May 6, 2014 | 1:45 p.m.
By Tricia Theurer, Communications Specialist
Almost 300 grandparents—nearly 100 more than in 2013—enjoyed a special day connecting with their grandchildren in April at Bethel’s second Grandparents Day. The grandparents represented 172 families and came from 14 states. About 25 of the grandparents are Bethel alumni.
The day started with an opening session in Benson Great Hall, where grandparents heard from Campus Pastor Laurel Bunker and President Jay Barnes. Bunker spoke about the spiritual transformation that is an essential part of a Bethel education, and shared the experiences and opportunities Bethel provides to challenge and support students in their spiritual growth. President Barnes shared from his heart as a grandfather, and encouraged grandparents to continue in the powerful work of praying for their grandchildren.
Grandparents then joined their grandchildren for Chapel, where they enjoyed a humorous and truth-filled message from Youth and Family Communicator Greg Speck ’73, who challenged listeners to “act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with [their] God” (Micah 6:8). After Chapel, grandparents ate lunch with their grandchildren in the Monson Dining Center. Bethel’s food service provider, Sodexo, set up a special pie station to honor Bethel’s guests. Grandparents were also invited to take walking tours of campus, enjoyed a special discount in the Campus Store (where a favorite item was the new “Bethel University Grandparent” t-shirt), and posed for keepsake photos with their grandchild.
The day closed with a session that highlighted several distinctives of Bethel academics, including the new technologically interactive classroom, the impact of study abroad programs, and faculty-student research opportunities.
Grandparents were asked “What did you enjoy most about Grandparents Day?” Here’s some of their responses:
- “Seeing my granddaughter’s room.”
- “The opening session was super! Jay and Laurel were great! Addressed the important issues.”
- “Being with our granddaughter, of course!”
- “Seeing how our grandchild spends his day.”
- “Lunch with our grandchild and meeting some of his friends.”
- “Being with my grandson and hearing his excitement about being at Bethel.”
Responses to the question “Was there a significant story or favorite connection with your grandchild you would like to share?” included:
- “She [their granddaughter] is happy to have been at Bethel these years. We see her growing in the Lord and strengthened – so wonderful to see.”
- “Hearing his [grandson’s] future goals and how Bethel is preparing him.”