Turner Continues to Bring Us Together

In 1885, the Turner family donated the property that has served as a host for the annual camp meeting now known as the Northwest Christian Convention (formerly the Oregon Christian Convention) for over 170 years. The historic Turner Tabernacle, built in 1891, has stood the test of time, reflecting God’s glory in each and every face who gathers together each June, including many in the Bushnell University community.

The University has played a part of the gathering since Dean of the University, Eugene Sanderson, gave the keynote sermon in 1898. In fact, the historical record of Convention leaders and speakers reads like a who’s who of college history, bringing decades of families together around a common cause in a place filled with legacy. James Bushnell himself, the University’s namesake and first President of the Board of Regents, served as Vice President of the Convention for six years (1890-1896).

The 2022 Convention brought Bushnell alumni, friends, faculty, and staff together over a week of worship, teaching, and fellowship. Some of the most notable highlights included a session featuring Dr. Joseph Womack and Boise Bible College President Dr. Derek Voorhees, teaching sessions with Dr. A.J. Swoboda, daily devotions led by alumnus Dr. D. H. Shearer ’78, and the annual Bushnell University gathering during which the State of the University was shared. Alumni Chad ’09 and Rebecca (Fitch) DeKay ’07 served as the Convention Presidents and their energy and innovation was infectious. Of course, all of the behind the scenes coordination was handled by the graceful administrator, alumna Dianne McIntosh (parent of current student Annalee McIntosh).

One highlight of the week was the opportunity to hear from Dr. Chap Clark, recently retired Fuller Seminary professor, an expert on youth culture and discipleship with a passion for the next generation to know Jesus. Fuller’s long connection to the history of the University, beginning with former professor Dr. Donald McGavran (who helped found Fuller’s School of World Mission in 1965), was reflected in the many Fuller alumni in the room who either attended or work for Bushnell (or both).

This year in 2023 the Convention features Bushnell University’s Dr. Melisa Ortiz-Berry as she brings her heart for history in the early church and a deep passion for Scripture. Adjunct faculty member and long time Bushnell friend Dr. Wes Wright will be leading the morning Bible study session, alumni Annalee McIntosh ’23 will be preaching on Sunday, Vice-President for University Advancement Keith Potter ’84 as well many others will be teaching workshops. The annual Bushnell University dinner gathering will be on Thursday, June 29 before the main session. 

This gathering each year is a wonderful opportunity for all Bushnell (NCU/NCC) alumni to get together. Bring your family or a group of friends and enjoy the selection of sub sandwiches, chips, cold drinks, and treats. You will also get to hear from recent graduate, Annalee McIntosh ’23, as well as Dr. Corynn Gilbert, Director of Development, and Keith Potter, Vice-President for University Advancement. Donations for this dinner are greatly appreciated and support the Beacon Fund for Student Scholarships. Bushnell is grateful for the many alumni and friends who generously support the next generation of leaders.

Turner will continue to play a part in weaving together the University’s past, present, and future in the hearts and minds of Christ followers around the globe. 

Adapted from original article published in The Beacon Magazine Fall 2022 edition.