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4 September 2017 | Binfield, UK [Kirsty Watkins] Over 100 former staff and students travelled from as far afield as Australia, the United States and Europe to attend a 60’s reunion at Newbold on the first weekend of August. 

0019 36289356541 oThe event, which attracted over twice the number of attendees as the previous 1960’s reunion in 2013, featured a concert from the Wedgwood Trio, a sermon by former Newbold Principal and former General Conference President, Dr Jan Paulsen, and a boat trip on the River Thames. It also gave many opportunities to reconnect and reminisce. 

The weekend opened with a campus tour hosted by College Principal, Dr John Baildam. He pointed out recent renovations and campus developments, including the installation of biomass boilers. He spoke about planned improvements and enhancements to the campus and explained what each building is currently used for, the programmes on offer and where they are housed.

img 7377 36433730265 oOn Friday evening Dr Jerry Hoyle, 1960s alumnus and President of the Newbold College Council, outlined the inception of the Council, which exists to advise and consult with the Principal, to assist in the development and the enhancement of the College, and to promote Newbold as a higher education institution. Hoyle noted that activity between the College and the Council, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year, had stagnated, but that both the Council and the current College leadership hope to breathe fresh life into it by inviting new membership. Dr Hoyle also outlined several projects at the College that had benefited from funds supplied by the Council, including Moor Close Lodge and the Smith Centre.

Attendees at the Friday evening programme had the opportunity to share their memories with the group, relating stories ranging from a Mini on the stage in Salisbury Hall to Marmite being mistaken for chocolate spread. Big Day and Ingathering also featured as memories in which the entire College was involved, including coach journeys to the surrounding areas, to spend the whole day on the task.

A special round of applause was given when the group realised that Dr John Woodfield, former Head of the College's English Department, who will celebrate his 101st birthday in September, was in attendance. 

dsc 0043 35591152114 oSabbath was opened with prayer and praise, through song performed by Valerie Fidelia (née Westwood) and accompanied by Mark Bond, a musician visiting with the Wedgwood Trio. This was followed by a meditation about leaving home and coming home from Helen Pearson (née Cooper). Helen drew from the Hebrew scriptures to highlight the importance of "home" among God's people, of the ideas of rootedness and the values of family, heritage and identity, and of the equal importance of leaving home to experience a foreign environment and of living without the comforts of home. She closed by pointing out that it is important that we know where "home" is to us, but also that we know what the Jews knew, and "still know, that home is not where you are, it is the story you tell about your history and your life".

On Sabbath, there was a choice of Sabbath School classes, with Barbara Abrahamian (née Beavan), or with Helen Pearson, and during the formal Sabbath School programme Garth Anthony spoke about his time in mission service, giving examples of the way that various communities he had worked with, had created their own missions, and he emphasised the need to rethink mission.

dsc 0056 36289311301 oThe main service was held in the Newbold Church Centre, with Dr Jan Paulsen as guest speaker. He spoke about the background that brought him to Newbold, then used stories to introduce the topic of how to relate to and deal with unsettling things in the Church.  He asked the question, “if the Church is on hold, what happens to Christ?” He gave examples of discontent and conflict and the need to see ourselves as pilgrims, here temporarily, explaining also that the Church is a house for sinners and all belong as we journey together. Dr Paulsen warned the congregation to be cautious with the hearts and minds of people, reminding them that today is the day of salvation, and asking them whether they recognise how generous God is. "He will teach you if you don’t construct roadblocks [such as criticism, anger, perfectionism etc]. The Church is meant to be a place of healing, safety and security," he said. "Discovery and truth is a task God gave to all of us.  We need openness, freedom, mutual respect and a safe place to learn.  God is a God of second chances." Dr Paulsen closed by cautioning the congregation not to put the Church on hold, but to move boldly to make a supportive, growing community.

dsc 0139 36380750966 oThe service also featured special music from a choir of about 25 alumni, led by Dr Sandra Rigby-Barrett, Head of Newbold’s Department of Business and Humanities, and from organist, Seka Bečejac (née Dedić), former Music teacher at the College.

A downpour slightly delayed the traditional Sabbath afternoon walk at Virginia Water, but the sun made a spectacular reappearance and the outing was much enjoyed by all who attended, some of whom had made the trip to Newbold just for the Sabbath activities. 

Iconic Adventist musicians, and 1960’s Newbold alumni, the Wedgwood Trio – Jerry Hoyle, Bob Summerour, and Don Vollmer, accompanied by Mark and Conna Bond – gave a concert on Saturday evening. The first half of the concert was held in a worship style, but after sunset attendees were also treated to a wide selection of lively music. 

On Sunday, the group travelled to Windsor for a boat trip on the Thames and the weekend came to a close following lunch. [tedNEWS]


tedNEWS Staff: Victor Hulbert, editor; Deana Stojkovic, associate editor
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tedNEWS is an information bulletin issued by the communication department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Trans-European Division.




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