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Last updated November 24.

Feb. 16, 2009 issue

Gifts and commitments

Southside Fellowship, Elkhart, Ind.

By B. Harry Dyck

Our worship provided much opportunity to reflect on the traditional Gospel stories of Advent. Advent points to a new beginning, it connotes hope, implies preparation and anticipates the opportunity of a redirection. Life in ancient times was generally seen as cyclical and repetitious, but the Gospels indicate life is more correctly envisioned as linear, having purpose whereby one may journey from a seeming spiritual darkness and despair towards a life of joy and purpose.

About 35 enthusiasts from both within and beyond Southside gathered Dec. 30 for the annual reading of W.H. Auden’s Christmas Oratorio.

Adult Christian education is studying the book, The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman. The author proposes that there are various ways in which we show love to those for whom we care, but our best endeavors may mean more to ourselves than to the ones we try to love. Gwen Preheim Bartel is providing leadership to the class.

On Jan. 11, we gathered in small groups for gift discernment. It was a time when we sought to identify those among us who were cited for manifesting gifts particularly suited to further the work of the congregation. The time together provided opportunity for individuals to be invited to serve, and also for individuals to be recognized for the services they have already given.

Our Commitment Sunday was held Feb. 1, starting with a shared breakfast and worship in the AMBS Lambright Center. Adherents affirmed the relevance of SSF for their own faith journey. An extra large matting around a picture painted by artist Chad Friesen served for adherents to sign indicating their desire to walk in faith with SSF in 2009.

A loose-leaf book, “Memories of 2008,” comprised of material written by SSF members and friends, was presented to the Fellowship. It serves as a unique record of memories that SSF friends had of 2008.

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