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Lighting of the Green, music events welcome the season

December 1st, 2022

Lighted Christmas tree with clouds and moon

Christmas events continue tonight, Friday, Dec. 9, when the Bethel jazz ensemble and combo present the annual Christmas Gala Jazz Concert, under the direction of Joel Boettger.

The concert is in Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center, and is free and open to the public, with a freewill offering taken to support music study and performance at Bethel.

The concert will be livestreamed at

Bethel’s annual Advent tradition, Lighting of the Green, takes place for the 37th time Sunday, Dec. 11, at 8 p.m.

The Lighting of the Green dates back to 1986 when two students approached Patty Shelly, professor emeritus of Bible and religion, with an idea for a short service to be held around the Green in the center of the Bethel campus.

Many Western Christian churches, including the Mennonite Church USA denomination with which Bethel is affiliated, observe Advent, the season of preparation for celebrating the birth of Christ on Dec. 25.

For Bethel’s Lighting of the Green, outside electric lights are turned off and students, staff, faculty and community members gather with unlit candles on the sidewalk around the Green. It takes about 250 people to form a complete circle.

They listen to Advent Scripture passages and a brief meditation, and sing Christmas carols.

The candles are lit to make a “wreath” of light, followed by everyone converging on the middle of the Green to form a “Christ candle.”

All are welcome to join in the Lighting of the Green, an activity well-suited to families with children. Candles will be provided. For more information, call 316-284-5318.

Lighting of the Green is the culmination of holiday activities at Bethel. There are three musical events that are open to the public in the week leading up to Dec. 11.

Kauffman Museum and the Bethel College Women's Association, hosting at Goerz House, kicked things off as two of the annual "5 Places of Christmas" on Dec. 3.

The museum is open Tuesday-Friday and weekends until Dec. 24, featuring its special exhibit, "Reeds & Wools: Patterned Screens of Central Asia," permanent exhibits and the Museum Store, Harvey County’s only source of Ten Thousand Villages fair-trade gift items.

On Tuesday, Dec. 6, the Bethel Steel Drum Band and community band, Steel Paradise, both directed by Brad Shores, played in Krehbiel Auditorium.

Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 11 a.m., was the annual singalong to portions of Handel’s Messiah, with chamber orchestra and student soloists, at Bethel College Mennonite Church.

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 #24 in the U.S. News & World Report rankings of “Best Regional Colleges Midwest,” both for 2022-23. Bethel is the only Kansas college or university to be named a Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) Campus Center. 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.