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Multnomah and Western Make Decision on Seminary Consolidation

In Spring 2007, Multnomah Biblical Seminary and Western Seminary began talks to explore the possibility of consolidating the two seminaries. A task force and its sub-groups were formed to explore how consolidation would effect each institution. After several months of gathering information, the Multnomah and Western boards have come to a conclusion.

Dr. Daniel R. Lockwood, president of Multnomah Bible College and Biblical Seminary issued the following statement regarding consolidation between Multnomah and Western.

January 7, 2008

The boards of Multnomah Bible College and Biblical Seminary and Western Seminary have mutually decided to readjust the direction of their talks together concerning consolidation. This will involve focusing for the next several years on less formal ways in which the two seminaries can cooperate to the benefit of their larger constituencies. Their cooperative endeavors will include the sharing of resources, expertise, and programs and strengthening their institutional relationship. This action also means that the earlier goal of working toward a single, consolidated institution within a university model will be set aside for the indefinite future. In the meantime, both Western and Multnomah will move ahead to fulfill their respective strategic initiatives and missions.

Since the launching of the joint consolidation task force on June 20, 2007, Multnomah and Western have engaged in a beneficial process of discovery and research, gathering information vital for making decisions about current cooperation as well as future consolidation. One result was to identify areas within each institution that required special attention before formal affiliation or consolidation was possible.

For Western, one of those areas is related to presidential leadership. Because Western Seminary's president, Bert Downs, is transitioning out of the presidential role, the Western board concluded that it needed to address that situation before taking further steps toward consolidation in order to assure the ongoing health of Western. It was the Western board's belief that this would necessarily suspend consolidation talks for an indefinite season. This was communicated to Multnomah's board, which supports Western's decision and agrees that a focus instead on less formal ways of cooperation over the next several years is most appropriate.

Multnomah and Western will now employ simpler ways to continue a more informal collaboration process. The original task force structure with its five subgroups will be deactivated with the recognition that the discovery process accomplished many of its goals. The task force may be replaced with a single working group that can both explore and assess fruitful avenues of collaboration between the two schools.

Both boards are still prayerfully committed to making a mutual impact for the Kingdom of God in the Pacific Northwest, in the nation, and around the world. They believe, when the timing is right, that these two venerable evangelical institutions can leverage that impact through collaboration for the glory of God.

If you have any questions regarding the Multnomah and Western consolidation, please contact Multnomah's Director of Promotions and Communications Robert Leary at 503.251.6451 or If you would like to comment on this story, please visit the Seminary Consolidation blog.