On September 30 at 4 p.m., students, faculty, alumni and church and community members gathered in front of the newly finished entryway into Union College for its dedication. In addition to a ribbon-cutting ceremony, various speakers, including Lincoln’s District 29 senator, Kate Bolz, introduced and dedicated the entryway and many prayers were offered over the event. Afterwards, all attendees were able to participate in the burial of a time capsule. As stated numerous times during the ceremony, the time capsule is intended to be opened in 2050.
The hope for many is to provide a glimpse of Union College in the year 2017. Pastor Rich Carlson, Union College chaplain, stated, “I think...what they will see is the commitment of the people here to Jesus and the mission of the church and the mission of the school. This is an opportunity to remember that Jesus loves us and that He’s coming soon. They can’t be anything but blessed and say, ‘Wow! Our ancestors...really had a heart for the Lord and serving Lincoln and the church.’”
Other attendees described items placed into the capsule or those they wished had been put in. Pastor Harold Alomia, lead pastor of College View Church, joked, “We should have put an iPhone in there!” Renae Cross, senior music education major, explained her hilarious transcription of a friends message after arriving just before the capsule was to be lowered into the ground, “I didn’t have enough time to finish so they’re left with a cliffhanger...the last line says ‘and the moral of the story is,’ and there’s nothing after that.”
Beyond simply sending a message (or partial message) to those in the future, this project is intended to create an impact for today as well. Dr. Gill Webb, Vice President of the Mid-America Union, commented on the impact, “Exposure to the community is great and having this entryway is a good stop sign for people… to realize this is an institution of higher learning and alongside is a church, a people of believers. I think it’s a valuable part of this community and a very good asset to Union College. History is always good to have a point of recovery and remembrance.”
Dr. Vinita Sauder, Union College president, also discussed the significance and necessity of the entryway when she described a conversation she had with a prospective family coming to visit the college. They weren’t sure where to enter and as she was walking on the sidewalk, they asked for her assistance and direction. She stated, “It was just an example of why we need [an entryway]. We want to be welcoming and this is the way to do it. I’m so pleased that it’s right here with the church right there and the stained glass windows and it’s just the perfect place.”
Present students discussed similar challenges they experienced when first visiting the school before the entryway had been built. Jovan Cross, sophomore biology major, described how when he first came to visit Union, he and his family drove right past, not knowing where to enter, but now there’s a “beautiful archway...you definitely know it’s UNION COLLEGE!”
Ron Biloff, attendee of Union College in 1961, explained what he hopes people will recognize with the building of the entryway and the opening of the time capsule, “a lot of people care about this school. There’s a lot of loyalty to this school and it’s a part of a community and it’s a good place. I like being involved and helping students...It’s fun to get to know the kids...we try to help one or two or three every year.”
The most significant portion of the event, however, wasn’t the dedication of the entryway or even the placing of the time capsule–it was that a community of passionate people joined together to celebrate the progress of Union College and even more so, to hope that the time capsule will never be opened, but rather that Jesus returns long before.
Kayla Miller is a junior studying nursing.