Students

Roger’s Café Celebrates Five Years of Coffee and Community

Comments Off Written on December 4th, 2015 by
Categories: Students

Frothed milk, toasted coffee beans, chocolate drizzles and vanilla syrup are a golden combination for busy students. At Roger’s Café, the deep, rich scents of Portland’s favorite drink beckon passers-by and create the space for conversation.

Roger Porrett is eager to share the story of “his café” with anyone who passes through. Five years ago, students were asked to submit suggestions for the name of the new café. It didn’t take much deliberation. The students voted in an overwhelming majority to name the coffee shop after Roger, a beloved community figure who has been cleaning tables, arranging napkins and befriending students as a faithful volunteer for more than 35 years.

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The day of the café’s christening will forever bring a smile to Roger’s face. “I made a speech and thanked the students,” he remembers. “They all clapped. I gave hugs and cut the ribbon. I was happy for that.”

Roger’s happiness still hasn’t worn off. In fact, it contributes to the café’s welcoming atmosphere. “Roger’s is a great place to foster existing relationships,” says Tony Huyhn, a pastoral ministry major. “It shows that our school is relationally-oriented and focused on building community.”

English major Daniel Gillespie agrees. “It’s a transient place to have a brief or long conversation,” he says. “It’s a space for a wide variety of social interactions in a natural setting.”

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Many different types of chats take place at Roger’s. Sitara Kannen, an English major who works as a writing tutor, is thankful that her meetings happen in the café. “There’s something about eating and drinking together that relaxes people,” she says. “Writing tutoring is usually very emotional, but this atmosphere makes it easier for them to talk about whatever they want to. It helps them not be so intimidated.”

The atmosphere is also helpful for dispelling writer’s block. Drew Harper, son of MU professor Brad Harper, is working on a book with his dad. “Roger’s is the only place I write,” Harper says. “I told that to my publisher, and he flew me out from Los Angeles just to write at Roger’s.”

Roger-in-Rogers-Judy Glanz, the educational ministries department director, enjoys popping into the café because of its inclusive ambiance. “I come here to meet people because I enjoy the comradery of students and faculty,” she says. “This is a central place to connect.”

Whether it’s Hebrew professors and their students gathering around the table to study, or visitors tasting their first London Fog, Roger’s is a magnet for social interaction.

That’s what drew Tirzah Allen, Master of Arts in TESOL student, to apply for a job as barista. She appreciates the opportunity to meet people she might not see otherwise. “I make sure to be intentional about connecting to the student body through my job in the coffee shop,” she says.

Roger’s Manager Annie Bell feels the same way. “Working here is an excuse to be a part of people’s everyday lives,” she says. “It’s an avenue for relationship.”

Roger often wanders through his café to ask questions, hand out napkins, show off his rainbow suspenders and make students laugh. “I volunteer because I like the students, and they like me too,” he says with a lopsided grin.

You can get a caffeine fix virtually anywhere in Portland, but Roger’s signature blend of complex academia, rich conversation and sweet hugs — from the man himself — is a brew all its own.

Students collect food for Giving Tuesday, donate proceeds to Oregon Food Bank

Comments Off Written on December 2nd, 2015 by
Categories: Events, Students

There's always chapel on Tuesday, but today was a special kind of gathering. Today was the culmination of MU's food drive in observance of Giving Tuesday, a globally celebrated day dedicated to giving back. 

Since mid-November, students, faculty and staff have been adding non-perishable foods to the large white barrels stationed around campus. And today, those barrels — full to the brim — were brought to the front of the stage for a celebratory chapel before they were given to the Oregon Food Bank.

"We asked ourselves, 'What can we do to give to the Portland community?'" says Vice President Steve Cummings. "We came up with this idea for a food drive. We want to give back because we want to reflect the character of God."

Giving Tuesday Group Photo

Senior Drew Schinderwolf agrees. "It shows that we care," says the pastoral ministry major. "And it shows that we're not set apart, living in a bubble — we're a part of the community."

Freshmen and fellow history majors Ivory Linger and Hannah Aguirre were excited when they heard about about the initiative, and they're delighted the food drive is being established as a Multnomah tradition.

"It's the simplest acts that make a difference," says Linger. "This is something small we can do that does make a difference and shows people you care about them."

Aguirre concurs. "If you can give, it brings you closer to others," she says.  "I know God's going to use this to reach people."

MU celebrates 10 years of providing free English classes to local immigrant communities

Comments Off Written on November 30th, 2015 by
Categories: Programs, Students

Each Wednesday evening, people from all different countries begin to trickle through the Multnomah library doors. Some are garbed in long skirts and colorful head shawls; others wear flip-flops and tattered t-shirts. Some skip briskly down the stairs. Others need the assistance of family members. Some are toting notebooks, and some are empty-handed. They bear the marks of travel, and their appearances clash and contrast, but they have one thing in common — they’re all smiling as they slip into their classrooms to learn English.

‘Bringing the world together’

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For 10 years now, MU’s TESOL program has been offering free weekly ESL classes to its ethnically diverse neighbors. Some are doctors, teachers, engineers or business professionals. Some have been through war, and others suffer from PTSD. Most are from different religions. One semester, a flock of orange-cloaked Buddhist monks were regular students. They arrived early each week to explore the MU library.

“ESL meets a practical need in our community,” says TESOL Department Director Kristyn Kidney. “It helps our MU students teach in a classroom by learning to navigate themselves. And it brings the world together through dialogue and friendship.”

‘Tenacious about learning’

DSC_7690Hue is a little Vietnamese woman who gives a gift to her teacher and writes a thank-you letter to the university every semester. Each year she returns to Vietnam to share the gospel with auditoriums of people.

Fatima is a 19-year-old young woman who moved from Somalia with her family eight months ago. She hopes to attend Portland Community College next year. “I love English class and learning English,” she says.

Whether it’s repeating phrases, doing crossword puzzles, acting out skits, sharing a plate of cookies or hearing tips about healthcare from a local doctor, ESL students are continually hungry for more. Just like a tidal wave, their enthusiasm affects everyone around them.

“These students are tenacious about learning English and are willing to work hard to get a better life,” says Becky Gerhardus, the program receptionist. “It requires a huge dose of humility to learn another language, but these students are sponges. They come early and stay as late as they can because they want to be here so badly.”

‘A journey of servitude’

Master of Arts in TESOL student Tirzah Allen wants to be there just as badly. Her sense of adventure motivated her to study ESL, and she’s passionate about her career choice. “I wanted the ability to open more doors and to be challenged continuously,” she says. “This is the full program with the tools to succeed. I’ve had the opportunity to meet with people from Burma, Vietnam, Cuba and beyond.”

And the students keep on coming. TESOL Professor John Runcie, who has taught at MU since 2007, was amazed when Wednesday night attendance skyrocketed. “This semester God has blessed our program with twice as many students!” he says. “One evening I looked up to see a tsunami of people coming down the stairs toward us.”

Runcie sees the weekly lessons as prime opportunities for his MA in TESOL students to reflect Christ’s light through all they do. And Allen remembers this whenever she teaches. “I’m learning that a teacher’s journey is one of servitude,” she says. “I can’t always out rightly incorporate the gospel in every environment, but I can always show others what I believe.”

The teachers’ efforts do not go unnoticed. Someone once told Runcie, “Many people talk about missions at Multnomah, but the TESOL program actually does it!”

Gerhardus agrees. “This program is like heaven,” she says. “People from every tribe, nation and tongue are here on the campus. God has brought the world to MU’s doorstep.”

Fighting complacency: MU student takes high schoolers on a field trip to view MU’s Torah scroll

Comments Off Written on November 18th, 2015 by
Categories: Programs, Students

Typically, high schoolers step onto MU’s campus for visit events and Spring Thaw. But today, the 53 freshmen from the Old Testament survey course at Westside Christian High School were here for class. Their teacher? Hebrew and educational ministries major Julia Glanz.

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As part of her educational ministries senior practicum, Glanz teaches twice a week at Westside. She tests and improves her lesson planning, grading and front-of-the-classroom skills in the freshman survey course and a Christian Leadership class for seniors.

For today’s lesson, though, Glanz thought it’d be helpful to switch things up by instructing in a new environment. “Studying the Bible in the classroom is a huge gift, but there’s a danger that students will become apathetic toward it as a result of the routine schedule,” she explains.

For Glanz, teaching the Word of God is exciting, and she wanted the field trip to transfer that excitement to her students. “Scripture is dynamic — it’s not this dead book sitting in front of us,” she says. “I wanted this to be one more experience that fights complacency.”

During class, Glanz introduced multiple topics of discussion and passed out worksheets. But the icing on the cake was treating her students to a viewing of Multnomah’s ancient Torah scroll.

Glanz hopes the experience created memorable learning. “Now, every time the students hear ‘Hebrew,’ ‘scroll,’ or even an ad for Multnomah on the radio, it will trigger the lessons they learned on this trip,” she says.

At the end of the day, Glanz was encouraged not only by her students’ engagement, enthusiasm and probing questions, but also by their depth of thinking.

“[What I’ve] learned today has inspired me to spend more time reading my Bible and looking into Scripture with a new perspective,” one student told her.

Another referred to the Torah scroll, declaring, “I see God’s power in it.”

Like her students, Glanz also gained some insight. “[The fieldtrip] was a safe place for me to learn and grow and struggle [as a teacher],” she says. The event provided a unique way to hone her skills as an educator while further equipping her for a career in Bible teaching.

The support Glanz received from professors only accelerated her growth as leader. And her classes have been key to her success. “The professors are willing to go the extra mile,” she says. “No class has been a waste.”

Give what you can during our campus food drive!

Comments Off Written on November 13th, 2015 by
Categories: Events, Students

We all know about Black Friday. And Cyber Monday. But have you heard of Giving Tuesday?

Giving Tuesday, the first Tuesday of every December, is a globally celebrated day dedicated to giving back. That means charities, businesses, community centers and people around the world will join together to promote generosity.

Multnomah is celebrating by kicking off a campus-wide food drive that will donate all proceeds to the Oregon Food Bank.

GivingTuesday

About the food drive

Food drive kickoff

Monday, November 16

Last day to drop off donations

Tuesday, December 1, by noon

Where to drop off your contributions

Donation stations will be available in:

  • The Advancement Office
  • The seminary
  • The Student Lounge in the JCA

The Student Lounge will be the primary collection point.

Who can participate?

Everyone! Students, staff and faculty are all invited to participate. Don’t be surprised if you’re challenged by a department or student group to see who can collect more food items!

Join us

Your contributions will make all the difference to hungry families this season. Buy some healthy food choices at a local grocery store (choose items from the list below) and drop them off at one of our Food Bank Buckets. Tell your classmates and get your friends involved. The more the merrier!

What to donate

  • Canned meats (i.e., tuna, chicken, salmon)
  • Canned or dried beans
  • Canned fruits and vegetables (reduced sodium and reduced sugar)
  • Whole-grain foods such as brown rice, whole grain cereal and whole-wheat pasta
  • Soups, chilies and stews (reduced sodium and reduced fat)
  • 100 percent fruit juice (canned, plastic or boxed)
  • Shelf-stable milk
  • Unsaturated cooking oils

Giving Tuesday celebration

The food collection will culminate December 1 with a reflection chapel in the JCA, where we’ll stack all the food donations and take a group photo to celebrate God’s provision.

That afternoon, the food will be gathered up from MU and transported to the Oregon Food Bank. We’re looking for students to volunteer for this process. If you’d like to be involved, contact the Advancement Department at advancement@multnomah.edu.

80 ways to give

If you’re looking for even more ways to give, check out our 80 Ways to Give page that we made in honor of Giving Tuesday and our upcoming 80th birthday. Choose from the creative list of ideas, and start giving in new ways today!

Learn more

To learn more about Giving Tuesday, visit www.givingtuesday.org.

To learn more about the Oregon Food Bank, visit oregonfoodbank.org.

Student travels to Honduras, volunteers at orphanage

Comments Off Written on November 9th, 2015 by
Categories: Missions, Students

When Wendy Buller was on her way to Honduras this summer, she wasn't quite sure what to expect. The elementary education major had been on a few mission trips before, so she knew there would be hard work involved. But she'd never worked at an orphanage in Honduras before.

Buller first heard about the trip at Multnomah's 2015 annual Global Missions Conference. Hope Teams International, a nonprofit that works with orphans and street children in developing nations, was offering the trip as a raffle prize. "I think God put it on my heart to apply," she says. "I thought, 'Why not?'"

When Hope Teams announced that Buller had been selected for the trip, it was confirmation that she'd done the right thing. Buller and her team left for the 10-day trip in June. As soon as she arrived in Honduras, Buller was taken aback by the poverty she saw all around her. "It felt like walking into national geographic photo," she says.

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Her team drove an hour outside the city to the orphanage. It was in the jungle, surrounded by a brick wall and fence; Buller guessed it was about the size of Multnomah's campus. The enclosed area included a school, play areas and dormitories for the 40 children who live there.

During the morning and early afternoon the volunteers painted the orphanage and worked on constructing a new school building. Once school ended later in the afternoon, the children flooded outside to spend times with their new friends.

"One of my favorite things about the trip was playing with the kids after they got out of school," says Buller. "The language barrier was frustrating for me, but they didn’t seem to care that we didn’t know Spanish; they still wanted to play."

And the more Buller played, the more she got to know the brave spirits behind each smiling face. "You wouldn’t have believed where theses kids had come from," she says. "When they shared their testimonies, it was shocking." Some had been abandoned by their parents. Others had been abused over and over. Some had families who simply couldn't taken of them, so they sent them away. Others had lost their parents to death or disease.

"Once kids have someone to love on them, they will shine," says Buller. "These kids grew up learning how to steal, but now they learn to hug and show their true gifts. All of them are very talented. It was amazing to see God working there with them."

When it was time to leave in July, Buller felt like a different person. She thinks about the orphanage often, and she even began sponsoring a young boy she befriended there.

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"I love those kids so much!" she says. "I made a lot of good relationships with them. This trip made me want to do even more mission trips with kids. I love that I was able to see God working in another place across the world."

Buller says she wants to work with kids full-time one day, perhaps as a teacher. But for now, the junior is preparing for her career by taking advantage of MU's rigorous courses and supportive professors. "I love the classes here; they make me want to work harder," she says. "And the professors have a way of inspiring you to keep learning more outside of class."

But something very close to her heart is the university mission statement. "I love that it’s about equipping us to be missionaries wherever we are," she says. "MU wants its students to go into the world and be like Christ. Because of Multnomah, I feel prepared for a job — and I feel prepared to stand up for my faith."

Students reflect on blessings, thank MU givers

Comments Off Written on November 6th, 2015 by
Categories: Faculty, Financial Aid, Students

As Thanksgiving approaches, we're taking time to remember all the blessings God has given us over the past year, including his amazing work through Multnomah givers.

At our recent Day of Thanks event, students signed a massive card dedicated to the Multnomah family members who generously donate their resources so men and women from around the world can receive a timeless education that equips them for careers in service to Jesus.

Thank you to all our wonderful givers! Your gifts really do change lives.

MU alumni, missionaries impact students during recent visit

Comments Off Written on November 2nd, 2015 by
Categories: Alumni, Missions, Students

Dan (’97) and Janell (’00) Hartley have a desire to transform lives. For the past 10 years, they have been sharing the gospel as missionaries in Southern Africa. During a recent trip to their alma mater, the couple brought their passion for the gospel to Dr. Karen Fancher’s Pressing Global Issues class.

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“As alumni, our hearts are connected to Multnomah,” says Janell. “We hope that our stories — the chapters we have done well and the chapters we have learned from — will be a blessing and ignite a passion for doing missions.”

Youth ministry major Miguel Ruiz’s attention was undivided during their presentation. Hearing their stories and well-spoken wisdom unexpectedly awakened something in his heart. “My plan was to be a soccer coach, and now…” the freshman trails off, shaking his head and chuckling at his sudden change of heart. “I think God is putting me somewhere else.”

The Hartley’s vision and devotion acted as a catalyst within Ruiz — he now finds himself lying awake at night, thinking about his potential new path. Although he’s unsure of the future, he’s confident in God’s plan for his life. “It’s His will, not mine,” he says.

Making it clear that their work as missionaries isn’t always easy, the Hartleys were honest about past struggles with self-doubt and self-identity. “I needed to understand not just who I am in Christ, but whose I am,” says Dan.

It’s not by chance that past failures often hinder our mission and vision, especially when you’re working for the Lord. “We have a target on our backs, and that doesn’t go away just because we step into ministry,” he says.

But hardship can be overcome by choosing to rely on God for strength, not on ourselves. Janell advised students to come to the Lord with questions as a way to overcome self-reliance.

“When I wake up I pray, ‘Good morning, Lord. What do you want me to accomplish?’” she says. “Learn what his heart is.”

The students attentively soaked up their advice for navigating the ebb and flow of challenges that missionaries often encounter. In closing, the Hartleys offered a way to react to those challenges: “We stopped asking, ‘Why?’ and asked God, ‘What are you doing, and how can we be a part of it?’”

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Visit the Hartleys’ website at www.magezi.org if you’d like information about their vision to share the gospel with unreached people groups in Sub-Saharan Africa. Contact Janell to request email updates or newsletters at janell@magezi.org. Most importantly, remember to keep them in your prayers.

MAC students launch advocacy project, help transitioning foster children

Students in the MAC program’s Spiritual Integration and Social Concern class are living what they’re learning. The soon-to-be counselors recently completed an advocacy project on behalf of Oregon foster kids.

It began with Professor Chris Cleaver’s desire to create an opportunity for his students to experience real advocacy, an adventure that would take them outside of their lectures and textbooks.

“I’m trying to communicate the role of counselors, the role of advocacy, and then have my students practice those skills,” he says. “Why not actually make someone’s life better while we’re  learning how to make someone’s life better?”

Once the students collaborated on the project, they chose to serve foster kids. With only weeks to make a difference, they quickly identified a need that continuously popped up during their research: Although there are many resources for young adults phasing out of the foster care system into independence, many of these resources are outdated or inaccessible.

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“Foster kids can stay in the system up until they’re 23 if they go to college,” says Cleaver. But many have no idea this is an option. “Having current resources and knowing how to take advantage of all those resources can help foster kids avoid pitfalls,” he says.

The students set out to change that by creating multiple brochures with updated information helpful to foster kids moving out of the system. Then they passed them around to various agencies in Multnomah County.

MAC student Sarah Kumm was thrilled to be fulfilling this need with her classmates, and she was encouraged by the feedback they received from social workers. “Everyone I talked to said new resources are huge on their hearts,” she says. “Foster agencies do an amazing job, but they just don’t have time to improve all their resources.”

The project became more than just a grade or a deadline once the students saw how much their effort benefited the kids. “It reminds me of how much is going on in the world and the services that are needed,” says Kumm. “Culturally, we became more sensitive to people we were unfamiliar with. Listening and being there and supporting is what God has called us to do.”

Cleaver agrees. “I very much believe that Jesus is an advocate, and we as Christians are following him in that advocacy.”

Dr. Metzger introduces latest book, announces public reading at Powell’s

Comments Off Written on October 8th, 2015 by
Categories: Books, Seminary, Students, Theology

Dr. Paul Louis Metzger — Professor of Christian Theology and Theology of Culture and Director of New Wine, New Wineskins — has released his latest book, “Evangelical Zen: A Christian’s Spiritual Travels with a Buddhist Friend” (Patheos Press, August 2015). The work features Metzger’s late friend, Zen Buddhist Priest Kyogen Carlson, who wrote the foreword and responded to Metzger’s essays.

A book reading for “Evangelical Zen” is set for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 26, 2016, at Powell’s City of Books. The event will include readings from Metzger and Sallie (Jiko) Tisdale, who will be reading one or two reflections from Abbot Kyogen Carlson’s contributions in the volume.

Until then, Metzger answers our questions about “Evangelical Zen” and the unique vision behind it.

EVZen

Can you give us a brief synopsis of the book?

“Evangelical Zen” is part Augustine’s “Confessions” and part Robert Pirsig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.” As an Evangelical Christian theologian, I reflect on my spiritual journey — an inner pilgrimage of sorts that weaves through a physical 40-day journey with my family in Japan.

The experiences of that journey, the beauties of Japan, its culture, and its religion become for me a lens on a deeper quest: I am searching for and, I believe, finding a global humanity in conversation with my friend and literary traveling companion, Abbot Kyogen Carlson, a Zen Buddhist Priest.

Can you define what you mean by “spiritual travels”?

Our travels through life as Christians are ultimately spiritual, not secular. We should never compartmentalize our faith, even in seemingly secular and pluralistic cultural settings.

Moreover, our faith is not static. While our eternal destination as Christians is secure through personal faith in Jesus Christ, our faith is an ongoing journey. Thus, our encounters with various people, places and things in life can serve as sign posts of faith as we seek to love God with all our hearts and our neighbors as ourselves.

What compelled you to write this book?

I felt compelled to write this book because my spiritual journey has taken me to Japan over the years through marriage to my wife Mariko, a Japanese national. Our children Christopher and Julianne have joined us on that journey. I have come to deeply love Japanese culture. Through my experiences in Japan, I have come to love Jesus more while also loving people across the globe. My travels there have helped me in my endeavors to become more sensitive to people of various cultures here and abroad.

Such growth here has been enhanced through my friendship over the years with Zen Buddhist Priest, Kyogen Carlson, who founded Dharma Rain Zen Center in Portland with his fellow abbot and spouse, Gyokuko. Since we first met in 2003, and until his sudden passing from a massive heart attack in September 2014, Kyogen and I developed a deep, abiding friendship. He agreed to write responses to the various essays, as well as a foreword to the whole book. For all our theological and philosophical differences from one another revealed in the book, Kyogen’s thoughts complete mine in this volume as we seek to understand life and humanity better.

How might reading this book be beneficial for a Christ-follower?

Evangelical Zen will help Christians navigate life and our increasingly diverse and multi-faith culture in such a manner that we can love God through Jesus more without having to love our diverse neighbors less. In fact, I believe our Christian faith, if cultivated well, makes it possible for us to love people of diverse paths better and with more sensitivity here and abroad.

Why is it important to build friendships with people of other religions?

I believe God’s love has been on display over the years with my Buddhist friends here in Portland, as my students and other Christians have joined the Carlsons, Dharma Rain Zen Center parishioners, and me for potluck meals and dialogues where we discuss key aspects of our respective faiths, including what divides us. We don’t sweep our differences under the table, nor do we stop short of engaging one another relationally. Instead, we go through our differences to build bridges of authentic trust that bind us together in the midst of culture wars that could easily divide us.

My students value such opportunities to engage people of diverse faiths. After all, they also live in an increasingly religiously diverse society. Like all of us, they need to learn how to engage their multi-faith society well in grace and truth. Their neighborhoods, the marketplace and ministry contexts (such as in the various spheres of chaplaincy and pastoral visitation) require that they become sensitive and adept at presenting biblical truth in a truly meaningful and gracious way. As our former MU president Dr. Joe Aldrich used to say, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  That is equally true here in the States, Japan, and anywhere else in the world.