April 16, 2013 | 2:47 p.m.
By Tricia Theurer, Communications and Marketing Specialist for University Relations
More than 200 grandparents from 11 U.S. states – and one from the Netherlands – enjoyed a special day connecting with their grandchildren at Bethel’s first Grandparents Day last week. Together, the generations worshiped in Chapel, enjoyed a reception and the opportunity to meet Bethel leaders and other guests, had their photos taken, connected over lunch, and took tours of the campus. They also heard about the mission of Bethel as well as the special bond between grandparents and grandchildren from President Jay Barnes and learned about the significant role that Bethel has played in the lives of 2012 Bethel Seminary Alumnus of the Year Dick Varberg (‘55, S ‘58) and his wife Elenor (’55), who have grandchildren who are current students.
Corrie Majolee, who traveled from the Netherlands to connect with her grandson Jesse Hill (’16), says of the event, “This day means a lot. It’s a blessing that my grandson can study here. It gives me a feeling for how he studies and lives. It’s a wonderful way to connect.” She continues, “You can sense God working here. It gives me peace. I’m far away but know he’s in a great place.” Majolee visited Bethel last year with her grandson as he was deciding which college to attend. “The first time I came, I knew the atmosphere was so good. This is Beth-el; the house of God.”
The number of grandparents registered and their positive responses exceeded expectations, says Ralph Gustafson, vice president for constituent relations. "There is a special connection between a grandparent and grandchild, no matter what their age. In planning Grandparents Day we believed that giving them a chance to be together on our campus and to experience what God is doing at Bethel would enhance that close and unique relationship. Our hope and prayer was that the students and their grandparents would have a rare opportunity to worship together, learn together, and truly encourage each other at Bethel. We believe God answered our prayer!" he says.