Celebrating 87 years at Bethany College
More than 350 guests braved a spring snowstorm for the 87th closing weekend celebrations at Bethany College, Hepburn, Sask., that began with an evening service on Good Friday, April 18. A 42-voice choir and 15-piece band consisting of students, alumni and community members presented, “What More Could He Have Done?” directed by Tim Huebert, instructor in ministry arts.
Rod Schellenberg, lead pastor at Hepburn MB Church, provided several vignettes about the love of God, and the hope available to us because of the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Bethany Players, an eight-member drama team, Beck & Call, a 13-member music team, and The Dance Co presented drama, music and worship dance in the service.
Guests gathered on campus the following day to celebrate and congratulate the students for their accomplishments. Along with the official presentation of degrees, certificates and awards, guests heard speeches from two students.
Treena Newton, a second-year student from High River, Alta, shared a personal account of how difficult it was to trust God through the insecurity and loss she experienced by the flooding of her family’s home last summer. However, she said, healing came when she returned to Bethany College. “Where I was when I came back and where I am today is not the same place,” said Newton. “God has walked with me so patiently through this year. From not wanting to talk to him at all to talking to him all the time and wanting his guidance in everything – my trust of him has healed.”
She said she felt loved by the professors and the support of fellow students. “Being here has been such a blessing, and I look forward to the future with hope. I know that wherever I go, God will be with me. God is good.”
Joshua Kehler, student body president and second-year student from Plum Coulee, Man., addressed students and guests, quoting Angela Duckworth: “Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals, grit is having stamina, grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon not a sprint.”
Referencing Hebrews 11:1, Kehler said, “faith is confidence in what we hope for, and assurance about what we do not see.” He encouraged students as they encounter times of hardship to “find your grit, hold on tight and do not be afraid to face the world and its troubles alone, for we are sons and daughters of the King.”
At the ceremony, Bethany College conferred 11 bachelor of arts degrees, 15 bachelor of biblical studies degrees, 30 diplomas of biblical studies, 1 certificate of biblical studies and 2 TESOL certificates. As well, an award for a creative project and three awards for excellence in an exegetical or research paper were presented:
Ellaina Brown – for her painting entitled “Facing Prostitution.”
Matthew Janzen, first year – for his essay, “The Sorrow of Suffering.”
Ashten Eby, second year – for her essay, “A History of Sharon Mennonite Church.”
Stephanie Chase, third year – for her essay, “Choose This Day Whom You Will Serve: An Exegetical Study of Romans 6:15–23.”
Two awards recognized excellence in academics and leadership:
Ashten Eby – Governor General’s Bronze Medal, awarded to the diploma graduate with the highest cumulative grade point average.
Claressa Campbell – Delta Epsilon Chi Award of the Honor Society of the Association of Biblical Higher Education for academic excellence, Christian character, and leadership contribution.
In addition, several faculty and staff received recognition for long-term service:
Martha Schultz, 20 years;
Jerry Letkeman, 15 years;
Cora Lynn Carey, 10 years;
Joh van Kuik, 10 years;
Dan Guggenheimer, 5 years;
Lena Hamm, 5 years;
Darlene Klassen, 5 years.
Following commencement, students, guests, and Bethany faculty and staff gathered at the Sheraton Cavalier in Saskatoon for the graduation banquet. Students presented a program filled with tributes and shared memories of the year and the year of transformation they experienced in their lives.
For information on this and other activities, please visit our website: www.bethany.sk.ca.
—Sandy Derksen, advancement administrative assistant
Photos: Cora Lynn Carey, graphic designer