Bethel Worship Center revived and re-envisioned
ELIZABETH ALDERFER Staff Writer
Attention Bethel College community! Have you heard Bethel Worship Center (BWC) is back and better than ever? BWC is a student-led gathering for students to worship as well as a safe space dedicated to bringing people closer to Jesus. A Sunday morning service for everyone on campus, BWC aims to be a convenient and meaningful place for students to gather. In a time where COVID has prohibited worship in many churches, it is encouraging to see Bethel have a place to worship once again.
Beginning in the fall semester of 2019, BWC has overcome many obstacles, but the leaders are confident that now is the perfect time for it to make a comeback. A.B. Stokes brought intense energy and enthusiasm to get the worship center started. While he is no longer with the Bethel community, there are many others who stepped up and continued to bring the passion and energy to this place of worship. As briefly mentioned, it was tragic when COVID hit, causing BWC to come to a halt, just as leadership was attempting to get more people involved and increase attendance. This past fall, COVID still prohibited BWC from returning but it provided leaders to see the importance and meaning it holds to students, envision hopes for the future, and find ways to make the greatest impact in attendees' lives.
Campus Pastor, Michael Unruh witnessed first hand during his first few weeks and interview process that BWC was important to many students. “Students asked about how I felt about continuing BWC, so it was clearly an important part of students' experiences of worship on campus” stated Unruh. With much student interest and obvious enthusiasm, Unruh helped connect people and prepare for the launch, but stepped back from a leadership position and turned it over to Ashleigh Hollis. BWC is led by passionate, enthusiastic students, including: Reagan Cowden, Sydney Brown, Lindsey Pfannenstiel, Ryan Clark, and Katy Ponce. Ashleigh Hollis serves as a main coordinator, leader, and contact of BWC.
This team of leaders has hopes and ambitions to make BWC thrive and grow this semester. “It’s going to look different than last year. Last year was mainly worship and a message. This year we plan to do bible studies, fun activities and incorporate more students. We want everyone to feel at home and think of BWC as a place they can go whenever they need it,” expressed Lindsey Pfannenstiel. With Bible studies, activities and more being planned, there are opportunities for so many students to get involved.
Additionally, Katy Ponce articulated hope that each Sunday service will be unique and diverse. “We do not plan on having every Sunday be the same routine. We will have typical services in which people come in and can worship and listen to an honest, enriching message. However, we also hope to have services that include Bible Studies, guest speakers, and activities that allow people to be creative and feel set free from current stresses,” Katy announced.
Now that you know a little more about BWC, you may be reading this and feel a call to get involved! You are in luck! If you feel so led, the BWC team is looking for people that want to get involved. Some major areas they expressed need for are with planning services week to week and helping musically. If playing an instrument or singing confidently is your forte, or perhaps you have a band, BWC would love to see you consider joining the team! If you have questions, or want more information, feel free to reach out to any one of the leaders mentioned above, they would be thrilled to meet and discuss questions, concerns or ideas. With all this in mind, the overall goal is to make this semester of BWC richer with content and music and bring more energy than in the past.
Bethel Worship Center is another great way to get involved with Bethel’s campus. BWC gathers every Sunday at 11 a.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium. Consider joining on a Sunday morning to start your week off by worshiping through music, the Word, and fellow believers. Your life could be positively impacted or if you choose to get involved you could witness other people’s lives being changed. Continue to look for announcements or updates around campus as the semester progresses, you don’t want to miss out!