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Bethel College campus pastor finds God in the tangibles

September 11th, 2017

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College campus pastor Amy Barker finds God in the tangibles—in things that represent times and events when God is with her. Barker shared stories of her faith journey with the Bethel College community who gathered Sept. 3 in the Administration Building Chapel for the first chapel service of fall semester. Her meditation, "A Red Box, A Red Rope, A Red Truck: God in the Tangibles," focused on a remembering theme that included accounts of God's presence in her life. People in the Old and New Testaments "created tangible ways to remember God's faithful acts in their lives, to commemorate what God had done for them, and they used these tangible things to remind their children of all that God had done for them," Barker said. From a red "memory" box Barker shared two items that represent to her times and events when God was with her.

A red rope symbolizes for her God's unshakable presence. During the fearful hours following the 1989 San Francisco earthquake, her two-year-old son reminded her of a children's book about the Old Testament woman Rahab, whose Jericho house—with red rope hanging from its window—did not fall down when all the walls around did. (Josh. 2, 6)

"I was astonished that my two-year-old demonstrated faith in a God who delivers!" Barker said. "I don't think I have ever heard a more powerful sermon to trust God and not be afraid."

During another troubling time Barker, who as a high school student had become a born-again Christian while living in England, began to see red trucks whose England logo reminded her of the place where she had first found God.

"God's love for us is so astonishing in its intensely personal nature," Barker said. "As the Psalmist writes, 'Who is so great a god as our God?' (Ps. 77:13b) Whatever you face, God is with you in the most intimate and personal of ways. God is so very real."

Barker, who is new to the Bethel College community this semester, is responsible for planning the weekly chapel services at the college. She will also teach youth ministry courses in the Bible and religion department and will serve as campus pastor. Barker graduated from Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in 2002.

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.