February and March have been a busy time for BCMC’s engagement with young adults.
On February 25, the Education Service Scholarship Committee (ESSC) held a fundraiser in tandem with the Wednesday night supper and received a wildly generous donation of $3,496. Through the work of ESSC, this donation will allow the congregation to double our scholarship contribution for current and future Bethel College (BC) students. BC students will now receive $2,000 toward their education per year.
During the fundraiser supper, current BC/BCMC students Ben Kreider, Eric Preheim, Emily Harder, and Alex Van Nguyen shared stories about their college journeys and thanked the congregation for support.
Alex Van Nguyen, a student from Vietnam, shared a particularly heartfelt reflection on his time at BC and BCMC, including this powerful statement: “I am not an US citizen, I did not grow up in a democratic society, and I am not even Mennonite. However, you all have welcomed me in your congregation with open arms as a member of your church, your family. Your actions have reinforced my belief that the grace of God and the love of humanity have reached beyond national identity, political conviction, and religious belief. Bethel College is such a rewarding experience for me.”
In addition to the fundraiser, BCMC’s engagement with young adults has led to the launch of a new Sunday school space. Young adults, including college students, are now meeting in Room 28 for coffee, snacks, and conversation. As this new class begins forming, it hopes to focus on topics specifically related to contemporary young adult life, while also engaging changes in culture and the church.
Amidst these other engagements with young adults, BCMC had the privilege of hearing a sermon delivered by Jerrell Williams on March 1. Jerrell, our current Bethel College intern in the area of youth ministry, reflected on the church’s mission in the context of wider society. Jerrell encourages the congregation to “make time for what matters” by becoming more involved in the work of serving our neighbors, especially populations who are pushed to the margins. Jerrell’s sermon reminds us that young adults often are more oriented toward service and mission and less interested in consuming church programs.
This flurry of engagement with young adults again shows that BCMC is a community that cares for its relationships with young people and that their voices are valued and received with true sincerity. In the coming months and years, what are other ways that BCMC can engage young adults? Feel free to post your ideas on our Facebook page!
– John Tyson