Back in the fall of 2002, the very first cohort of students from Bethel Seminary’s Children’s and Family Ministry program were preparing to graduate. Denise Muir Kjesbo, lead faculty for the program, sat down earlier in the day and put onto paper her dreams for what it might mean to be a Children’s and Family Ministry alum of Bethel Seminary. Rather than focusing on how Bethel could serve them as alum of the school, she encouraged the soon-to-be graduates to think about how they might serve the broader community of children’s and family ministry.
As Dr. Muir Kjesbo shared these great dreams and lofty visions, the group did a bit of a reality check. There was no funding for these dreams and the Bethel InMinistry team did not have space in their jobs to assist the development of these visions. They were invited to pray about how God might provide ways for the Bethel Children’s and Family Ministry alum to serve the emerging field of children’s and family ministry.
Exactly three years later – God would provide in ways beyond our wildest dreams. In October 2005, Dr. Kjesbo worked on a grant proposal with Bethel’s grant writer Sandy Clark, under the leadership of the Provost Leland Eliason. This grant was submitted to the Board of Scripture Press, who was looking for ways to continue the legacy of their founders Berniece and Victor Cory (pictured below). Miraculously the program was awarded 2.1 million dollars to fund the dreams that had been birthed three years earlier.
The gracious grant award has been used to form the Cory Center for Children’s and Family Ministry (respectively named after the founders of Scripture Press). Our desire is to resource and support those in the field of Children’s and Family ministry through strategic partnerships and utilize the gifts and talents of our program alum. We look forward to what God will do in days ahead!