Lighting of the Green to be virtual this year

Chad Frey
Bethel College students and community members take part in the annual Lighting of the Green in 2019. The event will be virtual this year.

The 35th edition of Bethel College’s Advent tradition — the annual Lighting of the Green — will look much different when it occurs this weekend.

With some parts pre-recorded and others live, Lighting of the Green will happen at 8 p.m. Dec. 13 via YouTube at or Zoom at

“Lighting of the Green is a long-standing Bethel College tradition in the Advent season where we celebrate the Light that shines in the darkness,” said Michael Unruh, campus pastor, “the life and light of Christ that came into the world giving light to all humankind.”

Normally students, staff and the community gather around the Green in the center of campus under the cover of darkness — each with an unlit candle. Following scripture readings and prayer the group sings Christmas carols before lighting candles. The group then moves to the center of the green, forming a tight group.

“Once all candles are lit, everyone moves to the center of the Green, forming one ‘center candle,’ the Christ candle, as we finish singing. It has been a meaningful time of welcoming this time of year and the Christmas season,” Unruh said.

This year participants will gather online using Zoom and YouTube, rather than in person on the green.

“This year, we will gather virtually live on Zoom and YouTube and bring our own light sources with us, ready to light — or turn on — at the same time we normally would,” Unruh said. “... In a year such as this, we are grateful to continue this meaningful tradition.”