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Thrift-store items become catalyst for changing ideas on race

Agent of social change might not be the first phrase patrons of Bethel College’s Kauffman Museum would use to describe it.

However, the museum’s most recent special exhibit, Sorting Out Race, which closed at the end of May and is being transformed into a traveling exhibit, put it squarely in that arena and, as it happens, on to the cutting edge of the place of museums in contemporary American culture and society.

In a public program on the exhibit’s closing day, Kauffman Museum director Annette LeZotte and former director Rachel Pannabecker ’80 led a group reflection on the kinds of exhibits the museum had presented in the past.

It became clear that they have followed one of two patterns, LeZotte said – either drawing from the permanent collection to take a new or specialized look at a particular topic, or expanding on local or regional history.

It isn’t that past exhibits haven’t touched on social issues, Pannabecker added, but Sorting Out Race was the first Kauffman Museum has done that set out to deliberately explore one.

About five years ago, Leia Lawrence, then manager of the Newton Etcetera Shop, a thrift store with a largely volunteer staff that donates its profits to Mennonite Central Committee for local and global relief and service programs, approached Pannabecker with a question.

What, she wondered, should she do with items she was getting in the Et Cetera donation bin that make me uncomfortable? These were things that communicated stereotypes about race – for example, household and decorative items depicting the lazy Mexican, or school sports items with Native American mascots.

For more of this article, visit the Bethel College website.

Interterm China trip seeking those who wish to travel

During the 2016 January interterm, Bethel College is offering a cross-cultural learning experience with a trip to China.

The instructor is Chris Westover, and the focus will be on arts and music.

Those attending, whether a community member or student, will visit Bejing, Xi’an, Shanghai and Suzhou, and will see the Central Academy of Drama, National Centre of the Performing Arts, Forbidden City, Tian’anmen Square, Great Wall, 798 Art Zone and Terra Cotta Warriors Museum.

The estimated cost, which includes airfare, transportation, lodging, lunches/dinners, fees and tickets, is $3,900 for Bethel students and $4,300 for non-students/community members.

For more information, contact Westover at 316-284-5264 or cwestover@bethelks.edu. The deadline is late August.

Office of Institutional Advancement thanks 2014–15 donors

The college’s fiscal year came to a close on June 30, and the college still invites everyone to support the Bethel College Fund.

I’d like to thank all of the Bethel College alumni and friends who donated to the institution during the past fiscal year, said Pam Tieszen, vice president of Institutional Advancement. Your dollars will and are helping students every day.

Unrestricted gifts – those not designated for a specific program or cause – go to the Bethel College Fund, which provides necessary support for scholarships, academic programs, faculty development, campus landscaping, technology upgrades and many more aspects that benefit our students. Gifts to the annual fund also help the college respond to various unexpected needs and opportunities as they arise.

To donate, go to the Bethel College website or mail a gift to Development Office, Bethel College, 300 E. 27th St., North Newton, KS 67117.

Parkinson’s dance program receives grants

Rhythm Connections for PD through Bethel College Academy of Performing Arts (BCAPA) was awarded two grants for this budding and innovative program. Money from the grants is given to help launch the new classes for people living with Parkinson’s disease and other mobility challenges.

  • North Newton Community Foundation awarded BCAPA a joint grant for Rhythm Connections for PD and scholarships for music and dance students in the amount of $1,200.
  • Kansas Health Foundation awarded BCAPA $19,939 to maintain the program for nine months.

Recent medical studies show that participating in dance studies has many benefits, according to the National Parkinson's Foundation at www.parkinson.org.

  • Dance develops flexibility and instils confidence.
  • Dance is first and foremost a stimulating mental activity that connects mind to body.
  • Dance breaks isolation.
  • Dance invokes imagery in the service of graceful movement
  • Dance focuses attention on eyes, ears and touch as tools to assist in movement and balance.
  • Dance increases awareness of where all parts of the body are in space.
  • Dance tells stories.
  • Dance sparks creativity.
  • The basis of dance is rhythm.
  • The essence of dance is joy.

Classes will include occasional live music accompaniment.

The first class will be at 2 p.m. Thursdays at BCAPA’s downstairs studio at 400 S. Main St. in Newton. Tuition is $5 per participant. Rhythm Connections for PD is looking for other locations for additional classes to bring classes closer to those with mobility challenges.

For more information on Rhythm Connections for PD classes call 316-283-4902 or email bcapa@bethelks.edu.

Student Government Association makes changes

On March 4, the 82nd Student Senate passed Bill 82-023: Adopting the New Constitution and Bill 82-024: Adopting the New By-Laws.

Those bills officially created a working and balanced three-branch government; the Legislative, Executive and Judicial. Following the passing of those bills, Bill 82-025 was passed to officially change the name of the government from the Student Senate to the Student Government Association (SGA).

Top officers of the 83rd SGA are Laird Goertzen, student body president; Jacob Miller, student body vice president; Kyle Riesen, secretary of finance and student organizations; Matthew Rodenberg, secretary of student activities; and Kiley Varney, secretary of public relations.

Plaque honors a Sand Creek Trail founder for his vision

It’s a bit of a Bethel College legend, how Jake Goering ’41 and the late Larry Voth met up on an early-morning walk years ago.

That was the beginning of Sand Creek Trail, about three miles of wood-chipped walkway in the southeast corner of the Bethel campus, which walkers (and their dogs), birders, runners, photographers and many others enjoy in all seasons.

As part of the annual National Trails Day® celebration June 6, the Sand Creek Trail (SCT) Committee honored 97-year-old Goering by unveiling a plaque now permanently attached to the SCT marker.

The plaque features a photo by North Newton photographer Vada Snider ’80 of Goering and his late wife on Sand Creek Trail, with the words Dedicated to Jacob D.and Beth (Eldridge) Goering in honor of Jake’s vision to develop the trail and inspire community members to further enhance and enjoy it.

Fred Goering (who proudly claims Jake Goering as a distant cousin) briefly recounted the history of Sand Creek Trail as it is today.

About 18 years ago, in 1997, Jake and Beth Goering retired to North Newton from Maryland. They missed trees – much more scarce on the Kansas prairie – but found some on the Bethel campus, where Sand Creek and some forward thinking by ancestors had provided a good start, Fred Goering said.

One morning at about 5:30, Jake was walking and met up with then Bethel Director of Development Larry Voth. They talked about Jake’s dream of creating a trail along the Kidron-Martin Canal and Sand Creek.

President Doug Penner [’69] also thought it was a good idea. Jake got some friends together, and they started hacking and chopping and cutting up dead wood, and found a trail under all that brush.

These days, Bethel maintenance and city of North Newton workers periodically put piles of wood chips donated by Westar Energy (from tree trimming) at different locations along the trail.

For more of this article, visit the Bethel College website.

Youth Ministry class opens doors while fulfilling requirements

The Bethel College semester that just wrapped up saw at least one class that nearly doubled in size.

Introduction to Youth Ministry had 18 students, plus one dedicated auditor. Kristen Marble, the course instructor, had learned from Patty Shelly, professor of Bible and religion, that the class – taught every other year – normally pulls in eight-10 students.

The bigger size might reflect the fact that Introduction to Youth Ministry now fulfills a general education requirement for lower-level Bible and religion credit. But as the class drew to a close, Marble was convinced there was more to it than that.

I think it could reflect Bethel’s changing student body, she said. The practical, hands-on theology might appeal or connect with students more – be more accessible or applicable [to them], even though most of the students in this class aren’t planning to go into youth ministry per se.

As their final, major project, each student planned a three-month Youth Ministry Summer for middle or high school-age youth, presented as a poster. Fellow students, the instructor and campus visitors stopped by one evening at the end of the semester to look at the posters and ask questions.

Comments from the students bore out many of Marble’s assertions about why the class had attracted larger numbers.

Paige Middleton, junior from Marion, needed the gen ed credit, she said, but she also liked the hands-on part, which made the class seem more exciting.

I needed a Bible class, but I’m also a social work major, said Meredith Stone, freshman from Clovis, California. This can help me communicate with different kinds of people, and I liked that it connects me more with what my mom does as a pastor.

For more of this article, visit the Bethel College website.

New products arriving at Thresher Bookstore

Throughout the month, the Thresher Bookstore will stock new apparel, gifts and office supplies for the students, family, alumni and community of Bethel for the 2015–16 school year. Items include T-shirts, hoodies and crew neck sweatshirts, performance shirts, polos, hats, shorts, and many other items.

Visit the bookstore from 9 a.m.–3 p.m. weekdays CST or call 316-283-2500 to inquire about the products they carry. Bookstore staff members are working on developing an online store, but until that is up and running, they would be happy to send pictures via email, take phone orders and provide the service of shipping your purchase anywhere in the world.

Mennonites, mental health lecture at museum

Aaron Barnhart of the Kansas Humanities Council Speakers Bureau will present From Resisters to Reformers: How Kansas Mennonites Changed Mental Health Care at Kauffman Museum’s Sunday-Afternoon-at-the-Museum at 3 p.m. July 19.

Few people were as unprepared for World War I as Kansas Mennonites. Opposed to military service for religious reasons, these mostly German farmers came under suspicion, and many were incarcerated at Fort Riley for the remainder of the war. Later, with World War II looming, the Mennonites – along with Quaker and Brethren churches – proposed a system for alternative service. The result was Civilian Public Service, which assigned many Kansas conscientious objectors to domestic work projects, particularly in mental health hospitals.

Learn how CPS workers helped expose intolerable conditions at these institutions, leading to postwar reforms and a transformation of psychiatric care.

Sunday-Afternoon-at-the-Museum programs at Kauffman Museum are free and open to the public.