Bethel Students, Staff and Faculty Celebrate MLK Day

Bethel students, staff and faculty will celebrate MLK day with various cross-cultural events and field trips on Monday, Jan. 17.

“Some of the events may not seem connected with the celebration of MLK Day to an outsider,” says Dennis Engbrecht, Ph.D., senior vice president. “However, Bethel’s multi-ethnic resource team and the center for intercultural development wanted to use this occasion to provide cross-cultural exposure in order that the college might enhance the intercultural competence of our faculty, staff and students.” 

Here are some of the events that will take place. These events are not open to the public.

Telling the Stories

Coordinator: Dennis Engbrecht, Ph.D.

Description: Rebecca Johnson was born in Mississippi in 1935 and lived there until moving with her family to South Bend. Johnson will share her experience growing up as an African-American girl in the pre-Civil Rights South along with life for African-Americans in South Bend during the 1950s. Johnson is a leader in the local NAACP.

Come to the Table: A Celebration of Grace and Community

Coordinators: Katie Weakland, Ph.D. and Student DaVonne Harris

Description: Participants will engage in a prayerful reflection and worship time to celebrate the grace, forgiveness, love and community made possible through the cross of Christ. A fascinating aspect of this activity includes artistically decorating a table in a diverse and intriguing fashion as an act of corporate worship.

Visit Ten Thousand Villages

Coordinator: Elizabeth McLaughlin, Ph.D.

Description: An introduction to an outreach to artisans in emerging nations by the Mennonite Central Committee.

Going Amish

Coordinator: Dennis Engbrecht, Ph.D.

Description: Students will have the opportunity to eat dinner in an Amish home and interact with an individual raised Amish. There will be opportunity for questions and answers regarding Amish beliefs, culture and lifestyle.

Martin Luther King Celebration Concert

Coordinator: Kathy Gribbin, Ph.D.

Description: An evening honoring Dr. King with music by African-American composers, including Joseph Schwanter, William Grant Still and Uzee Brown.


Coordinator: Christian Davis, Ph.D.

Description: The film, “Amistad,” will be shown followed by a discussion. The movie “Amistad,” recreates the historical events of the 1839 revolt of African slaves aboard the slave ship Amistad and the subsequent struggle in U.S. courts to prove that these Africans were human beings with natural rights and not merely property. This case was pivotal in the rise of the movement to abolish slavery and to assert the human rights of Africans and African Americans.

Visit the Northern Indiana Center for History

Coordinator: Hermalena Powell

Description: There are three displays that are of significance for this visit: the Native American display which includes artwork and artifacts, the “Women in Baseball” display which includes historic photographs and facts, and the “Liberty on the Border” display which talks about The Civil War years as well as the time leading up to the war and the decades. Our group will be on a self-guided tour. Price of entry is free. A snack at the café will be provided.

“Life and Debt”

(and FREE Jamaican jerk chicken)

Coordinators: Professors Tim Erdel, Ph.D., Theo Williams and Robby Prenkert (all ex-missionaries in Jamaica)

Description: Join us for a taste of “Theo’s searing Jamaican jerk chicken” and the story of the effects of globalization and crippling debt on an “island paradise” — Jamaica. We will be watching the powerful and provocative film, “Life and Debt,” sampling some great Jamaican food and sharing some of our own stories of Jamaica.

Bethel College is an accredited Christian college offering associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in more than 70 areas of study. The current enrollment of more than 2,100 includes students from 34 states and Puerto Rico, 19 countries, more than 25 denominations and 16 percent from culturally diverse backgrounds. Scholarships are available based upon a variety of factors including academic achievement, talent in the arts or athletics, ethnicity and church affiliation. In addition to its beautifully wooded 75-acre main campus in Mishawaka, Ind., Bethel also offers specific academic programs at sites in Elkhart, Ind., Fort Wayne, Ind., Dowagiac, Mich., and St. Joseph, Mich. Nursing programs are also offered in cooperation with Grace College in Winona Lake, Ind.