LINDSBORG, KAN., May 24, 2019 – Bethany College welcomed Bishop Elizabeth Eaton to campus as part of 2019 baccalaureate and commencement ceremonies. Bishop Eaton, the fourth Presiding Bishop of the ELCA, earned a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School and a Bachelor of Music Education from the College of Wooster. During commencement, Bethany College awarded Bishop Eaton an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity.
The four cornerstones identifying the ELCA, according to Bishop Eaton, are that it is church, it is Lutheran, it is church together, and it is a church for the sake of the world. In 2015, under Eaton’s leadership, Future Directions 2025, a strategic plan, was born out of an intense review of the church’s direction. Under Future Directions, the ELCA acknowledged how to work together with identified common goals in light of challenges. With Eaton’s guidance, the ELCA also launched her Leadership Initiative, which encourages all ELCA members to identify those talented people who might be called to ministry.
During the baccalaureate service, Bishop Eaton encouraged graduates to enter the world with a willingness to accept others and encouraging the graduates to step outside their “tribe” and “assimilations” that are so common to college life. Bishop Eaton also shared her intentional immersion in Lindsborg to learn everything she could about its Swedish heritage and traditions. She commended the community for embracing its heritage and referred to the circle painted on the bricks downtown for Swedish dancing as one of the many examples of the Swedish heritage exhibited in town.
“Hosting Bishop Eaton on campus was a tremendous honor and privilege. It has been more than 25 years since a presiding bishop visited Bethany College. I am grateful to her for taking a closer look at the wonderful education of the mind and heart that we offer to our students,” said President Will Jones.
Bishop Eaton ended her time on campus with a reception at the Sandzen Gallery for area pastors on Sunday evening.
Bishop Eaton also serves as the vice president for North America on the Council of The Lutheran World Federation, on the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA Governing Board and Development Committee, and Religions for Peace USA Council of Presidents.
Bethany College, established by Swedish Lutheran immigrants in 1881, is a college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The mission of Bethany College is to educate, develop, and challenge individuals to reach for truth and excellence as they lead lives of faith, learning, and service. Bethany connects its past, present, and future with distinctive initiatives like Swedes to Sweden, a free service-learning trip for the sophomore class to Sweden, and the Good Life Scholarship, presenting all local high school graduates with a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to the college. Bethany College is on the Web at www.bethanylb.edu and is located in Lindsborg, Kansas, the fine arts and crafts capital of the state.