By: Stephen Clardy
At the beginning of the month, the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts hosted its first ever Virtual Banquet. After our annual Dallas banquet was canceled due to the COVID-19 crisis, we transitioned to holding a week-long online event. It was an exciting time to spread awareness about our urgent work and invite people to partner with us financially.
The event progressed throughout the week of March 30, with new online content shared daily at csntmbanquet.org. Each day focused on a different theme or aspect of CSNTM.
On day 1, Nathan Wagnon—a pastor at Dallas-area Watermark Community Church—and Dr. Wallace introduced the Virtual Banquet.
Day 2 focused on our mission: preserving ancient New Testament manuscripts for the modern world. A brief video explained what the Center does, along with the goal and heart behind it. Day 3 highlighted CSNTM’s internship program, which has helped train dozens of rising New Testament textual critics and biblical scholars. Many past and present interns provided video testimonies of how their time at the Center impacted them.
On day 4, we shared about two aspects of the Center’s work: digitizing manuscripts and providing free access to our online image library. The highlight of the day was Dan Wallace’s recounting of the story of a manuscript that CSNTM serendipitously discovered in England, how we digitized it in the owners’ home, and the impact it has had on the text of the New Testament because researchers were able to study its images.
The banquet concluded with members of our Board of Directors sharing their perspective on the impact and significance of CSNTM’s mission and the reasons they got involved. Then Dan gave a preview of what CSNTM intends to do in the rest of the year, once travel restrictions are lifted and libraries can re-open.
Financially, our supporters showed up for us in an astounding way during the Virtual Banquet. The Center’s Dallas banquet is typically our largest fundraising event of the year and plays a pivotal role in launching the summer’s initiatives. We were overwhelmed by the generous support of our friends through the Virtual Banquet. Some members of our board of directors and Dallas advisory board provided $41,000 in matching funds, an amount not only met, but surpassed by donations! Overall, just over $100,000 was provided. These gifts will help us preserve precious manuscripts of the New Testament for generations to come.
Thank you to everyone who followed along during this special week. We hope you enjoyed it and found it enriching. Thank you to everyone who donated to support our mission in these difficult times. And, thank you to everyone who provided the matching funds and shared stories, which inspired the generosity of others.
If you missed the virtual banquet or want to catch up on any of the videos, it’s not too late! You can still visit csntmbanquet.org to see everything we posted online. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter or subscribe to our monthly newsletter to stay up to date with our work.