Press Releases

Four seminary students selected for two-week internship in Oxford

If studying ancient manuscripts is a dream come true, then studying ancient manuscripts at one of the world’s best universities must be paradise.

Four seminary students from MU have been selected to attend the Logos Conference, a two-week internship at Oxford sponsored by the Green Scholars Initiative (GSI). Only students working on GSI projects were invited to apply for the summer conference, where world-renowned academic experts will teach them history, theology and textual studies.

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Haley Kirkpatrick (pictured) is studying in Oxford with classmates Becca McMartin, Daniel Somboonsiri and David Tucker.

Students from more than 60 schools across North America applied, but only 30 people were selected. Five additional students who participated in the 2014 internship were chosen to attend as second-year fellows. David Tucker and Becca McMartin will be attending the conference for the first time. Haley Kirkpatrick and Daniel Somboonsiri will be joining as second-year fellows.

Biblical Languages Chair Dr. Karl Kutz told his Hebrew students about the opportunity this winter and encouraged them to apply. McMartin, Kirkpatrick and Somboonsiri have assisted Kutz with two GSI projects, and Tucker has helped with one. Both projects focused on analyzing a never-before-seen Dead Sea Scroll fragment loaned to them from the Green Collection.

“These four are some of our best students, and I am delighted they have been selected,” says Kutz. “The invitation for them to participate speaks very highly of their skills and the quality of our program.”

McMartin says she waited on pins and needles to find out if she was chosen for the trip. When she heard the good news, she called Kirkpatrick, who had just received confirmation of her own acceptance. They screamed together in glee over the phone.

“This is almost unbelievable,” says McMartin. “Studying a Dead Sea Scroll fragment is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And everything we do in Oxford will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity too! It’s humbling, and it’s an honor.”

Kutz, who was invited to lead three sessions of a Logos Hebrew language seminar, will join his students in Oxford for five days. 

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Daniel Somboonsiri (pictured) and Haley Kirkpatrick will attend the Logos Conference as second-year fellows.

“I am excited for them to have the opportunity to learn from other leading scholars in the field of textual research,” he says. “I am also glad they get to rub shoulders with other junior scholars from around the world who will become their peers as they continue in their studies and careers.”

As second-year fellows, Kirkpatrick and Somboonsiri will give presentations on the two GSI projects they have tackled. They’ll discuss the particular fragments they studied, how they analyzed them, processes in research they took and more. In addition to presenting their findings, fellows will also lead small group discussions. “Our schedule in Oxford is packed!” says Kirkpatrick. “Group discussions are a way for us to process the experience as it’s happening.”

Although the internship is a flurry of chapels, lectures, tours, discussions and tea times, Kirkpatrick hopes McMartin and Tucker can slow down to soak it all in. “My hope is that their experience in Oxford affirms for them how well God knows them and what he’s called them to do,” she says.

McMartin says they wouldn’t be going to Oxford if it weren’t for their teachers. “Our professors have accepted a huge responsibility by taking on GSI projects so that we could have this opportunity,” she says. “I’m so thankful for their investment in us.”

Kirkpatrick agrees. “I appreciate their emphasis on teamwork, and I appreciate recognizing and encouraging strengths in your teammates,” she says. “Our professors have a keen understanding of the language complimented by curiosity. They invite their students into the process. I still think we have the best Hebrew program in the country.”

Learn more about MU's Hebrew program.

‘Our outreach is extensive’: Students volunteer down the street, across the world

Collectively, Multnomah students provide more than 38,000 hours to communities each year — and their contributions span the globe.

They serve as role models for at-risk teens in Portland. They partner with nonprofit agencies in the greater community. And this Friday, the men’s basketball team is heading to Taiwan for a trip filled with service projects, community outreach and basketball games.

The Lions will compete in nine games, including Lovelife, a high-profile annual event that raises awareness and money for children with cancer. Teammates will present the Good News during each half-time.

“This trip is important because it’s an exceptional opportunity to share the gospel,” says sophomore business major Tanner Schula. “God has blessed us with the platform of basketball for ministry. Through basketball, we can first connect with the Taiwanese on a personal basis — and then share Christ.”

During the nine-day trip, the Lions will visit several schools, churches and an assisted living facility.

“It’s exciting that a small Christian school can have such a large capacity for ministry,” says Schula, “This trip displays Multnomah’s expansive reach.”

‘What Multnomah is all about’

Head Basketball Coach Curt Bickley puts a heavy emphasis on outreach and community service; he’s led his teams on mission trips to the Czech Republic and Taiwan for the past seven years. This is the fifth time the Lions are traveling to Taiwan.

“We’re looking forward to seeing old friends, spreading the Gospel, and playing basketball in a great place,” says Bickley. “It’s very exciting that our university has such an emphasis on mission work and that we get to take part in such a great trip.”

The athletes don’t stop serving when they’re back in the States. For the past eight years, the Lions have hosted a free basketball clinic for children at a Native American reservation in Washington. The clinic gives the team an opportunity to impart their skills — and share their faith. “Kids have gotten saved at these events,” says Bickley.

The Lions also volunteer at Providence Children’s Hospital, just down the street from campus. The athletes connect with boy and girls, some of them terminally ill, for a few hours each week. They play games, read, color or just talk.

“Our outreach is extensive,”says Bickley. “This team reflects what Multnomah is all about.”

Communicating values through action

The trip to Taiwan closely follows another service event Multnomah has observed for decades — Day of Outreach. 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.

Senior psychology major Brenna Coy has been attending Day of Outreach since she transferred to MU as a sophomore. “Volunteering encourages me and other students to reach out to our neighborhood,” she says. “It builds bridges in the community.”

Theology and philosophy professor Dr. Mike Gurney agrees. He appreciates the opportunity to impact local organizations while interacting with students outside the classroom. Multnomah requires half of its professors to participate in each Day of Outreach event.

“As Christians, it’s not just about what we say; it’s also about what we do,” he says. “We want to communicate our values through action.”

One fall, Gurney and Coy joined a group of student volunteers at Portland Metro Arts (PMA), a nonprofit community arts organization in Southeast Portland. For several hours they dusted, wiped, polished and swept.

Nancy Yeamans, PMA’s executive director, played classical music from a small boom box as students bustled around her. A vacuum hummed in the background, and the smell of Windex hung in the air.

“I know you think that cleaning is probably not a big deal,” she says. “But to us it’s a huge deal because we rely a lot on volunteers. It’s meaningful beyond what you can imagine.”

‘We need to love people’

Besides international trips and Day of Outreach, students participate year-round in Service Learning, a campus-based program that connects them with local nonprofits. Students volunteer weekly at more than 70 organizations across the Portland metro area. They also gain priceless wisdom from field specialists who double as mentors.

“We’re committed to helping students integrate what they’re learning in the classroom with real life,” says Service Learning Director Dr. Roger Trautmann. “Whatever service God puts on their hearts is a possibility. From skateboarding to helping the homeless, from children’s ministry to working with seniors, we can connect them with more than 1,500 churches, ministries and service organizations.”

Sophomore Bible and theology major Katie Mansanti says Service Learning connected her to Adorned in Grace Design Studio, an outreach to at-risk teen girls in Northeast Portland. People donate all kinds of fabrics to the nonprofit, where volunteers like Mansanti teach the girls how to sew. The studio aims to prevent sex trafficking by empowering young women to become advocates on behalf of their sisters and friends.

Volunteers provide snacks, help with homework, offer workshops, run a mentorship program and lead a Bible study. “This is a safe place for them to hang out after school and have someone to talk to,” Mansanti says.

Mansanti’s knack for sewing and heart for teens was a perfect fit for the studio. “It’s nice to take something that’s second nature to me and share it with these girls,” she says. “We all need someone to nudge us along and tell us we’re doing a good job.”

Volunteering may be a time commitment for students, but Mansanti doesn’t see it as a burden. “Service Learning allows you to give back,” she says. “Helping people is important to God. We need to love people and be Jesus to them.”

Teachers, scholars and leaders: Faculty add to a rich legacy of scholarship

A lot of great things are happening at Multnomah – new majors, new online degrees, new athletic programs – but one thing hasn’t changed: our commitment to providing an exceptional academic experience firmly rooted in God’s Word.

josberger_featureimageOur professors express this commitment by cultivating biblical wisdom in our students and publishing works that add depth and meaning to their respective fields. They’re experts in biblical exegesis, language and theological research – and they’re keenly aware of the complexities of modern society.

“Our faculty serve as thought leaders in their particular academic areas,” says Dr. Craig Williford, Multnomah’s president. “Their research, publications, speaking and teaching are all anchored in the authoritative Word of God.”

Multnomah’s rich legacy of scholarship continues to this day. Current Multnomah faculty members have authored more than 20 books covering a wide array of topics. They include Al Baylis, Derek Chinn, Brad Harper, Rebekah Josberger, Rick McKinley, Paul Louis Metzger and John Terveen.

“They know that God’s truth provides the proper foundation for all our academic explorations,” says Williford. “Combining their commitment to the Bible with being on the forefront of research provides the best quality educational experience for our students.”

Visit our faculty page to learn more.

Multnomah University adds track and field to the sports lineup

Comments Off Written on April 10th, 2015 by
Categories: Press Releases

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Multnomah University Athletic Department is excited to announce the addition of men’s and women’s track and field for the 2015-16 school year.

“We are so thankful for the support and encouragement that we have received from our administration as we continue to grow our athletic offerings here at MU,” Athletic Director Lois Vos said. “Adding track and field is a big step for MU, and we are blessed to have such an experienced and caring leader in Coach David Lee to get things started.”

As coach of both cross country teams, Lee led the Lions to an extremely successful inaugural season. The men’s team qualified for the NCCAA Division II national race, and Nathan Meeker became MU’s first individual national champion. Sindy Larson, meanwhile, also ran in the NCCAA Division II championships, becoming the first female athlete from MU to compete at the national level.

“Coaching at MU is a privilege, and the responsibility of starting programs from the-ground-up is especially joyous,” Coach Lee said. “Getting acquainted with new coaching partners as we share the anticipation of what God has planned for the Lions is a big part of my joy. Everywhere I recruit, the name Multnomah is well received because the school's administration, faculty and staff have held true to the earliest core values of the founders. I hope that our new athletic endeavors meld well with the spiritual heritage that is such a key part of MU and that we'll be recognized  for athletic excellence in the future.”

With the addition of the track and field squads, Multnomah now features 10 teams. Over the past year, MU Athletics has grown by leaps and bounds by adding six programs: men’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s basketball, and men’s and women’s golf. The Lions have a distinguished history in men’s basketball and women’s volleyball.

Pending acceptance into the NAIA, all of the teams will compete in the Cascade Collegiate Conference during the 2015-16 season. The NAIA offers 23 different track and field events for student athletes. Madison and Portland Christian high schools have graciously given MU the go-ahead to use their facilities for training in the various track and field disciplines.

Kenya native and global development & justice student Max Olwa: ‘Living in this community is uplifting’

Max Olwa might be 9,000 miles from home, but he knows he’s in the right place at the right time.

“I came here from Kenya, but I feel like I’ve always been a part of this place,” says the MAGDJ student. “Living in this community is uplifting.” Read Max’s story.

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MU’s Torah unrolls new learning opportunities for community

Comments Off Written on February 6th, 2015 by
Categories: Events, Press Releases, 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.

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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.” 

Executive director and DCP alumna Gayle Fidanzo: ‘I wouldn’t be the leader I am without MU’

Comments Off Written on January 12th, 2015 by
Categories: Alumni, Press Releases, Students

When Gayle Fidanzo was offered a job at Christian Family Adoptions, she was reluctant to accept.

“We all want the desires of our heart — but I didn’t know my heart yet,” says the leadership and ministry major. The DCP graduate dreamed of taking risks, working overseas and rescuing women from slavery. “I thought an adoption agency would be boring,” she says.

It was quite the opposite. Read Gayle's story.

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Multnomah Biblical Seminary awarded national ‘Science for Seminaries’ grant

Comments Off Written on December 2nd, 2014 by
Categories: Press Releases

Update: PBS featured this grant in a recent national broadcast. Watch the video.

PORTLAND, Ore. − Multnomah Biblical Seminary is one of 10 seminaries nationwide selected by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for a combined $1.5 million in grants to incorporate science into core theological curricula.

SeminaryGrant_mainThe grant will provide resources to integrate science into select core courses, such as systematic theology, biblical studies, church history and pastoral theology. The courses will be developed and implemented over the next two years and provide seminarians with solid, science-focused instruction.

“Many people look to their religious leaders for guidance on issues relating to science and technology, even though clergy members may get little exposure to science in their training,” said Jennifer Wiseman, director of the AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion.

Dr. Paul Louis Metzger, MU seminary professor and director of its Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins, said evangelical Christianity has often experienced a difficult relationship with the contemporary sciences. “Ironically, the evangelical movement has benefited greatly from implementing scientific and technological advances in communication and media for gospel proclamation,” he said.

MU educates countless pastors, whose churches draw people from diverse backgrounds and vocations, including the sciences. “Often these parishioners feel like they live in two universes: one of faith and one of science,” said Metzger, who serves as the project leader. “Through New Wine, New Wineskins’ oversight and coordination, this generous grant will make it possible for our seminary faculty to equip students in the integration of faith and science. Our students will be more effective as pastoral leaders in serving their members, their vocations and their communities in our scientific age.”

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About Multnomah University

Multnomah University is a fully accredited, private, non-denominational, Christian institution of higher education located in Portland, Oregon, with teaching sites in Reno, Nevada, and Seattle, Washington. Composed of a college, seminary, graduate school, degree completion program and online distance-learning program, Multnomah issues bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees, as well as professional certifications and endorsements. For more information, visit multnomah.edu.

Couple donates 16th-century Torah to MU

Comments Off Written on September 4th, 2014 by
Categories: Press Releases

PORTLAND, Ore. — Ken and Barbara Larson, from Bonita Springs, Fla., are giving a rare and valuable Torah to Multnomah University.

scrollThe Torah is a parchment scroll on which the first five books of the Old Testament were written. The Larsons purchased several scrolls, all of which are hundreds of years old, in Israel.

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

Vice President of Advancement Steve Cummings said the gift will further ignite students’ passion for God’s Word. “This is an incredible and generous gift,” he said. “It will bring an added dimension to their educational experience that will last for many years.”

Although the scroll is centuries old, Hillard said it’s durable enough to be used frequently for decades to come. “All Torahs are innately priceless,” he said. “This one is in perfect condition.” He added that the scroll — which is two feet tall and 89 feet long — was likely used in synagogues.

University President Dr. Craig Williford said the artifact will help sharpen students’ interpretation skills while enhancing their appreciation for the Bible’s reliability. “Having direct access to such an important historical copy of the Torah will enable them to connect to the rich heritage of biblical transmission and translation work,” he said.  “This will affirm their appreciation of the Scriptures as God’s inspired, authoritative word.”

The scroll’s formal dedication will be hosted on campus and is tentatively set for early February.

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About Multnomah University

Multnomah University is a fully accredited, private, non-denominational, Christian institution of higher education located in Portland, Oregon, with teaching sites in Reno, Nevada, and Seattle, Washington. Composed of a college, seminary, graduate school, degree completion program and online distance-learning program, Multnomah issues bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees, as well as professional certifications and endorsements. For more information, visit multnomah.edu.

Steve Cummings joins MU as vice president of Advancement

Comments Off Written on August 4th, 2014 by
Categories: General, Press Releases

PORTLAND, Ore. — Steve Cummings has been selected as vice president of Multnomah University’s Advancement Department.

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