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Bethel’s 3rd worship and arts symposium to look at place, value of community

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – “Worship and community” is the topic of the 3rd Worship and the Arts Symposium at Bethel College.

The biennial symposium takes place on campus Nov. 21, with most activities in Luyken Fine Arts Center.

In her most recent book, Christine Pohl, associate provost and professor of social ethics at Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky, and one of two keynote speakers for the symposium, wrote: “Human beings were made for living in community, and it is in community that we flourish and become most fully human.”

She goes on to say that “practices are at the heart of human communities. …Every community has practices that hold it together.

“For Christians, practices can also be understood as responses to the grace we have already experienced in Christ, in light of the word and work of God and for the sake of one another and the world.”

Pohl will open the symposium with two plenary sessions in Krehbiel Auditorium (separated by a break) that she has titled “Worship and Community: Shaped and Sustained by Gratitude” and “Worship and Community: Transformed and Challenged by Hospitality.”

After lunch, symposium participants can choose one of two concurrent workshop sessions – either “The Lord’s Supper and Social Justice” with second keynote speaker Father Michael Driscoll, along with a response by Tonya Ramer Wenger, pastor of First Mennonite Church, Hutchinson; or “Visual Arts and the Worshipping Community” with local artists Joanna Pinkerton, Wichita, LaVerle Schrag, Hutchinson, and John Gaeddert, North Newton, describing their process of collaborating with congregations to incorporate visual arts into the worship experience.

Following the workshops, Pohl and Driscoll will collaborate for the third and final plenary, a conversation about Pohl’s morning presentations with questions from the audience.

At 4 p.m., Rachel Epp Buller, Bethel associate professor of visual art and design, and senior Alexandra Shoup will give a program on the exhibit currently in the Regier Art Gallery in Luyken Fine Arts Center, a collection of the prints by the 17th-century Dutch engraver and illustrator for whom the Fine Arts Center was renamed in 2014.

“Beyond the Martyrs’ Mirror: The Prints of Jan Luyken” opened Oct. 30.

Mennonites know Luyken (1649-1712) almost solely for his visual depictions of religious persecution and torture in the 1685 edition of the Martyrs Mirror. In his own time, though, Luyken was a printmaker whose more than 3,000 engravings appear in devotional texts, books of Bible stories, volumes of his own poetry and a wide range of books by other authors.

Epp Buller and Shoup will talk about the process of putting together the exhibit, from Bethel’s collection in the Mennonite Library and Archives, and what they learned about Luyken and art in 17th-century Holland.

Their presentation will be followed by a reception for the curators and the exhibit.

The daytime symposium activities require a registration fee of $35 per individual or $20 per person for three or more people from the same congregation registering as a group. The fee includes lunch and supper in the Schultz Student Center cafeteria.

Students from Bethel College and Hesston College, as well as Bethel faculty and staff,can attend the symposium for free, though they will need to buy meals (unless already on the meal plan) in the cafeteria, or elsewhere.

Register online or call Denise Krase at 316-284-5239. Registration deadline for those who want to eat in the cafeteria is Nov. 16.

Several activities surrounding the symposium are free and open to the public.

Driscoll, associate professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame and founding director of the master’s program in sacred music, will speak in convocation Nov. 20 at 11 a.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium and again in the morning worship service at Bethel College Mennonite Church, Nov. 22 at 9:30 a.m.

At 7:30 p.m. Nov. 21, there will by a hymn festival worship service, “In Community We Sing,” in Memorial Hall on the Bethel campus to which all are invited.

It will feature reflections by both Pohl and Driscoll and music by the Bethel College Concert Choir and singers from area churches, along with congregational singing, with William Eash, Bethel professor of music, conducting.

There will be an offering of non-perishable food and funds taken to support the local Harvest of Love food drive.

The symposium is made possible by the Reimer-Boese Worship and the Arts Endowment, which celebrates the lives of Katharina Voth Reimer and Thomas U. Reimer, and Maria Schroeder Boese and Abraham L. Boese. The former are the parents, the latter the birth parents of donor Dr. Rosella Reimer Duerksen, both of whose birth parents died in her infancy.

The endowment is intended to assist Bethel College in providing lectures, musical events, workshops or conferences which focus on the arts as tools for the communication of the faith. It is anticipated that, while some events may primarily serve the student body of the college, others will serve the broader community as well.

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2015-16 analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States, and is the highest-ranked Kansas college in the Washington Monthly annual college guide for 2015-16. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

Bethel College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, age, gender, sexual orientation, parental or marital status, gender identity, gender expression, medical or genetic information, ethnic or national origins, citizenship status, veteran or military status or disability. E-mail questions to

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