by Molly Dashiell, correspondent
The Spokane campus of Moody Bible Institute is closing down at the end of this school year, as announced by Moody on November 8th, 2017. The 442 students will have the opportunity to apply for Chicago, switch to online school, or apply to other colleges.
Christianity Today reported that the students were reeling from the loss of their campus, and the community of Spokane was also grieved. Tyler Mark Nelson, a Moody Spokane student, wrote, “The city of Spokane will lose a powerful and effective presence when MBI-Spokane closes its doors. We lament as a community and are beginning to prepare for the approaching uprooting.”
Several months after the announcement, many involved in the ministries surrounding Spokane are working to ensure that there continues to be the opportunity for Biblical teaching and schooling in the city. Wendy Liddell, formerly Dean of Academics for Moody’s Spokane campus, said that she is helping to form a new, private, nonprofit university. Liddell has been elected president of the university, and is working to spread the word about the school.
In an article in the Spokesman Review, the school’s mission was reported as follows: “We want to form students of Christ to transform the world. These students will be involved in chapel and community service, sending out strong Christian leaders into the region.”
Liddell said that there are three main principles that this school is being founded upon: wisdom, scholarship, and community. The school is working hard to get on its feet, and has already gathered a board of trustees and been approved by the state of Washington as a nonprofit university. It also will continue to use the building that the Moody Spokane students have been meeting in, Fourth Memorial Church.
As of yet, the school’s name has not been announced, but according to Nathanael Schey, the Chief Operations Officer, will be announced soon.
“We have soft-launched the name of the new university to our local stakeholders, and we hope to announce it publicly within the next few weeks,” he said.
The biggest obstacle that this school faces is fundraising. According to The Spokesman Review, Washington law expects new schools to have the first year of operating expenses ready before starting the school.
“The Lord has been faithful to provide the funding that we’ve needed so far, and we are confident that he will direct more of his resources in this way,” Schey said. “In the short term, we need to raise $1 million as part of our application to gain degree-granting authorization from the Washington Student Achievement Council.”
This new university will not be tied to Moody, but Schey said that there has been communication with Moody about this new venture.
“Early this past January, the Board of Trustees of the new school sent a letter to Moody’s Board of Trustees, announcing the intention to operate a university that would offer programs in biblical studies,” he said. “Moody’s board’s response to us was warm and gracious, which was a blessing to us.”
As of now, the school cannot accept applications until they are authorized to grant degrees to students, so they are not sure exactly how many students will be attending from Moody Spokane or otherwise. Schey feels confident that they will have a good group of students, as many people from the community have shown interest in the school and the programs that they plan to offer.