Seniors–and one parent–reflect on four years at Bethel.
In chapel and in Baccalaureate, graduating seniors and one parent reflect on what it means to seek, serve and grow in community.
A line in … the hymn [
In the bulb there is a flower] sums up my spiritual journey while at Bethel:
In our doubt there is believing. I have recently struggled with how I view God and religion. There are so many things in the Bible that go against what I have learned as a biologist, and my scientific mind struggles to be all-accepting of these theological concepts.
This has led to a lot of doubt. But this doubt has led to a lot of internal reflection and conversation with friends about God. I now see God’s role in the creation of our world as the driving force behind evolution, with the ultimate idea of creating life. This leads to my idea of the meaning of life as [being to contribute] to God’s beautiful creation by creating beauty in our everyday lives by helping others. —Brooke Banning ’14
Guide my feet starts by repeating the line
Guide my feet while I run this race three times. It certainly does not say,
Make things easy for me while I run this race, or
Show me all the answers while I run this race. … This has become very applicable throughout my
race of college as well. I have been extremely fortunate to have professors that are very interested in helping me succeed. Whether discussing faith issues in Patty’s BIFL class or exploring new topics in biology and chemistry classes, we were never given a
right answer, but rather encouraged to explore and question.
To me, this is a very distinctive aspect of a Bethel education, and one of the things I have grown to appreciate most over the years. This has cultivated a curious mindset that I will utilize when approaching any situation in life. Being able and willing to ask tough, honest questions has shaped my faith and allowed me to make my faith my own. —Jared Regehr ’14
The hymn [
Down in the river to pray] is a call to community prayer. Everyone is welcome, even sinners. It’s about including everyone, no matter how different they are, and this is what Bethel represents to me. It’s a place that welcomes everyone, regardless of race, social class or nationality. …
Bethel gave me academic, spiritual, service, research and professional opportunities throughout my three years. The hymn relates to me finding a home. … The moment I learned how to sing it marked the moment I started feeling I was part of a community. … In the future, every time I listen to this song, I will think of the place where I became an adult, where I learned so much about myself and others, that pushed me to be the best I could be, a place that will always be home. … I came to Bethel looking for a community, and I leave this place with a family. —Tamires Gongora ’14
We could not have done this without of the support of the Bethel community. It’s everywhere. …This community and this type of love is not ordinary.
These people and these moments are the times where I see God at Bethel. Philippians 4:8-9 says,
…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think of such things. …
The Bethel community has been an amazing place to learn about these things and we’ve seen it be put into action. … I can only hope that we can set examples of faith like the ones we have been given here at Bethel and pay it forward to those we meet in the future. —Katie Regier ’14
[Coming] back around to the theme of the service:
Seldom affirm, never deny, always distinguish. To me, the most important part is
never deny. It is so important to recognize how rare [and valuable are] true connections, how seldom the truest affirmations occur. It is so important to distinguish between people, to work to understand them, the different ways they work and think and feel. But what matters most is to never deny their worth. To never fall out of love, but to keep loving people, all of them, regardless of whether they make sense to you, and regardless of if other loves mean more
And that’s what I’ve learned at Bethel. That is the faith my time here has given me. Love. Always love. —Martin Olson ’14
One of the biggest blessings has been the opportunity to meet and get to know many of you through Danny. Whether at our house, the office or on campus, it was always wonderful to see you, to be able to be part of your
Bethel experience and know that you are like family. You all are an inspiration and you will be deeply missed.
Being at Bethel together with Danny provided the opportunity to be there for each other in struggles, celebrations and sharing the Bethel experience. I have heard that sometimes college parents tend to be
helicopter parents, [as] a negative. But I say it is OK to be a helicopter parent as long as you know when to fly high and when to fly low. There are times that our children need us, and there are times we need to stay back and give them the space they need. —Rosa Barrera, administrative assistant to the president and mother of Daniel Barrera ’14
I am excited to see what God has in store for me and all of us for the years to come. I want to thank my family for always being there when I needed them, and all of you. All of you have made an impact on me in some way, and I can never repay you for that. —Daniel Barrera ’14