The REAL thing at Bethany College

February 1, 2012 | Focus On | Number 3
By Wes Enns |
Bethany College, Sask.
Matthew Bergen creates large graffiti art for Bethany College’s retreat.

Every February, high school students from across Canada brave the cold, snow, and winter wind to make the trip to Hepburn, Saskatchewan for Bethany College’s Youth Advance (YA)! Bethany’s annual youth retreat brings people together to be challenged through dynamic teaching, drama, music, art and loads of fun activities. It is one of the most anticipated annual events at Bethany, both by current students and high schoolers alike.

The theme for YA 2012 is, “This is REAL,” and Kevin Snyder, this year’s main session speaker, will challenge attendees to find reality in their world, based on the theme verse for the weekend: John 1:4, “The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone.” Kevin, an alumnus of Bethany College, is currently the Youth Pastor at Coast Hills Community Church in Surrey, BC.

Much more than a youth retreat, YA is an opportunity for students to be drawn closer to Jesus through the unique culture at Bethany College. Each year, Bethany’s drama department prepares a production for the “retreaters” (lovingly referred to as “advancers”), and this year, will be presenting “Cotton Patch Gospel” (encore of Fall Theatre) and “The Gospel According to Jessica.”

Matthew Bergen, a third-year student at Bethany, has decorated the Bethany Halls for YA by creating a special art piece highlighting the weekend’s theme. Over the years that Matt has attended Bethany, this visual art display has grown in size. At YA 2011, advancers were treated to a large piece of graffiti art on canvas that hung in the center of the gym wall and as Matt explained it was, “a snapshot of what Jesus’ heart may have looked like on the cross.” The piece that Matt has produced for YA 2012 is almost twice as large as last years, and like all of Matt’s graffiti, “goes out to my best friend – Jesus.” 

Matthew Bergen creates large graffiti art for Bethany College’s retreat.

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