My wife and I belong to the exclusive club of people that experience the death of a child. Parents commit to care for their children with no guarantee of what they view as success. Jesus did the same thing. He committed to dying on the cross. The disciples thought His mission was a failure because it ended in His death. God calls us not to success but to commitment. All the people you mentioned did commit to the success of Cascade and gave their lives for Cascade. But no one can tell you why Cascade failed anymore than I can tell you why my son died.
I wrote the following to Dr. O\'Neal after my last two letters about Cascade.
In August of 1994, our fourth son, Matthew was born with a genetic disorder, Junctional Epidermolysis Bullosa. This is where the skin does not have the necessary connectors and blisters would form because of friction and heat. (You can read about the other gruesome details somewhere else). His prognosis was that he had a 10% chance of making it to his 1st birthday. After having been on morphine most of his short life, he died at the age of 9 months on June 1st, 1995.
During this time my wife and I were given the choice of having the doctors insert a stomach tube so that he could get more food and maybe live longer. That choice would have been for us, not him. We did not do it. We let him go.
This is why I am so very impressed with the decision of the OC Board of Trustees. They made a difficult decision that few people can comprehend. Some will argue that if we just wait a little longer, God will ride to the rescue.
We should not serve God just because we hope He will give us what we need; we should also serve God because He wants us to become disciplined and self controlled. We forget that the discipline comes from the hard choices we are presented with.
My heart aches for Cascade but I rejoice that the OC Board has the discipline to make the hard choice. Thank you for starting Cascade when it was needed and ending Cascade in a timely and graceful manner.
It is a very painful experience to see a Christian College in the NW close for a second time.
But now is not the time to react emotionally and hurl accusations at either Cascade College or Oklahoma Christian. It is now time for open dialogue between all interested people.
I have contacted two different people about Cascade�s closing. One person on the Cascade College Board and one on the OC Board of Trustees. Given my experience in the business world and my own biases, I did not get what I expected. But what I was told is not my story to tell.
Instead of reacting out of raw emotion because our expectations have not been met or because of our experience with Columbia Christian College, I would recommend that you contact Cascade College with an open mind and an open heart.
The fact that we need a Christian College in the Pacific NW will always be true.
Also, the fact that we had a catastrophic failure with one college will always influence our perception about any similar efforts.
As I see it, the actions of OC to close Cascade College at this time prevents a repeat of the slow lingering death of Columbia Christian College that many people will always remember and do not want to experience again.
There are many hard questions that we must ask. Not questions to Cascade or OC but among ourselves as the Churches of Christ in the Northwest. I believe that some have taken for granted the blessing of Cascade College but have failed to realize the cost of such an endeavor. Much in the same way most of us take for granted the security our jobs provide us but are shocked when that security is threatened by layoffs or downsizing.
I believe these are the questions we must ask ourselves. Both on the personal level and on the corporate level of the church body. The questions will remain the same, the answers will always be different.
1. What is your vision for the church of Christ in the Northwest?
2. What is the vision of your church to impact society with the message of Jesus Christ?
As new churches such as Pump, Agape and Renovatus have been planted in our area, someone asked this question: �Why are we planting new churches when the established churches are struggling?� I heard the answer from one of the church planters. �New churches reach out to new people. The established churches reach out to established people.�
Joshua offers this challenge that we are all familiar with in the 24th chapter: \"Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.\"
We can all agree that we desire to serve the Lord in whatever we do. Please let me be so bold as to paraphrase the challenge so that each of us can define our own personal vision, our collective vision within our own local church and our vision as the Churches of Christ in the Northwest.
Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether it be the established people in the established churches, the new people in the new churches, the young people in our colleges or the people all over the world who have not heard the message of Jesus Christ.
As Jesus himself said �For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.�
I believe enough has been said already about the extreme generosity of Oklahoma Christian in regards to their funding, and what needs to be pointed out is their ignorance in regards to the situation in the northwest. Oregon and Washington are mission fields. As has been said, very little of the population claims any religious involvement, and of those, many are hostile towards Christianity. This kind of environment is about as far removed from Oklahoma as Antarctica is from the Amazon. Problems will then naturally arise when OC attempts to run a school under the same model that is not effective in a different locale.
As a student at Pepperdine, I will admit some bias in regards to my institution, but I must point to it as an example of how to survive in an antagonistic environment. Whereas in the Bible belt, simply being Church affiliated is enough to garner a respect that comes from being a cultural powerhouse, if a Christian institution is to survive on the west coast, it must gain respectability among the community outside of it\'s Christian status.
Pepperdine often tells it\'s students that it is a \"Learning institution with a Christian base.\" I think that the problem with Cascade was that it was trying to be a \"Christian institution with a learning base.\" It\'s purpose comes from being a unifying place in the Church, and it justifies it\'s existence by providing an education. Again, while this model works swimmingly in the south, in an un-churched region, it doesn\'t fly.
What Cascade needs is academic respectability. When applying, I was accepted to Cascade before furnishing any of my academic information; they didn\'t know anything about my GPA, standardized test scores or academic rigor before determining that I was suitable for their institution. While a small school may not afford to be selective from a utilitarian perspective, the fact remains that it has virtually no admission standards.
While the OCs and ACUs can operate with a near uniform Church of Christ population due to their geographic locale, schools elsewhere cannot. Pepperdine realized this, Cascade did not. And while some may not like the direction Pepperdine has taken, it is simply what must be done to survive in an un-churched area. It\'s presence is more important than remaining stalwartly religious.
Who know, maybe Pepperdine might step up and take over themselves? I don\'t know, but as for now, all I can do is hope and pray for the students and faculty, and trust that the Lord\'s good and perfect will will be done, no matter the outcome.
Please know that there are students here on this campus who dream, the seeming impossible dream, that this isn\'t over yet. That it can\'t be over yet. I\'ve been told on a few occasions this past week that the only way to keep this school going is for a miracle happen. Well... I just happen to believe in miracles, fancy that being a christian and all. I believe that it is my duty, at this point in my life, to at least look for the miracle that will save this campus, because it is impossible to discern failure if you don\'t try.
I believe that OC and the Administration at Cascade have done all that they can at this point to keep this dream of Cascade College alive, and that it is time now for the students, alumni, and whomever else we can get our hands on, to see what we can do. I really do apprecaite all that OC has done, and though it may look like OC made a \"cold hearted business decision\" to close Cascade, it has been made known that this was not an easy decision, and that many did not want to do this, but felt that they had to.
I\'ve always felt from the day that I set foot on this campus, that God had called me to be here and that this is where I belong. So much about this school has influenced who I am today. My Dad was a student at Cascade when it first started 15 years ago (he was a little of a late bloomer to collegiate life) and I can still remember coming to classes with him as a little kid when he couldn\'t find a baby sitter. My Mom went to Columbia Christian and never would have met my Dad if she had chosen a different school. There\'s a picture of me in my Dad\'s office wearing a Cascade T-shirt when i was only about 6 years old. I would really hate to see all of the great things about Cascde lost over something as insignificant as money. Because through God all things are possible, and the goal is ALWAYS closer than it is too far.
I hope none of my comments seem out of turn, and I think I may have rambled a little bit. I\'m still really emotional about everything thats been going on lately. Thank you again for your concern and prayers.
I am an avid supporter of Cascade College and have two of my sons attending as students. Jon is in his third year and David has just started his first year. I was shocked at the news of Cascade�s closing planned for the Spring of 2009. After the news broke, my brother, who is on the Cascade Board, emailed me and said if I felt like talking, feel free to call. I emailed him back and said: �What is there to talk about? OC is only doing what Daimler did earlier this month.�
I also work for Daimler Trucks North America LLC in the Portland area and they recently announced planned plant closures in Canada and Portland with additional layoffs in the Corporate office located in Portland. They, like OC, are working to maintain a viable business and are taking steps to ensure responsible management of their assets. I do not know how this will impact my future at Daimler but I commend Daimler�s efforts and the efforts of OC in this regard.
But this is where OC parts ways with Daimler. Daimler�s desire is to build trucks and make a profit in the process. OC also has to make a profit; no one wants to put their money into a losing business. But here is where OC is different. Not only does OC need to run like a business but the business of OC also involves impacting the lives by sharing the message of Jesus Christ to a world that desperately needs Him.
It is not just about Christian education, it is about using the venue of Christian education to let people practice their Christian beliefs in front of the most impressionable part of society, our young people.
The Northwest does need a Christian college. Except for two years in California, I have lived in the NW all my life. My family lived in Portland for about 1 year in the early 60�s and during that time my mother took classes from a professor at Columbia Christian College. We eventually returned to Seattle, Washington but from her time spent in Oregon, her desire was to send all four of her children to Columbia Christian College.
She succeeded and we have all been blessed by a Christian College in the NW.
I am also tired of living on the �Left Coast�. Yes, Oregon is beautiful but the populace has and practices a liberal bent. We are hard pressed to mount a good offensive for Christian living without a local college. Cascade College has been and is providing that support to our local churches.
As for the support base in the NW, it is there but it is nothing compared to what OC has built and is maintaining in Oklahoma.
I would ask you to prayerfully reconsider your decision about closing Cascade College. OC can provide for the churches in the NW what is so desperately needed, a collegiate venue by which the name of Jesus Christ can be proclaimed to a younger generation.
13542 SE Mill St
Portland OR 97233
Maudine and I have deep spiritual and emotional ties to Cascade College, and we can hardly imagine not having a Christian college in the Pacific Northwest. We have been in a state of shock and grief since hearing that OCU was planning to shut down the Cascade campus.
We are fully aware that Olkahoma Christian University rescued CCC from bankruptcy fifteen years ago, and that OCU agreed to invest $2,000,000 in Cascade College over a period of ten years. We appreciate OCU for going beyond the call of duty by providing $4,000,000 to Cascade over a period of fifteen years. No one can fault OCU for defaulting on its promises. We in the Pacific Northwest are deeply indebted to OCU for keeping Cascade College alive.
Yet, closing the doors of Cascade College will be a terrible blow to the cause of Christ in this part of the country where fewer than thirty-five percent of the people claim any religious affiliation. Most of our churches are small and weak. Not only is the Pacific Northwest a mission field; It is one of the most difficult mission fields in the world. Cascade College has been a bright beacon light in the midst of spiritual darkness, and we shudder to think about that light being snuffed out.
I am one of eleven elders in the Metro Church of Christ in Gresham, Oregon. Nineteen of our members are employed at Cascade College. That number includes our pulpit minister, several deacons, and some of our best Bible class teachers, both men and women. Closing Cascade College will rip the heart out of the Metro congregation. We will lose some of our most talented, dedicated, and spiritually mature members.
Metro is not the only congregation that will be severely impacted by the closure of Cascade College. Every Sunday, Cascade teachers radiate outward from Portland to preach for small, struggling congregations that cannot afford to support a full-time minister. What will happen to those little churches without the help Cascade teachers have provided?
It is my opinion that few church leaders in the Pacific Northwest realized that Cascade was in such serious financial trouble. I realized that Cascade was struggling financially, but I had no idea that the end was near. This impending closure has been a wake-up call for all of us.
What would it take to keep the Cascade doors open beyond May 2009? I am willing to join church leaders in the Northwest, Cascade alumni, and interested individuals nationwide in an effort to save the school. How much money do we need to raise in order to make the OCU Board of Trustees reconsider?
It is my understanding that the Cascade campus is worth approximately $18,000,000. What will happen to the campus if the doors are closed? Through the years, I have marveled at the sacrifice, the blood, sweat, and tears that have gone into building these facilities. Men and women of moderate means have borrowed large sums of money, using their homes and property as collateral, in order to pay the college\'s bills. Some members of the board have literally worked themselves to death trying to keep the school alive. If Cascade College is allowed to die, it will be a sad day for everyone, especially the families of these heroes of faith who have given their all.
I, for one, am not willing to sit here and let that happen. Those of us who recognize the eternal value of Cascade College to churches and young people west of the Rockies must wake up and do whatever is necessary to reverse the decision that has been made.
OCU has done an outstanding job staffing Cascade with highly-qualified and dedicated Christian teachers. The administration, staff, and faculty at Cascade have made a profound positive impact upon the students and upon churches in the area.
Who will help us help them carry on the great work they are doing--work that has eternal consequences--work that glorifies God and builds up the kingdom of Christ in this mission field? Let us get down on our knees and pray for God\'s wisdom and direction. Then, let us arise to save Cascade College, God\'s fortress in a spiritual battlefield where Satan\'s forces are strong.
With brotherly love,
members from a community might not seem like that big of a deal to people in the Bible belt, but to us, the loss is HUGH. Nevertheless, we are trusting God, seeking His guidence, and spending much time in prayer.
For instance, I found one article in the OC Talon titled \"Cascade College Celebrates 50 Years\" with some interesting quotes about Cascade and OC\'s relationship.
�Their students are considered our students. If they showed up on our campus to take classes, then they would be able to take classes just like our students do. They don�t transfer credits here; it�s our credit,�
Or another one �Cascade is a part of Oklahoma Christian. \"
If these statements were ever true, why just end it all with a cold-hearted business decision? Is that all this was for OC, a business investment? Because if so, God bless you for your contributions to my education and thanks for the opportunities and memories. It\'s a shame so many other young Christians in the GREAT NW will have to seek guidance and a positive Christ-centered education elsewhere.
I\'m not shocked with the statement about current Cascade students continuing their education at OC and I\'m sure some of them will. The issue I have with that statement is in fact how bad the timing was. Couldn\'t you have waited until the initial shock wore off before saying something like that? Just out of curiosity, does anyone know how much the property can be sold for? Finally, All at Cascade/Columbia, you\'re in my prayers and God will be glorified just as He should be.
I also want to offer some loving critique to OC and Cascade - this failure has been a long time coming. The Northwest is unlike any other region of our country and as such, an Oklahoma institution cannot help but fail here. The practices and premises that have made OC successful in Oklahoma have not translated to Oregon.
Portland needs a Christian college, for the churches, for the students, for the city. But Portland does not need an Oklahoma-style college, and that is why Cascade has failed. There has been a clash of cultures from the beginning. My prayer is that God (who can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine) will provide for a college that is truly from the Northwest.
Though as a alumni and friend of Cascade, I want to do something to re-establish Cascade, Columbia, or something all-together new in the Northwest.
So what do we need in order to get use of the campus? Do we need a donor to pay off debts? Do we need to purchase the campus, or establish payments for OC to recoup the debt in order to re-establish another or similar college in Portland? If we do, then where can we get this information? Do we contact Cascade\'s Board, or OC\'s board? Basically I personally believe it is unacceptable to not have a place for Christian College students in the Northwest. OC has concluded it can no longer support this school. I think in general we can understand that, but I hope they establish a method to find another college, or donors who are capable of supporting this wonderful place called Cascade.
If you have any influence at OC and you are reading this, please consider providing this information so that we can move forward in the process of continuing Christian Education in this mission field of the Northwest.
I can\'t believe that OC is going to take the money that was given for endowments at Cascade and create an endowment for its own college. That money should be going to Columbia Christian Schools...without CCS, Columbia Christian College and Cascade College would have never existed.
Finally, I\'d like to know what OC meant when they said that the Cascade Board of Governors had failed to create an academically sustainable environment at Cascade. If anything, the academics at Cascade have continued to improve year after year.... I\'d bet that there is more to this story than we know...maybe OC is worried about supporting a college that is more progressive than it is??
As a youth minister in the churches of Christ, I have often assisted my students in selecting a Christian college to attend. Cascade has been a top pick of mine because it isn\'t located in the Bible Belt, where there is a church \"around every corner.\" (and that\'s a great place to be too, don\'t get me wrong.) Cascade is on the front lines of the spiritual battle field. And I respect that tremendously.
As a professional network administrator and business person, I respect Cascade\'s diliegence to being good stewards of the resources Christ provides them with. As a graduate of a secular university, I\'ve seen tax payer money and donated money being wasted on ridiculous projects, events, etc. Cascade uses its resources very well and should be commended for that.
As for the future of Cascade, I hope and pray that Oklahoma Christian will reconsider the idea of shutting this college down and prayerfully consider how we can help make it better for everyone. As for the churches in the Pacific Northwest (and I\'m talking to the churches AND their members), we need to prayerfully consider stepping up and doing what we can to help Cascade become a truly self-sufficient, financially independent organization.
Don\'t let this opportunity to have a real impact on a region that needs Christ slip through your fingers.
We are at a time in our country where people grow increasingly hostile to organized religion, especially in the Northwest and for people who are college aged. Unless someone steps up to take action and keep this from happening, it will be not only a great tragedy for the faculty, staff, and students, but for the church in the Northwest, in the United States, and the world.
It\'s time to step up, folks.
But here\'s the thing: I\'ve heard it said that Portland and maybe even Oregon is the most unchurched places in the States. It\'s a mission field and Cascade has been doing lots of hard work in that area. They are making a difference in that community. From the outreach to the homeless in downtown Portland, to the annual Blood Drive, to the work done in West Moreland Park, to hosting a toy give away event for the Candlelighters for sick children.Christian higher education is sometimes difficult to do right. But Cascade is a place that does it right, in many ways. Students learn, in addition to their studies, how to make their faith the center of their lives and how to minister to those who need it. We need that in the Northwest, where there are so few churches to minister in places that need it.
Cascade influences not just its students and the churches that support it, but the people in the community it reaches out to. This isn\'t something we can just let go.
Tears have been shed in my home over the loss of my beloved school. Losing Cascade will weaken the church relationships and ministry teaching that the Northwest desperately needs.
This is not just another school. This is the Northwest corner of heaven. Someone save Cascade.
Of course, I\'m running more on raw emotion than rational thought at the moment but I just feel that this was a cold, business decision made by those a world away. The OC board couldn\'t possibly understand how this will effect the Northwest church community and what they\'re feeling right now. All the words of condolence by Mike O\'Neal sound hollow and empty. It\'s shameful how he tried to make a plug for current Cascade students to attend OC in the future. I personally at this moment will NOT recommend any of my students or those I know to attend Oklahoma Christian University until I have heard a satisfactory reason (implying that this generic bulletin is NOT satisfactory in case you were wondering) explaining why no sort of warning was given.
Harsh, I understand but like I said, my logical side is taking a time-out at the moment
As for other Christians, there are just not that many, and they are usually struggling with financial problems of their own.
This will cause major damage. Statistically, those who go away to college are less likely to stay in the Northwest, and those who go to a secular school or a school attached to another type of church are not as likely to keep their faith.
But God is faithful, and, just like Esther (ch.4) he will raise up someone else, whether he finds a new benefactor for Cascade, causes church planters to create a more solid base for Christianity in the Northwest, or drops another answer on our doorstep in 20 years.
It\'s unfortunate--I would even say tragic--that the same can\'t be found in the northwest to the extent that it is in Oklahoma, but to imply that fault lies somewhere?
Maybe the fact that there is no \"flagship\" institution for the Church in the northwest will create an even greater resolve among the congregations in the northwest to build up one another in love. God can do \"immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine according to the power that is at work within us\" (Ephesians 3:20).
Thank you for all you have done.
Our prayers and best wishes to all as we share in this experience with you.
Now as a local minister in Portland, I understand. Sadly, Cascade alumni don\'t have deep enough pocketbooks to float the institution... yet. We\'re all still in our 30\'s. Give us a few more years and we would.
Hey Pepperdine - interested in keeping higher education on the west coast?
By my calculations, that is $266,666.00 a year, a BARGAIN in running a university. I find it very sad, pathetic actually, that OC could not find it in its hearts to continue this effort.
We in the bible belt need another Christian University like we need another Starbucks, but those in the Pacific Northwest need light like they need air.
I wonder how many of the trustees that voted \"NO\" have visited the campus?
I beleive God gave OC an opportunity as in 2 Corinthians 8:8 to test the sincerity of their love. I find it sad that they did not excell in the Grace of Giving.