Cookie recipe reconnects alumni to Fort Wayne campus
By Andrea (Matetic) Osmun g05Published: Dec 15, 2016
Who would have thought that a cookie recipe would reconnect a couple of alumni with Fort Wayne Bible College after 40 years?
After Kay (Wright) Swatkowski g74 and her husband, Ray g73, graduated from Fort Wayne Bible College, they planted churches in St. Louis and France. Her husband was a pastor within the Baptist General Conference, and Kay said they ran in different circles than most FWBC grads.
“Our connections changed over the years,” she said. “I never forgot Fort Wayne Bible College. It had a major impact on my life.”
Kay recently retired from counseling ministry and started writing books. Her first book, A Grandmother’s Prayer, was published through Discovery House Publishers and ended up in the hands of Agnes Saddington h09, former athletic secretary at Taylor University Fort Wayne.
Agnes’ attention was piqued when she read the “day fifty-six” devotion. Kay wrote, “Miriam Welty was my first prayer partner. She was the wife of a former pastor who was the registrar at the college I attended, and she worked on campus as an administrative assistant.”
Agnes knew Miriam Welty and her husband, Harold, so she looked up Kay and discovered she was a 1974 graduate of Fort Wayne Bible College.
In her devotion, Kay wrote that she spent a lot of time in the Weltys’ home. “Miriam had a delicious recipe for applesauce chocolate chip cookies that I have lost over the years,” Kay wrote.
When Agnes stopped by the Fort Wayne Alumni Office last month, she brought Kay’s devotional book with her and showed it to Alumni Director Michael Mortensen g91.
“Ironically, Jim g66 and Pat (Mayo g67) Welty, Harold and Miriam’s son and daughter-in-law, had just come to Fort Wayne for Homecoming 2016,” Michael wrote in his year-end letter. “I emailed Jim asking if he remembered Kay and if he had his mom’s cookie recipe. Within moments, he responded, and to my delight, he had scanned in the original recipe typed on a 3 x 4 notecard,” Michael wrote.
He immediately gave Kay a call, and she was floored. “It touched my heart,” she said. “I can’t even find the words to reconnect with the memories of the Weltys and their kindness and prayers, even after we left Fort Wayne.”
Besides getting that cookie recipe again, Kay was grateful to be reconnected with the Fort Wayne campus after all these years.
“I met Miriam [Welty] my freshman year,” she remembered. “I worked in the Dean of Students’ office, doing typing and filing. Miriam was down the hall in the alumni office. I’d go down and sit at her desk, and she’d share recipes with me. We went to her church. I cleaned house for her on Fridays. We shared a lot of life together. She sort of took me under her wing. She encouraged me when I changed my major to working with children.”
Despite all the years of not being connected to the Fort Wayne campus, Kay said her time there meant a lot to her.
“Some things are hard to put into words,” Kay said. “I came from a nonChristian home. To me, Fort Wayne became family. The teachers, the staff became like family to me. They modeled a consistency in their Christian faith and set as a model for me how I wanted to live my life and the kind of pastor’s wife I wanted to be. They gave me a love for God’s word—Robert Strubar g36, teaching the book of Daniel, and Wes Gerig g51, a love for theology. I’ve never shaken any of that. It’s still there.”
Today, the Swatkowskis live in Antioch, Illinois, right on the Wisconsin state line, an hour north of Chicago and an hour south of Milwaukee. Ray is an interim pastor for a church in Walworth, Wisconsin and also works for Pinnacle Ministries, which helps churches that are going through transition.
“We work with struggling churches and offer counseling for pastors and families in crisis,” Kay said. “We do that together.”
Since her retirement, Kay has written two books for Discovery House—A Grandmother’s Prayer and Make Yourself at Home: Discovering the Heart of the Church.
“I loved storytelling,” Kay said. “[Miriam] was one of the first people who told me I could do that. She encouraged me in everything—even writing. I started telling stories and haven’t stopped.”
Kay’s books are available through most major booksellers, including Amazon, Christianbook.com, and Barnes & Noble. Follow her at americangrandma.com.
Editor’s Note: This is what your Alumni Center staff does. In addition to connecting as we did with Kay, recently we were able to care for an alumna whose husband was in an accident. We are honored to pray and to send notes of encouragement to many alumni who struggle amid difficulties of life. In conversation with one alumna, she said, “I thought my school and that time was done and over.” Good news! The ministry continues to move forward.
Would you celebrate with us the privilege God has given us to continue connecting your Fort Wayne alumni? Would you give a tax-deductible gift to support the ministry of the Alumni Center by December 31? Your gift is needed and appreciated. Click here to give on our secure website. We also accept stock gifts and IRA rollovers.