Bethel professor in meeting with Iranian president

Peace and reconciliation are things to pursue with your enemies rather than your friends, says Bethel Professor of Bible and Religion Patricia Shelly.

She doesn’t claim the observation as original, but it has become even more important to her personally since she visited Iran in February 2007 and attended two subsequent meetings in New York with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, most recently this past Sept. 25.

A year ago, Shelly was part of an interfaith gathering with Ahmadinejad in New York, at which she offered a closing blessing. This time, she was one of the speakers at a meeting where about 300 religious leaders, including Ahmadinejad, discussed religion’s role in responding to global challenges and in building peace and understanding between societies. Shelly presented “the Anabaptist/Mennonite Christian perspective.” Mennonite Central Committee, American Friends Service Committee and three other religious organizations were the dialogue sponsors.

Claassen establishes endowed chair in business administration

Professor of Business and Economics Allison J. McFarland is the first recipient of the Walter C. and Helen E. Claassen Endowed Chair in Business Administration. President Barry Bartel presented McFarland with a commemorative chair at a ceremony Oct. 27.

Endowed by gifts from Walter Claassen and his late wife Helen, the chair funds the salary of an outstanding scholar and teacher in the business and economics department.

Claassen attended Bethel and graduated from the University of Kansas in 1939 with a bachelor’s degree in business. He then went on to the Harvard Business School, where he received a master of business administration.

After completing his education, Claassen worked in Chicago before serving for four years in the U.S. Navy. In 1946, he returned to Newton to work in the Kansas State Bank, which his grandfather had helped start. From 1962-82, he served as bank president.

Bethel student first in bi-national peace oratory contest

Bethel senior Josh Chittum, winner of the 2008 C. Henry Smith Oratory Contest on campus last May, recently placed first in the bi-national competition among seven participating Mennonite and Brethren in Christ colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada. The title of his speech was “Peacefully Confronting the Wall of Racism.”

Each spring the contest, sponsored by Mennonite Central Committee and administered locally by Bethel’s Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, is held among students on campus on topics on the general theme of applying the Christian peace position to contemporary concerns. The first round of speeches is given at Life Enrichment, and the second in convocation. The Bethel winners this year were Chittum, Aimee Siebert and Jonathan Huber.

Sports web site has schedule, results, stories and more

The Bethel Web site for athletics can keep you up-to-date on all Thresher sports. Go to the athletic Web site for schedules, the latest scores, video highlights, upcoming events, recent sports news, fast facts and much more.

Here’s a sampling of what’s been happening in Bethel athletics this fall:

  • tennis player Paige McKinney, a senior from Newton, finished among the top four in the nation in recent competition.
  • after trouncing Tabor College 54-7 last Saturday, the football team is ranked #14 in the nation. The Threshers are 5-1 in conference play, 6-1 overall. They are currently in a three-way tie for second place in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC).
  • at 13-2 in KCAC play, 18-9 overall, the volleyball team is in second place in the KCAC. The conference tournament begins Nov. 8, with the semifinals and finals played at the #1 seed on Nov. 14 and 15.
  • The Thresher golf team won their first-ever event this fall at the Central Christian Invitational, an 11-team tournament. Scott Sasser, a senior from Derby, tied for first place individual honors.

See the Web site for additional information -- past and future -- on these sports plus cross country, men’s tennis, soccer, basketball and track.

All alumni invited to network third Thursdays at Reba’s

To encourage networking, the Young Alumni Committee invites all Bethel alumni (grads and anyone else at Bethel a year or more) to connect with each other at Reba’s Restaurant, 301 North Main, Newton, every third Thursday of the month.

The networking time is 7-9 p.m., though the restaurant is also open for normal business then. The committee initiated the project in October.

“If we want to build relationships, I think it’s good to invite all Bethel alumni to Reba’s [on third Thursdays],” said committee member Tonya Keim Bartel ’01, Hesston. “Older as well as younger alumni will enjoy getting to know each other, plus the networking can be helpful to everyone.”

Restaurant owner Rebecca Ballard is supporting the college and the project by offering a “buy one tapas, get one for half price” special to Bethel alumni. The offer is good through May 31, 2009.

To spread the word about the Bethel special, committee member Joel Gaeddert ’06, Newton, has designed a wallet-sized coupon that alumni may want to carry with them as a reminder. The free card is available from Thresher Bookstore and the alumni office on campus, and also from committee members at Reba’s each third Thursday.

If questions, feel free to ask a member of the Young Alumni Committee: Tonya Bartel ’01, Hesston; Brett Esau ’03, Hesston; Crystal ’04 and Joel ’06 Gaeddert, Newton; Kira Kindall ’03, Newton; David Nance ’06, Newton; Jerol Schrag ’02, Hesston; and Toby Tyner ’07, Newton.

Additional young alumni are invited to join the committee. Contact the alumni office at (316) 284-5251 or alumni@bethelks.edu if interested.

Save December 6 for holiday shopping at Bethel

Make Bethel College your first stop on the sixth annual “Five Places of Christmas” tour Saturday, Dec. 6, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

The Bethel College Women’s Association (BCWA) will decorate the Administration Building, also the site of their annual bake sale. Yummy holiday treats will include traditional favorites such as zwieback and peppernuts. The new Ad Building tree ornament will be available for purchase, along with cookbooks, Goerz House candle houses and stadium seats. A free shuttle will run between the Fine Arts Center parking lot and the Ad Building.

Across Main Street, Kauffman Museum will hold an open house with holiday gifts for sale in the museum store. New this year will be the Great Trek DVD “Through the desert goes our journey” and a children’s storybook on making verenike. Plates featuring a poinsettia design by Mary Lou Goertzen ’51, Deadwood, Ore., will also be available.

For more information, contact Andi Schmidt Andres or Rachel Pannabecker at (316) 283-1612 or kauffman@bethelks.edu. Those interested in helping BCWA should contact Mary Schmidt at (620) 367-8219 or mary.schmidt@usd411.org,.

Congress passes bill allowing tax-free giving from IRA accounts

Congress has again passed legislation allowing donors age 70 1/2 or older to make tax-free gifts direct from an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to specific charities effective in 2008. This includes but is not limited to Required Minimum Distributions. Giving this way assures that the funds will never be subject to income or estate taxes, often making it possible to give more at a lower cost to the donor. Total yearly giving through this method, however, is limited to $100,000. The current bill expires after the 2009 tax year.

Those interested in supporting Bethel this way are invited to talk with their IRA administrator. If questions arise, feel free to contact Fred Goering, Bethel director of development, at fgoering@bethelks.edu or (316) 284-5226.

Mark your calendar for next year’s Fall Fest

Next year’s Fall Festival fair on campus will be held Saturday, Oct. 3, 2009. Taste of Newton will take place Thursday evening, Oct. 1. The annual STEM Symposium will be held Friday, Oct. 2.

The classes of 1974, 1979, 1984, 1989, 1994 and 1999 will hold reunions Saturday, Oct. 3. Additional activities will be scheduled throughout the extended Fall Fest weekend.

See China with alumni and friends in 2009

Interest in the Oct. 30-Nov. 17, 2009, trip to China for Bethel alumni and friends continues to be strong. So far, 20 people have requested information. A minimum of 16 participants and maximum of 25 are needed in order to make the tour viable. Details continue to be posted online.

The trip is being led by experienced tour leaders Jim ’57 and Shirley (Suderman) ’57 Goering. International air travel will be arranged by MTS Travel, Newton, with liaison Byron Ediger ’66 facilitating. The Bethel College Alumni Association is sponsor.

This is the 18th trip that the Goerings have led to China. They are again cooperating with the same excellent tour guide there who has helped them over the years. To enhance the experience, after the list of participants is finalized Jim and Shirley request brief bio-sketches from everyone to share with the group. Just prior to departure, they invite anyone interested to write up one day’s activities during the tour, later part of a joint travelogue given to participants. And, to spur conversation and learning, the Goerings distribute pertinent news articles and other descriptive materials each day during the tour.

The current best estimate for the total price is $5,000-5,200 per person, as advertised earlier. It is expected that the full cost will be known after the first of the year. Participation for Bethel alumni and friends is on a first-come-first-served basis via payment of a $400 per-person deposit to be made no later than March 16, 2009. Checks are to be made payable to Shirley Goering and mailed to her at 301 Bluestem Street, North Newton, KS 67117. In addition, two photocopies of the front page of each participant’s passport are required with the deposit. Payment of the balance will be due June 15, 2009.

Those interested in continuing to receive updates and other information should notify the alumni office at alumni@bethelks.edu no later than Dec. 1, 2008.