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Bethel presents check at Pa. church to help benefit Ghana seminary

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – The third and final check from the Bethel College exhibit at last July’s Mennonite Youth Convention (MYC) in Columbus, Ohio, has gone to University Mennonite Church in State College, Pa.

Clark Oswald, Bethel College associate director of admissions, visited the congregation July 25 to present the check for $1,000 to Erin Sacksteder, the University Mennonite youth group member who drew the winning ticket.

“I had a great morning at University Mennonite,” Oswald said of his visit. “I was warmly welcomed by [people in] the church who made me feel like a member. After seeing that my name was inserted into the worship service, I joked that ‘This is the first time I have made the bulletin.’ They responded: ‘This is a big deal and we are glad that you are here.’”

Oswald presented the check to Sacksteder at the end of the morning worship service. “Erin has a passion for caring for children,” Oswald said. “She has done various kinds of volunteer work in day care [centers] within her community – she was actually in the nursery during the worship service and had to be called out when I presented the check.

“To that end, and with the work University Mennonite has done with Mennonite Mission Network, Erin wanted to designate the $1,000 prize to help Good News Theological Seminary in Ghana kick off a fund to help build a nursery at the seminary. University Mennonite has raised money for a dormitory for students who attend GNTS. Now a nursery is needed for children of students while they are in class.”

After the service, Oswald talked with “10-15 people about [Bethel’s project at the MYC]. They thought we had a creative idea. They remembered our playground set and thought we had done a great thing with our booth and made an impact on their youth.”

Each of the four full days of the MYC in Columbus, youth who visited Bethel’s booth could both help put together playground equipment for a local kindergarten and drop a ticket in the hopper. On the last day of the convention, three tickets were drawn, bearing the names of members of youth groups from Harrisonburg (Va.) Mennonite Church, Kidron (Ohio) Mennonite Church and University Mennonite Church.

Oswald presented the check at Harrisonburg Nov. 22, 2009, and at Kidron May 16.

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and was the only Kansas private college to be ranked in Forbes.com’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2009 and one of only two Kansas colleges listed in Colleges of Distinction 2009-10. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at www.bethelks.edu.

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