Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Sneak Preview

Sculptor John Mishler of Goshen College delivered the donor recognition "wall" to the library today for mounting in the gallery. This wooden replica of a book shelf uses book spines to represent donors to the Next Generation capital campaign that funded the construction of the new Library as well as other needs on campus such as student scholarships and faculty endowment.

AMBS employees gathered to admire the sculpture that John (red shirt) created from several varieties of hardwoods. Don Steider made the frame for the book spines from the same cherry featured in the trim and panels of the library.

Mounting the scupture required collaboration by John, Don, Nate Koets (Assistant Director of Maintenance) and Ron Ringenberg (AMBS Administrative Vice President).

End Panels for Library Shelving

Don Steider has finished some of the cherry end panels for the shelving in the library. In the central area of the library, the low shelving has end panels and tops. This gives a nice finished look to the shelves and also makes a convenient place to lay out books for reading. Mark Gingerich and Moriah Hurst love the finished look of the clear coated cherry.

Eventually there will be end panels on the tall shelving too as you can see in the background of this picture looking up to the north wing. Only four of these panels are finished so far but more will come soon.

Waldo Neufeld, AMBS Board member, spent the past month as a volunteer here at AMBS along with his wife Elinor. Waldo devoted much of his time to sanding, finishing and installing the end panels. Thank you Waldo!

We are in the final stages of preparations for the Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration (tomorrow, April 25) and the dedication of the Library and Campus Center (Saturday. April 26). Earlier this week, Rosanna McFadden and Mary Klassen put the finishing touches on a display of books from the libraries that preceeded the AMBS in Elkhart. We have books from the Elkhart Institute, Goshen College, Goshen College Biblical Seminary, Witmarsum Seminary (Bluffton, Ohio) and Mennonite Biblical Seminary and Bible School in Chicago. The display also includes artifacts from China donated by Aganetha Fast who was a missionary there from 1917 to 1950. Books that Aganetha donated to the AMBS library give a fascinating glimpse into the life of a single woman serving in China.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Art in the Lounge

Rosanna McFadden and Suella Gerber continue to hang pieces from the permanent art collection on the walls of AMBS The warm earth tones of this fabric wall-hanging complement the new fireplace in the Lounge and provide an accent in the large brick wall that used to be covered with book shelves. The hanging was madefor use in the chapel by Karmen Krahn, former AMBS student.

After the second world war, hundreds of North American Mennonites worked as volunteers in Germany to rebuild homes and infrastructure. As a gesture of gratitude, the German government sent original artistic works which are now housed at AMBS. Three of these pieces now hang on the south wall of the Lounge:
View of Berlin by Dietmar Lemcke
Blossoming and Growing by Rudolf Kugler
Assistance by Gerth Biese

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Fine Art at AMBS

The ceramic mural at the entrance to the new AMBS Library was created by Paul Lyman Roten in memory of his father, Paul Roten, who was the AMBS Librarian for over twenty years until his death in 1986. AMBS commissioned the son to create a the sculpture to honor his late father. At the time, Paul Lyman was a student of Marvin Bartel at Goshen College. An illuminated alcove at the entrance to the library was designed to feature this sculpture which honors the ministry of theological librarianship.

Last week Rosanna McFadden made the final adjustments to the display of banners in the north wing of the library. The colorful patchwork banners in the middle (maroon and green) were made by AMBS student Olivia Bartel for Advent, 1998. The Alleluia banner of Easter lilies was made by Winifred Waltner, wife of AMBS president emeritus, Erland Waltner. Cheryl Good created "Stood Firm", the pastel banner in the foreground. These banners were selected from the AMBS collection of worship visuals that were created for use in the Chapel of the Sermon on the Mount.

The Gallery just inside the entrance to the new building now features several pieces from the collection of Liz Wenger, a Mennonite artist who lives and works in Goshen. Physical disabilities led Liz to choose the medium of needlepoint for her artistic expression. Since 1984, AMBS has been the primary repository for her work including more than 30 framed pieces of needlepoint and many drawings. The selection of needlepoint on display in the Gallery includes:
Triumphal Entry 1979
Woman Behold Your Son 1982
The Annunciation: Song of Songs 1988
The Son of God Goes Forth to War 1980
Mosaic Grace 1982

Two of Liz Wenger's most beloved pieces are hanging just to the right of the fireplace in the South Lounge, formerly the Student Lounge. Peaceable Kindom (1985) is the framed piece on the left. God So Loved the World (1987) is the framed piece on the right. The resin relief in the center is entitled Peace on Earth. The artist is unknown.

Martha Hershberger, generous donor to AMBS, crafted the exquisite quilt that now graces the fireplace of the South Lounge.

Watch for more art and historical displays at AMBS is my next blog!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Banners in the New Library

Student Rosanna McFadden (right) is guiding the installation of art works at AMBS in preparation for the Fiftieth Anniversary/Library Dedication Celebration April 25-26. AMBS has an extensive collection of banners that have been used in the chapel over the years. Usually they are in storage, rarely seeing the light of day. The high ceilings of the new library and the structure of roof trusses make it an ideal spot to display the banners.

Local fabric artist, Barbara Peterson (center), joined Rosanna in selecting the banners and in determining how to arrange them in the library. All the banners were laid out on the floor in the center of the north wing. Ramont Schrock (left) from the maintenance department provided technical support.

The banners were threaded onto metal poles which Ramont then raised up to the roof trusses using the electric lift. Some final adjustments are still needed in this row of banners. Watch for an update.

In addition to this single row at the back, Rosanna and Barbara selected two more banners to display at the entrance to the north wing. The draping banner in the foreground is printed yardage in shades of brown and green with red crosses stitched on to some the blocks.

A stunning exhibit of worship visuals used at AMBS over the past fifty years! Watch for more photos of art at AMBS.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Renovation of the North Bathrooms

In February we welcomed the arrival of Wes and Cathy Braun, volunteers from Manitoba. Last winter Wes did the major work to renovate the bathrooms in the south hallway of Waltner Hall. This year he started on the bathrooms in the north wing.

Deconstruction came first. The penetrating noise of a jack hammer chipping up tile flooring was a necessary start to the project. Wes broke out walls of ceramic tile between the men's and women's restrooms and then put in new studs. He adjusted the electrical connections and prepared for the installation of new sheet rock.

This photo is from just inside the women's restroom looking through the studs to the men's room. The next photo is from the entrance to the men's room looking toward the women's room. Ramont Schrock is in the women's room.

While Wes focused on the bathrooms, Cathy worked in the library inserting security strips in books and shelving. She learned how to perform circulation functions at the service desk. She assisted in the dining hall and with other odd jobs that Sharon Baker provided.

On March 14, Wes and Cathy went to Ontario for the weekend to visit friends. On their return trip into the United States at Detroit on Sunday afternoon, Wes was denied entry at the border. The border guard claimed that Wes, a Canadian citizen, was working at AMBS because the guard found evidence that the seminary was reimbursing the Braun's travel expenses.

No explanation could change the outcome so We and Cathy returned to their friends in Ontario for the night. The next day, Cathy, who has dual citizenship, came to AMBS with a Canadian friend to collect their things from the AMBS apartment. She returned to Ontario to rejoin Wes.

This is a most unfortunate turn of events. The bare studs of the bathrooms and the stacked drywall in the hallway are ready reminders of the premature end to Wes and Cathy's time at AMBS. They are also disappointed to leave so much unfinished with this early departure.

Welcoming Spring in the New Lounge

There are still piles of snow around from the last storm and more is forecast for today. But the birds of spring have arrived in northern Indiana and our thoughts turn to gardening. With the enthusiastic leadership of the AMBS community gardeners, we have had two opportunities to plant seeds in preparation for the 2008 season.

The lounge tables were spread with seed packs. Planting containers and potting soil was provided along with expert advice from Jamie Hollis, Heidi Rupley and . Everyone had a chance to plant seeds and take containers home to tend until their garden warms up enough for outdoor planting. Hopefully there will be sturdy seedlings to tuck into the soil for early summer crops.

A big thank you to the garden planners for helping us get ready for spring.

And, for those not interested in seed planting, there was stimulating conversation around the fireplace. The new furniture is well used and much appreciated.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

New Furniture Completes the Lounge

Wednesday's arrival of new furniture for the Lounge was celebrated on Thursday, February 28, with a special break for Leap Year. The entire community gathered for doughnuts from a local bakery and a few daring individuals demonstrated dramatic leaps and even a cartwheel. (Sorry, no photos of the leaps.)

From the top of the stairs coming out of the Conference Room, you can see that the old library reading room has become a comfortable gathering space. The literature rack which formerly held materials from Faith and Life Resources in the old library Curriculum Center has found a new home in the Lounge with a display of assorted brochures. Two rectangular library tables at the entrance to the Lounge are often used by volunteers preparing materials for the Church Leadership Center. Back further in the room by the windows is a grouping of casual furniture, the soft red chairs from the old library.

President Nelson Kraybill chats with student Reece Retzlaff just before she leads the leapers and Nelson follows. (Again, sorry, no photo of the leaps. It was over too quickly for this amateur photographer.) Janeen Bertsche Johnson, Campus Pastor, presides over the doughnuts from Lucky's of Elkhart. A line forms at the coffee machine back by the sink as Jesse Smith gives directions to Craig Neufeld and Barbara Devereaux.

There are three new bistro tables with high stools being enjoyed here by the maintenance crew: Don Steider, Ramont Schrock, Nate Koets and volunteer Wes Braun. June Alliman Yoder and Joanne Gallardo demonstrate that the bistro tables are handy even when the chairs have been moved by the maintenance staff. Well, we can guess who is in most need of a mid-morning break from hard physical labor.

The foosball table at the far southwest end of the the new Lounge sees active and noisy competition during class breaks. Reece and Jesse are joined by Mark Gingerich and Jason Vance.

The area by the gas fireplace in the far northwest corner now has new furniture, two loveseats and two soft chairs. This is generally a popular spot. However, with doughnuts and leaping at the the other end of the room, it was a quiet corner when I snapped this photo. The gas fireplace has a timed switch so that it is only on when someone is there to enjoy it. This has become the preferred gathering place for the afternoon mate drinkers.

Change takes time, especially in a small institution where design decisions are made by committee. However, there is common agreement that the transformation of the old library into a new lounge has been very successful and is meeting many needs on campus.

In early February, the Admissions Department moved to the Lambright Center into offices vacated by the Church Leadership Center. This includes Director Bob Rosa, Admissions Counselor Jeffrey Newcomer Miller, Financial Aid Counselor Jody Walker and Assistant Denise McOwen. Their goal is to have a welcoming area to meet with prospective students.

Jeff Miller, Chief Financial Officer, moved from his office by the mailroom down the hall next to the Ad Cabinet Room. Mary Klassen moved into Jeff's old office and her assistant, Nekeisha Alexis Baker, is now in the adjacent former office of the Admissions Counselor, Jeffrey Newcomer Miller. Barbara Gamble, new human resources and payroll assistant, has moved into Mary Klassen's old office.

Last August at an all-employee gathering, Nelson asked everyone who had changed offices in the past year to raise their hands. About a third of the staff raised their hands. When he asks this question next summer, perhaps another third will raise their hands. AMBS is indeed on the move in many ways!

The past two months of silence on this blog are a testimony of the commitment it takes to do regular postings on a blog. On the other hand, no need to clog the web unnecessarily. You have now seen the fruits of two months of work by the AMBS Maintenance Department.

I will probably continue to post until the Fiftieth Anniversary and Library Dedication April 25 and 26. I hope to see you at AMBS for this reunion and celebration.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

First Staff Break in the New Lounge

The vending machines were moved to the new lounge today, the day after the last day of classes. So, where to eat lunch since the Lambright Center is closed? A small group gathered in the new lounge for lunch using a table from the hallway and warming food in the microwave down the hall in the kitchenette. The new microwave has not yet arrived.

These shots are from the first afternoon break in the new lounge. What is that green thing with white handles hanging out? It is a foosball table provided by the !Explore youth program.

These shots are from the first afternoon break in the new lounge. Sharon made coffee on her new coffee maker. The coffee vending machine is not yet hooked up. The gas fireplace is very nice.

Thank you , Nekeisha Alexis-Baker, for bring down some more chairs.

Church Leadership Center: Administrative Support

The library circulation counter area has become the office of Eric Saner, Administrative Assistant for the Church Leadership Center, and Sharon Baker, Administrative Assistant.

All of the counters were removed from the old library workroom to give them a spacious office with new suspended fluorescent lights.

Here are some shots of their move into the office.

!Explore Staff Moves to Library Offices

Across the hall the !Explore staff have taken the small offices on the old library hallway.

Andy Brubaker Kaethler was challenged to find space for all of his books in what used to be the Curriculum Center. Thanks to Herb Leichty for putting up the shelves.

Lois Hess Nafziger has taken over the librarian's office. The desk is now up against the wall and she is quite well settled in.

The small room at the end of the hall which had been the group study room will be used as a small conference room.

Moving Day for the Church Leadership Center

On Monday, December 17, the Church Leadership Center moved from the Lambright Center to the renovated old library. Herb Leichty, Ramont Schrock and students Joseph and Rolando Sosa were there to led a hand.

The director, Jewel Gingerich Longenecker, settles into her office. This is the middle part of the old library workroom.

Nina Lanctot and Rafael Barahona share the back part of this room where Brent Koehn's desk used to be. Nina has a beautiful oak desk. The book lift was removed from the corner to open up this space.