The Barn Community – Our Story

As the world entered into a new millennium in the early 2000s, Pastor Sue entered into a new journey of her own. A journey where she sought to listen to how people understood – and discussed – the Christian faith, the Church, God, spirituality, faith groups, community, and relationships with God.

She carefully, and heartfully, listened to a wide variety of voices. People who spent their entire life in churches. Individuals who named their faith or spirituality as a central part of their life. People who attended church every week, people who attended semi-regularly, and people who rarely attended. She talked to folks who considered themselves spiritual, but not religious, and people who did not wish to belong to any organized religion. She listened to individuals who questioned the reason for churches, and some who questioned the existence of a Divine presence.

the-barn-church-allentown-our-storyHer journey led her into a movement that would eventually lead to the creation of The Barn. It began in one home. It was a place for the conversations to continue. It was a place where a diverse group of people could come together in a sacred space that encouraged and welcomed questioning, exploration, creativity, loving relationships, open communication, various opinions, and mutual respect. It was a purposeful invitation for people who were open to God to come into an exploration of God in a welcoming place. Into a safe place where people could disagree in love, where all people were valued as a child of God, where perspectives and worldviews were viewed with mutual respect, where everyone was encouraged to be both a teacher and a learner, and a place where all were encouraged to be genuine, creative, expressive, and active participants.

Soon another group came together in a second home, and then a third followed shortly after. It was clear that the presence of the Holy Spirit was moving among them and, in 2005, the three groups decided to come together as one, intentional group. As people discussed the physical spaces where they could gather, one person asked “What happens if we become too big for those spaces?” and another person replied: “Then we’ll come together – as many in our communities have done – and we’ll build ourselves a barn.” The Barn was born…a symbol of a community rising together in relationship with one another as they lovingly create. A symbol that allows a community to create unencumbered by building or perceptions alone, but also allows for fresh ways of encountering God. A historical symbol that reminds us how God touches the land, the earth, and all that comes from Creation.

Since it’s beginnings, The Barn has grown into a diverse community that embodies hospitality and an extravagant welcome for all of God’s children. It has built bridges and sacred relationships with members of other faith groups including Jewish, Muslim and Sikh communities. It has become a place where all can gather to worship and honor God, where people can come and go as they are called by God, where all are invited to creatively participate and question, and a place where all are encouraged to think and to live out their faith on a daily basis.

Today The Barn looks towards a new, emerging, evolving future that includes contemplation of the “not yet future church.” It is a group of people who are thoughtfully considering the future of Christendom. It involves a new community called Blank Slate: another initiative that meets in a home and seeks to emerge as a future community. It also involves a potential Not-for-Profit Community Pub: a place currently being envisioned by a vision team. A place where people can gather for food, beverages, theological conversation, community, and hospitality. It would be a place for people to gather together to feed their souls and to have their thirst for community fulfilled. Its purposes, if it succeeds: Eat. Drink. Talk about things that matter.