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Lighting of the Green can still be viewed online

December 8th, 2020

Lighting of the Green, 2019

The 35th iteration of the college’s Advent tradition took place Sunday, Dec. 13, with participants from (almost literally) everywhere.

And it can be seen on Bethel's YouTube channel at

As has been true of so many Bethel College events in the fall 2020 semester, the annual Lighting of the Green was open to the world by way of the internet.

Lighting of the Green happened via YouTube and Zoom, with some parts pre-recorded but most taking place in real time, with readers in separate spaces and singers (members of the small a cappella ensembles Open Road and Woven) wearing masks and standing outside on the Prairie Sky Stage next to Luyken Fine Arts Center.

“Lighting of the Green is a long-standing Bethel College tradition in the Advent season where we celebrate the Light that shines in the darkness,” said Michael Unruh, campus pastor, “the life and light of Christ that came into the world giving light to all humankind.

“In an ordinary year, we have gathered around the Green [in the center of campus] in darkness, each with an unlit candle. After hearing Scripture and prayer, we have sung Christmas carols as the candles are lit all around the Green.

“Once all candles are lit, everyone moves to the center of the Green, forming one ‘center candle,’ the Christ candle, as we finish singing. It has been a meaningful time of welcoming this time of year and the Christmas season.

“This year, we will gather virtually live on Zoom and YouTube and bring our own light sources with us, ready to light – or turn on – at the same time we normally would.

“In a year such as this, we are grateful to continue this meaningful tradition.”

Instead of a group of 200 or more people circling the Green and then bringing their lights to the center as the final act of Lighting of the Green, several members of the student life staff lit 642 candles in the chapel, to represent every Bethel student and employee.

Bethel is a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1887 and is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Known for academic excellence, Bethel ranks at #14 in the Washington Monthly list of “Best Bachelor’s Colleges” and #26 in U.S. News & World Report, Best Regional Colleges Midwest, and earned its third-straight NAIA Champions of Character Five-Star Gold Award, based on student service and academic achievement, all for 2020-21; is’s highest ranked Kansas small college with the highest earning graduates; has the #10 RN-to-BSN program in Kansas according to; and is #57 among 829 U.S. colleges and universities named by as “Best for Financial Aid,” as well as #23 “Safest College Towns in the U.S.,” ranked by for 2020-21. For more information, see

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.