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Layity Reflection: A New Friendship Begins

March 14, 2014
Northern-Sun Print
What is it that draws us to other people and makes friendship so special? The Bible says our deeply-rooted caring for one another comes from the love God has given us. That love shows itself and develops in many different ways, but the origin is only possible because God first loved us as we read in 1 John 4:7-11. “7 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born again because of what God has done. That person knows God.” 8Anyone who does not love, does not know God, because God is love. 9How did God show his love for us? He sent his one and only Son into the world. He sent him so we could receive life through him. 10What is love? It is not that we loved God. It is that he loved us and sent his Son to give his life to pay for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we should also love one another. “ 1 John 4:7-11 And we read in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one that this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. We Love Because God First Loved Us A new way of showing that love in supporting friends in our community is about to begin. A cluster of churches from this area including the Gladbrook United Methodist and Peace United Church of Christ along with the Traer United Methodist Church have formed a group called “Friends of Encouragement”. It will enable us to be more responsive listeners to those going through a difficult time. The organization providing support and training for our cluster is the BeFriender Ministry organization, whose national office is in Bloomington, MN. A team of four individuals will take training next week in Cedar Falls at the American Martyrs Retreat House. They will provide leadership and training as they come back to this area and train other lay volunteers to become “BeFrienders”. BeFrienders will provide a listening presence for anyone experiencing many of life’s’ trials including cancer or chronic illness, addiction, Alzheimer’s or other dementias, post-partum depression, stress of becoming a caregiver, death of a loved one, loneliness, divorce, blending families, parenting challenges, relocation, job loss and many other situations. The BeFriender Ministry brings pastoral care by trained laypersons who follow these principles: active listening, nonjudgmental presence and caring not curing, all the while knowing God is present in the ongoing relationship. The lay BeFrienders are carefully selected by the leadership team and after taking local training, will be paired with a person in need of a friend who can listen and show they care. These BeFrienders also experience a growing in faith and meet regularly for “Making Meaning” training as they practice the skills they use and discover how their experiences can draw them nearer to God. If you also have a passion for helping others and would be interested in knowing more about participating in future local training, contact me or any of the churches mentioned above for additional information. As the cluster leadership returns from their training, they will be getting more information out to you. Written to God’s honor and glory, Carolyn Moe Graduate, School for Lay Ministry


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