I would like to share today about this dear pastor’s wife, Helen Barth, who influenced my life and was used ultimately, as an instrument, to win my parents to Christ.
PART ONE – HELEN BARTH
When I was just a young child my sister and I attended the Calvary Bible Church in Dowagiac, MI. I vaguely recall attending a children’s weekday Bible club that Rev. Reinhold Barth and his wife Helen, (who started the church) were conducting.
When my parents moved to Indiana my sister and I attended a VBS sponsored by the Bertrand Bible Church in Niles, MI. They met in a huge tent just in sight of our home on the Indiana State Line. This was where we came to know Christ as our personal Saviour. During the time we lived there my parents divorced and my mother took us to live again in Dowagiac. There at Calvary Bible Church, my mother and dad got right with the LORD, there I was baptized and there, Ken and I were married.
Helen Lillian McAlerney, was born on November 3, 1918, in Moline, Illinois and On May 20, 1944, she married Rev. Reinhold Alexander Barth, at Moody Church, in Chicago, IL, with over 1,750 guests in attendance.
She is survived by, 3 children, including 2 sons, Dr. Timothy (Bona) Barth, of Ann Arbor, MI, and Stephen Marc, of Atlanta, Georgia; one daughter Sharon Schaubert, and three grandchildren of Bristol.
From Helen’s earliest memories, she loved to sing as a preschooler, and often sang along with the old family Victrola. Helen Barth started her musical career as a Blues singer in a dance orchestra, providing entertainment in minstrel shows through the YWCA. During those years her chief passion was working with children who aimlessly wandered the city streets. In her free time, she would teach them Bible stories, sing songs with them, and provide them with craft activities. Desiring to go full time with the YWCA, went to Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL, where she became a Christian Education student in1939. During freshmen orientation, she heard young ladies share their testimonies of how they had come to know Christ as their personal Savior. God spoke to her heart through their vibrant testimonies and, for the first time, she realized the weight of her own sin and her need to know Christ’s forgiveness and cleansing. A few nights later, she knelt by her bed, confessed her sin and, by grace through faith, received Christ as her personal Savior.
She said, ”The Lord gave me a new song; a song of peace and praise.” From that time on, she devoted her mellow contralto voice to communicate the Gospel of Christ through sacred song, a ministry which on six occasions took her to many European countries, as well as coast to coast in the United States and Canada.
While at Moody Bible Institute, she sang with an ensemble over WMBI, their Flagship station, and was later asked to join WMBI as a staff soloist. She continued following her graduation from Moody in 1942. All of the programs were broadcast live and Helen had several 15-minute solo-time programs, as did George Beverly Shea, also sang songs by request on the Shut-In Hour and the Birthday Hour. (to be cont.)