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Graduation speaker talks about valuable Bethel education

Bethel College’s Class of 2014 may be among the rare few who actually remember the commencement address.

That’s for at least two reasons -- it may have been the shortest ever and it was all in rhyme.

Commencement speaker Dale Schrag ’69, who retires at the end of June after 30 years at Bethel, most recently as campus pastor and director of church relations, is known to the campus community for many things.

One that the Concert Choir looked forward to almost every year was a recap of the spring break choir tour done completely in rhyme. Schrag decided to do the same with his commencement address, “Always be a Thresher.”

After starting in the usual way, by greeting “President White, faculty and staff, family and friends, and -- most importantly -- members of the Bethel College Class of 2014” and noting that he was “deeply honored to have been invited to address you on this auspicious occasion,” Schrag then proceeded:

“Commencement, we would all agree,/Is a very special time./But commencement addresses can sometimes be deadly,/So I’ll try to make this one rhyme.

“I’ll admit it’s a different way to proceed --/Perhaps a rhetorical trick./But I’m simply trying to do my best/To make these brief comments stick.”

For more of this article, visit www.bethelks.edu/news-events/news/post/5027/.

Long-lost etching plate for famous martyr volume at museum

The Martyrs Mirror Trust, a collaboration between the Mennonite Historical Library, Goshen, Indiana, and Kauffman Museum, North Newton, recently announced the discovery and purchase of a 17th-century copper plate, etched by Dutch artist Jan Luyken for the 1685 edition of Martyrs Mirror.

The recently acquired plate illustrates the martyr story of Jacques d’Auchy, a merchant arrested in 1558 in Harlingen, in what is now the Netherlands, and charged with being an Anabaptist.

The plate depicts d’Auchy in jail, bidding farewell to his grieving, pregnant wife with the prison guard and others in the background. The plate can now be viewed at Kauffman Museum on the Bethel College campus.

Luyken’s detailed etchings vividly capture the drama of the stories contained in the Martyrs Mirror, said John D. Roth, director of the Mennonite Historical Library. Seeing the actual plates that he created to print those illustrations gives a new appreciation both for his skill and for the stories themselves.

D’Auchy’s account, published in the Martyrs Mirror, includes his confession of faith and a lengthy transcription of his interrogations. He was killed in his prison cell before the official execution could be carried out.

The newly discovered d’Auchy plate, one of 104 by Luyken, is part of a complicated story, some of which remains shrouded in mystery.

To read more of this article, visit www.bethelks.edu/news-events/news/post/5024/.

Host families needed for next academic year

Host families are needed for students for the 2014-15 academic year.

The Student Life Office encourages out-of-state students to apply to the Host Family Program. Students complete a student survey indicating their interests and expected campus involvements in order to be matched with a host family with similar interests. Host families also can fill out a survey, and community volunteers match students to families.

Expectations of the host family include welcoming the student into their family life and to the Newton community, providing home-away-from-home opportunities, such as a place to study or watch a movie, and attending special functions from time to time.

Students need family to stay successful, a host family brochure stated.

Things not expected of the host family include providing financial support, providing laundry or transportation to events, or providing snacks/meals to a student’s friends or roommates on a regular basis.

A host family’s home also is not intended to be a place for the student to stay during breaks or during the summer, although they may be willing to offer their home if they so choose.

This experience provides benefits to the college student and family alike. Students benefit from having a home away from home, having someone to turn to with questions and enjoying an occasional home-cooked meal. Families benefit by forming long-lasting relationships with students, experiencing college life through the eyes of the student and receiving affirmation of helping a student with a family support system.

Anyone interested in being a host family can contact Patsy Dirksen ’81 in Student Life at 316-284-5324 or studentlife@bethelks.edu.

High school seniors invited to Summer Visit Day

Students about to start their senior year in high school are invited to make a campus visit to Bethel and see a contestant from NBC’s The Voice at the same time.

The July 18 campus visit day will allow prospective students to meet professors and coaches, visit with current Bethel students, tour campus, learn about financial aid options and start the paperwork for scholarship applications.

And if that’s not enough excitement, Kaleigh Glanton, a contestant from the most recent season of The Voice, daughter of adjunct professor of guitar Howard Glanton and a frequent performer at Mojo’s coffee shop on campus, will be giving a concert that evening at the Fox Theatre in downtown Newton.

To reserve a space for the visit day, go to www.bethelks.edu/summervisit. For tickets to Kaleigh Glanton’s July 18 concert, go to www.foxnewton.com/#!events/cjg9.

Alumni, friends invited to give to Bethel

Bethel’s fiscal year ends June 30, and the college invites alumni and friends to support the Bethel College Fund.

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 Bethel respond to various unexpected needs and opportunities as they arise.

Help us reach our goal of $1.4 million by going to www.bethelks.edu/gift. You also may mail a gift before June 30 to Development Office, Bethel College, 300 E. 27th St., North Newton, KS 67117.

Thank you for your generous support of Bethel College.

Peace oration contest winner looks at social violence

Bethel College held its C. Henry Smith Peace Oration contest April 23-25, with contestants speaking before their peers in convocation as well as for a broader community audience at the weekly Life Enrichment program.

The Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (KIPCOR) sponsors and organizes the annual competition at Bethel.

Henry Unruh, graduating senior from Newton, placed first with a speech titled Traditional Violence.

Traditions have always held a place of high regard in the Mennonite church, Unruh said, without us asking what these tradition do to people who don’t fit the mold. Mennonites pride themselves on being nonviolent and understanding, but our traditions are not as [peaceful] as we think.

He went on to argue that traditions can be violent -- used to socially isolate, stigmatize and suppress the voices of those who dare to break traditions, all things that in Unruh’s observation the church has done.

We need to not hide behind the power of tradition, Unruh concluded. Rather we need to have a real discussion about issues the church is facing.

Traditions are not inherently bad, but the way we are using them is socially violent and that needs to change.

Second place went to Jerrell Williams, senior from Garland, Texas. He called his speech No More Super-heroes.

Williams noted that although the Declaration of Independence gives every American rights [of] … life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, this is not the America we are currently living in -- rather an America of discrimination, poverty, racially based underemployment and gender inequality in wages.

Williams’ challenge: to stop waiting for a super-hero of the status of Martin Luther King Jr. or Gandhi to come forward and save the country, and remember the power of community.

The super-heroes of the past came from communities that had built their foundations and supported them, Williams said. He noted that Christians’ primary super-hero, Jesus, prepared his community to go on without him.

We must become tired of injustice before we can become a community dedicated to change, Williams said. And when we finally get tired enough, we must put all of our differences aside in hope for a better future.

Megan Siebert, graduating senior from Topeka, gave the third-place speech, A Personal Relationship with the Divine Spark.

For more of this article, visit www.bethelks.edu/news-events/news/post/5014/.

Uncle Carl’s Camp in its 19th year

The 19th year of Uncle Carl's Camp at Kauffman Museum offers great opportunities, led by many alumni.

Brain Skinner ’13, Newton, will take third through sixth graders back in time to the ancient Olympics and Pompeii in Traveling the Ancient World (June 2-6). New this year, Karen Kreider will guide middle school and high school youth in Oral History Project: Passing on Traditions June 9-13. She will be assisted by Felice Goering ’59, Moundridge, Joe Smucker ’84, Goessel, and Jason Miller, Newton, who will teach old-time skills, such as wheat weaving and pickling.

Back for her 30th and 31st camps in 18 years, LaDonna Unruh Voth ’86, Newton, will teach figure drawing in Figuratively Speaking 1 and 2 for ages 6-12 (June 16-20).

Amber Celestin ’04 will travel to Kansas from Indiana to lead the nature camp Survivor: Prairie for 6- to 8-year-olds.

For more information or to register, contact Andi Schmidt Andres ’84 asa@bethelks.edu or Rachel Unruh ’12 rachel.j.unruh@gmail.com or call the museum at 316-283-1612. For more information including prices, times and a registration form, go to www.bethelks.edu/community/events/summer-camps/uncle-carls-camps/.

Mennonite Life annual edition now online

The most recent issue of Mennonite Life features a variety of pieces, both scholarly and creative, at http://ml.bethelks.edu/.

Mennonite Life is an illustrated online annual published by Bethel College. It is devoted to exploring and developing the Mennonite experience.

John Thiesen ’82 offers reflections on the border crossings of immigrant ancestors, while Reinhild Kauenhoven Janzen ’63 remembers those involved with the placement and more recent renovation of the Mennonite Settler Statue in Newton. Ami Regier ’85 reflects on the rejuvenation of creative writing among her students at Bethel College.

The issue also features two preachers: Ed Kauffman finds in the sermons of Robert Hartzler a way to understand Hartzler through retrospective reflection, while Robert Kreider ’39 offers a poetic meditation on his faith journey during the course of nine decades.

There is a series of essays about On Teaching John Howard Yoder, as well as selections from the MCUSA convention and Mothering Mennonite Symposium. There also is a large selection of book reviews and winning entries of the Cornelius Krahn Contest for high school students.