JOE BUNKER

Members of our spiritual leadership, the Session (church board), have shared with the congregation their lived responses to the following two questions: “Where and how have I noticed God working in my life? and, What difference does it make that I am a Christian?” Two of them are featured below …

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One way I found God working in my life was through my friend Tom. Tom was paralyzed in a swimming accident at the age of 33 and continued to live in a V.A. hospital until he passed away 25 years later.

I made a personal commitment to visit him regularly — which I accomplished. For 25 years, I drove 250 miles round-trip once a month to visit with him. Somewhere, somehow, God gave me the strength and determination to keep it up.

Another way God works in my life is by providing spirituality through music. “Blest Be the Ties That Bind” at the end of our Passing of the Peace evokes an emotional response from me. My second wife, Sheila, always teased me about it — but God was providing a spiritual path between us. Sheila was a Catholic, and so for me this song promoted an understanding and appreciation for each other’s religious persuasion. We alternated between churches on Sundays until she passed away in February 2011.

God has been working in my life through BPC when I’ve been willing to participate in church life through the Session, the Diaconate, coaching sports teams, and through care for Sylvia (my first wife) and Sheila in their final days.

I’ve been a member of BPC 65 years. I joined with my parents and sister in 1947. I have been told I’m the longest continuing member. To which your reply should be, “So what?”

My first wife Sylvia and I were married here. Our daughter was married here. Our four grandchildren were baptized here. Our son was married at home by a BPC pastor.

Last fall, the Nominating Committee asked to nominate me to fill a one-year vacancy on the Session. As was made very clear, it was for one year. I presumed they did not want to exceed my life expectancy.

I thought about it and actually prayed about it. I asked God in my prayers if I should do it. I’ve been deacon, elder, property chairman, and have served on a pastor search committee, the personnel committee, etc. Why me? At 85, haven’t I done enough? The word came back, “Yeah, Joe, you’ve done all that. But what have you done for me lately?”

I feel my relationship with God is a Father/son relationship. I believe we are all called to stay involved in our church.