Employee Directory: Peter Goerzen
- B.A. Bethel College 2007
- M.Div Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary 2015
My dad is the maintenance director here at Bethel, so I spent a lot of time on campus when I was little. One of my favorite memories is scurrying closely behind my dad's brisk step as he hurried from building to building, switching off all the lights facing the Green (a large lawn in the center of Bethel's campus) in preparation for Bethel College's annual Lighting of the Green Advent service. The campus, majestic and ornate in its soft night-time lighting, gradually slipped into a bold, dark solitude.
At last all the lights had been extinguished, and, with the campus perfectly dark and still, we climbed the old wooden steps in the Administration Building to a window overlooking the Green. Dad lifted me up so I could see, and we waited in silence as several dozen students began to gather in the crisp, cold December night for the still-young Bethel College Advent tradition (today some 200+ gather).
I strained to hear the scripture reading. Then some barely-perceptible singing. Then came my favorite part. A single candlelight appeared, and I watched intently as that single small flame gradually spread across the green, each small flame taking its place in the stunning wreath of warmth and light in the cold, dark night.
As a young boy, I could not have understood the meaning of the first chapter of John or have grasped the powerful symbolism of the flame being passed around the Green, but somehow I knew that it was special and significant. I knew I wanted to be a part of it, to see my little flame dance before my eyes and pass the light on until all was bright.
As as student some years ago, and now as campus pastor, I see how this precious tradition has grown; how new faces now bear that same light that continues to shine in the darkness. Now I too receive the flame, watch it grow, and pass it on. A smile crosses my face as I remember watching others doing the same years ago. I look up to that window in the Ad. Building, and I know my dad is there, still quietly watching, now lifting up my own children so they too can see the light that shines in the darkness.