decide on permanent location.

These MAGDJ students will spend the next 18 months in online courses and internships reflecting on these and other field experiences as they take classes on micro-finance, refugees, nonprofit leadership, human rights and the like. For more information on our online Global Development and Justice program, go here.

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Participating in a savings and loan club in rural Rwanda with Arise Rwanda.

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Clean water in Boneza – Arise Rwanda has dug 12 wells for the community of 24,000 people.

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Clean water projects are critical to reduce water-borne diseases.

Students enjoyed a beautiful rest on Lake Kivu in the town of Kibuye.

Students enjoyed a beautiful rest on Lake Kivu in the town of Kibuye.

Forum shines a light on anxiety and depression

Comments Off on Forum shines a light on anxiety and depression Written on January 23rd, 2017 by
Categories: Press Releases

A forum on anxiety and depression, “Bridging Troubled Waters,” will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25, at Gateway Church. The event is being presented by The Institute for Theology and Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins. Read the rest of this entry »

MU opens The Den with pancakes and karaoke

Comments Off on MU opens The Den with pancakes and karaoke Written on January 20th, 2017 by
Categories: Press Releases

The Den is a new space on Multnomah’s campus designed with commuters in mind. Read the rest of this entry »

MU celebrates fall graduation

Comments Off on MU celebrates fall graduation Written on December 19th, 2016 by
Categories: Press Releases, Students

Last Monday, 73 Multnomah students gathered with friends and family members at Central Bible Church to celebrate graduation. As each student walked across the stage, they shook hands with University President Craig Williford and received their diplomas.

Below are some pictures taken from that night. Well done, graduates! We are very proud of you all.

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MU celebrates grand opening for Veterans Resource Center

Comments Off on MU celebrates grand opening for Veterans Resource Center Written on November 21st, 2016 by
Categories: Press Releases, Students

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If you walked through the JCA Student Center on Veterans Day, you would have seen tables decorated in red, white and blue with food and drink on top. A watermelon carved to resemble a bald eagle was the centerpiece of this patriotic display. A podium, surrounded by chairs, stood in front of an American flag. This small area was set up to celebrate the grand opening of The Multnomah University Veterans Resource Center.

The resource center, located in the JCA’s West Lobby, will be a safe place for veterans in the Multnomah community to receive support from their peers. Veterans can shop at the center’s food pantry, browse pamphlets for off-campus resources, and connect with plenty of friendly veterans. The resource center will be open weeknights, and the food pantry will be open Saturdays.

Multnomah’s community of veterans will be working hard to create a place where the brotherhood and sisterhood of military service can support one another in a place of understanding. The center will be completely run by student volunteers, with oversight provided by Veterans Faculty Advisor Dr. Michael Gurney.

At the grand opening, retired Air Force Col. and MU Board of Trustees Member Brent Mesquit spoke to Multnomah’s veterans on behalf of the university. “Thank you for your sacrificial service to our great nation,” he said. “It is held in high regard at Multnomah University.” After  Mesquit’s acknowledgments, the student veteran who started it all was given the chance to speak.

Psychology major Matthew Comprix used to run the resource center out of his on-campus apartment. He’s elated to have a new space where he can continue serving his fellow veterans. “Every one of us gave of ourselves, with the possibility of giving all of ourselves, for the greater good of our great nation,” he said. “Student veterans need an outlet for their servant hearts. To serve other veterans and the community they’re in is a great outlet for them.”

 

The resource center needs volunteers!

If you’re interested in volunteering at the Veterans Resource Center, contact Matthew Comprix at mcomprix@my.multnomah.edu. You do not need to be a veteran to volunteer.

If you are interested in earning Service Learning credit through volunteering at the resource center, contact Dr. Roger Trautmann at rtrautmann@multnomah.edu.

Global ministry trends and issues, part 8: Mission training in the 21st century

Comments Off on Global ministry trends and issues, part 8: Mission training in the 21st century Written on October 6th, 2016 by
Categories: Faculty, Missions, Press Releases, Programs, Students

A few years ago I was invited to consult on a mission and development project that was focused on caring for at-risk kids. As I approached the residential group home where several dozen young people were being cared for, I couldn’t help but notice the despair in the eyes of the mission volunteers and caretakers of the children. You see, the missionaries were passionate about seeing young lives transformed by the gospel. There was no doubt in their sincerity to see these lives restored, but the tools and training they had received did not match the challenges they were facing.

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Whether it be working with at-risk youth and children or church planting, cross-cultural workers need proper preparation. When our academic and training programs fail to properly prepare them for the immensely difficult task of working in a new culture, communicating with a different set of standards and training in specializations needed in the field, we prevent them from fully thriving. Fortunately, some see the need and will seek additional training, some will burnout and unfortunately others will cause harm to the very ones they seek to care for. Sadly, this was the case with the group mentioned above and they were eventually closed by the local government authorities despite our best efforts.

 

Mission education and training (on both the undergraduate and graduate level) must continue to reinvent itself in the coming years. The field of mission training, as I argued in my first blog post, must keep pace with global changes and issues. This means that mission education must also keep up and even in some cases lead the way on strategy and best-practices. Mission programs are by nature an applied discipline. Developing practical skills is critical to whatever field one aspires to work in. Jim and Judy Raymo conclude that, “Skills and training are essential for successful workers of every generation” (39). As described by Moreau, Corwin and McGee, training can take place through informal, nonformal and formal opportunities (173). While all of these areas are important for mission preparation, I deeply believe that formal academic training provides students with the best opportunity to establish themselves and prepare for a thriving ministry and career in international and local contexts.

The World Evangelical Fellowship recently identified four critical skills as essential for lessening attrition rates and providing an environment in which future cross-cultural workers will thrive. They are: Spirituality, Relational Skills, Ministry Skills and Training (Taylor xiv-xv). I would argue that both undergraduate and graduate programs related to the field of mission, international development and global studies should seek to incorporate these components.

Spiritual Formation: There is no substitution for spiritual formation. One’s spirituality must seek to develop an intimate relationship with God. This will prove critical in those moments of despair and hardship. J.D. Payne discusses the importance of “being continually filled with the Spirit of Mission (Eph. 5:18)” as part of our daily task in serving Christ in mission (165). One of the goals of formal Christian training should include, “genuine growth toward spiritual maturity” (Moreau, Corwin and McGee 173). This growth should be nurtured while the student prepares to serve cross-culturally. This takes place through the integration of spiritual discipline practices in the classroom and assignments related to this.

Interpersonal Skills: Relational skills provide an atmosphere for which team-work and friendships can develop. Academic programs in this field must focus on demonstrating humility and teachability as two key skills. These skills can be nurtured in students preparing to serve on a team (especially a multicultural team). According to Moreau, Corwin and McGee “these attitudes are built on proper self-appraisal” as we encourage mission students to reflect on their purpose and service in the kingdom (176). Teachability is a critical skill in developing global partnerships. Students should be prepared to learn from others from different cultural backgrounds. “A teachable person is one who recognizes the inherent worth and wisdom of others” (Moreau, Corwin and McGee 176). Most agree that “loud, impatient, demanding people with weak interpersonal skills often fail on the mission field and in team situations” (Raymo and Raymo 45).

Ministry Skills: These skills are another critical piece to developing and preparing future cross-cultural workers.        Learning to disciple others is critical to forming leaders who will bring transformation. Whether students are working in humanitarian contexts, business contexts, diplomacy or other areas, discipleship must be emphasized. Cultural sensitivity is also an area that must be developed inside the classroom through simulation activities and group interaction.

Another area that deserves attention is professional development. Professional skills must be viewed as part of our training. Integrating both ministry skills and professional skills not only opens up more opportunities for students of mission, but provides them with the foundation they need to succeed. One of the ways to develop these skills is by providing practical experiential opportunities.

Practical Training: When working with a multicultural team or engaging with unreached people groups one notes the critical training in cross-cultural communications and competency. This is often times referred to as Cultural Intelligence. These skills can be discussed in the classroom, but must be developed on the field. This is where experiential opportunities such as internships and practical assignments move the student from the classroom to a real-life laboratory. Guided internships provide opportunities to develop these skills. According to researchers Jim and Judy Raymo, internships are an essential tool in preparing cross-cultural workers in today’s world (50). Another viable means for ensuring an experiential learning environment is through study abroad programs. In particular, study abroad programs that incorporate first-hand interaction with the culture and social realities is most valued. These and other experiences are key for practical training.

“Equipping God’s people to accomplish the missio Dei in the twenty-first century will require more diversity and cooperation than has been known hitherto” (Elliston 232). The complexity of mission training has only increased. As Edgar Elliston rightly notes, the preparation for global mission engagement will require more diverse efforts.

Andrew Kirk calls for a listening of two voices when reading Scripture. We are to listen to the voice of God (Scripture) and the voice (cry) of the people. This process will help us to combine the “universal nature and intention of the Christian’ foundation document with the particular reality of every situation into which the message and life of Christ comes” (14). The cry in our world today has been highlighted in the issues and trends discussed in this eight-part series. The voice of God will continue to shed light on healthy global engagement with these issues and many more that we will face in the coming months and years as we seek to be salt and light in our communities and world.

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If you would like additional information on either the B.A. in Global Studies or the M.A. in Global Development and Justice degree programs, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Greg Burch via email at gburch@multnomah.edu

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Works Cited

Elliston, Edgar. “Moving Forward from Where We Are in Missiological Education.”  In Missiological Education for the 21st Century: The Book, the Circle and the Sandals, edited by Edgar J. Elliston, Charles Van Engen and J. Dudley Woodberry. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1996.

Moreau, A. Scott, Gary Corwin and Gary B. McGee. Introducing World Missions. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. 2015.

Payne, J.D. Pressure Points: Twelve Global Issues Shaping the Face of the Church. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson 2013.

Raymo, Jim and Judy Raymo. Millennials and Mission: A Generation Faces a Global Challenge. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library. 2014.

Taylor, William David, ed. Too Valuable to Lose: Exploring the Causes and Cures of Missionary Attrition, World Evangelical Fellowship, Globalization of Mission Series. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library. 2007.

New biology professor integrates faith and science

Comments Off on New biology professor integrates faith and science Written on September 21st, 2016 by
Categories: Faculty, General, Press Releases, Programs

For the true scientist, faith is something that must be simultaneously held at arm’s length and embraced. Being in a field where knowledge is tested, retested and tested again forces the scientist to stand at a certain distance from what he or she knows. Some scientists who are perched in that place see faith as a distraction, or at worst a limitation. Some, however, see their faith as precisely the force that gives them courage to delve fearlessly into the mysteries of life. Dr. Sarah Gall, chair of the biology department at MU, is this latter type of scientist. Read the rest of this entry »

Global ministry trends and issues, part six: Children and youth

Comments Off on Global ministry trends and issues, part six: Children and youth Written on August 30th, 2016 by
Categories: Faculty, Missions, Press Releases, Theology

This is the sixth post in a series of articles on global ministry trends and issues presented by Dr. Greg Burch, Director of the Master of Arts in Global Development and Justice program and Chair of the Global Studies Department. You can read more articles from Dr. Burch on his personal site, The Burch Blog.

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This week’s focus has been the primary issue for me as a practitioner and researcher in life. Children and youth continue to experience pressing needs in our world today. I think particularly of those affected by global poverty and other factors that have led to an increase in children growing up in circumstances that put their lives at risk. One-sixth of the world’s children are living in crisis (Douglas and Steffen 349).

This population represents some of the most vulnerable people on the planet. Street-living and working children, child soldiers, gang-affiliated youth and others are in desperate need for mission praxis that is informed through best-practices in the field (best practices are models and approaches that derive from research and agreed upon standards from experts in the field). In the least developed areas of our world, children comprise 41 percent of the population (Payne 113). In some countries, that percentage rises above 50 percent, yet so often our mission training programs focus on the other half of the world’s population.

Scripture speaks boldly about the importance of children. Noted researchers in children’s spirituality focus on several biblical narratives where children are involved (Scottie May, et. al 39). One such story is the reunification of Esau and Jacob. When Jacob responds to Esau’s question about, “Who are these with you?” Jacob joyfully responds, “The children whom God has graciously given your servant” (Gen. 3:5). Other biblical passages from the N.T. are noted as well. The authors argue that “not only is the presence of Jesus’ teaching on children in the Gospels significant, but the emphasis in those teachings heightens their importance . . . understanding what Jesus says about children is at the heart of being a true disciple of Jesus” (39).

Given Scripture’s clear emphasis on recognizing the importance of children, understanding the risks they face is important.

Statistics reveal the need for caring for these young people:

• Two million people between the ages of 15 and 24 die each year globally from preventable diseases.
• 20% of adolescents experience mental health problems every year.
• Interpersonal violence kills about 565 young people between the ages of 5 and 29 every day.
• AIDS or AIDS-related illnesses account for the deaths of more than half of young female Africans (Payne 119).

Global development and mission organizations will continue to look for qualified candidates that are well-rounded in their skills and training. Local churches are critical to engaging with young people on the margins as well. “From the perspective of a missional engagement with children at risk, there is no replacement for the establishment of churches among every group of children who suffer the atrocities of a fallen world” (Pocock, Van Rheenen and McConnell 75).

Yet to care for these children, churches and agencies must move beyond a mentality that holds to a myopic approach to transformation that divides physical and emotional needs from spiritual realities. Spiritual conversion is critical for transformation, but a holistic approach that is focused on proclamation and formation, demonstration of compassion, restoration and development, and finally, confrontation of injustices will be critical to addressing both individual and structural issues that continue to contribute to the vulnerability of at-risk youth and children (Castellanos 136). Another way of saying this: We need to couple Word and Deed in our missional models for engaging with youth and children.

The implication of the abovementioned statistics recognizes the need for people to be trained through interdisciplinary programs that prepare caregivers from the fields of theology, business, psychology, sociology and health professions. General practitioners will continue to provide care as they launch programs that respond to the needs of at-risk children around the world. Combining the disciplines above will lead to robust programs that care for the whole child (thus bringing together the spiritual and physical realities).

One such example of a program that seeks to bridge both Word and Deed are found in some child sponsorship programs. Johnson and Wu, in citing a recent Christianity Today article describe the powerful effect that child sponsorship programs are having on vulnerable children (181). Sponsorship programs need not only passionate people trained in child survival practices, but business and marketing backgrounds as well. Happily, we have seen some Multnomah students from our programs going that direction. Children and youth also need pastors who are willing to open up their churches to serve those most vulnerable in their community. Academic programs that are multi-disciplined can provide the essential training that is needed for this type of ministry.

The need for partnerships and interdisciplinary approaches is critical for preparing future workers among this population of young people. Internships and practicum opportunities, as well as working with organizations that understand best practices, give students the opportunity to put into play what they are learning in the classroom. This is a critical piece for preparing younger generations in mission engagement. As a student at Multnomah in my undergrad, interning with a nonprofit organization in Colombia played a critical role in my vocational calling. It was that interplay between theory and practice, the classroom and field work, that eventually led me to full-time work in Latin America upon graduating.

Children and youth are clearly seen prioritized in the ministry of Jesus as he places the child in the midst of His disciples (Matt 18:12). It is time that our academic training institutions follow His example and provide programs that focus on those most vulnerable in society.

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Works Cited

Castellanos, Noel. Where the Cross Meets the Street. Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2015.

Johnson, Todd and Cindy Wu. Our Global Families. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2015.

May, Scottie, Beth Posterski, Catherine Stonehouse & Linda Cannell. Children Matter: Celebrating Their Place in the Church, Family, and Community. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. 2005.

Payne, J.D. Pressure Points: Twelve Global Issues Shaping the Face of the Church. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson 2013.

Pocock, Michael, Gailyn Van Rheenen and Douglas McConnell. The Changing Face of Missions. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2005.

Steffen, Tom and Lois McKinney Douglas. Encountering Missionary Life and Work: Preparing for Intercultural Ministry. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. 2008.