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Theme for the Month: Bearing Fruit "My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples." John 15:8

 

Our Christmas Celebrations at Tubagere, and the journey, helped me to think of the word which has been added to our everyday dictionary, "distance." People were finding it so difficult to maintain distance between each other, and it was difficult for us to enforce it. Close living and a new relationship as a community of faith, was visible in all the celebrations and life as a community. The essence of the celebration was the idea of "Abiding", which essentially means wholeness in relationship, the one what endures and not momentary. To abide is to be present with someone, and binds our relationship with God and each other, which is closely related to the theme, 'Bearing fruit.'

On the way back from Doddabalapur, our journey helped me to think of the imagery of the Vine and the Vine grower in John Ch. 15:1-11. We know that villages around Dodballapur and Chickballapur are known for Vineyards.

Let me begin with one of my favourite stories from Fr. Tony de Mello, from, The Prayer of the Frog (vol. 1), which sets the tone for our theme this month, as we look forward to a year filled with promise, hope and courage.

A woman dreamt that she walked into a brand new shop in the marketplace, and to her surprise, found God behind the counter. "What do you sell here?" She asked. "Everything your heart desires," said God. Hardly daring to believe what she was hearing, the woman decided to ask for the best things a human being could wish for. "I want peace of mind and love and happiness and wisdom and freedom from fear," she said. Then as an afterthought she added, "Not just for me. For everyone on earth."

God smiled, "I think you've got me wrong, my dear," He said. "We don't sell fruits here. Only seeds."

The Community of faith is vividly depicted in the image of the Vine and the branches (John 15:1-17), and the aspect of abiding is closely connected with bearing fruit. The way the branches are connected to the stalk of the Vine is a description of believers abiding in Jesus Christ. We are observing distance to help each other, but we miss our moments of fellowship and intimacy. But God does not want the same in terms of our relationship with Him in Jesus Christ. We thank God for helping us to bear fruit as a community, and here are some aspects to thank God for:

Worship Services, Advent Programs:
We have continued to receive positive participation from believers both in the church and online services. Each time it has beaten our expectations and helped us to rediscover faith in the life of several of them who decided to participate in the worship services. We had to make changes in view of the Government norms and advisory, but it was a prayerful decision, and it did help everyone. Our digital up-gradation is almost complete with the initial trial-and-error. Thanks to the Team that has put in many hours of work and continue to do so. In addition, each of the ministries coordinated special services and programs that was creative, and facilitated sharing of compassion.

Asset Addition and Property Matters:
The Leadership Team is constantly helping to enhance and add to our assets. New carpets have been added, and if you have observed, we have our own serial lights that lit up our church during Christmas, thus we save a lot on rentals each year. We are working closely to add lights to the Stained Glass Window, and looking of professional help. The old Generator has been installed behind the Parish Hall to support uninterrupted power supply in the Parish Hall and Church Office.

Mission Field at Tubagere, Dodballapur:
The work towards the process of purchasing the land for the construction of church at Tubagere is progressing, and we are waiting for legal documents as a first step.

St. Andrew's School, Siddapura:
The completion and blessing of the renovated and improved Infrastructure at our School, supported by the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Program is very encouraging, and we look forward to be part of any CSR initiative in the future. Our Staff Team is doing well and facilitating learning in the changed context.

St. Andrew's Centre for Learning and St. Andrew's Career Hub:
We are set to begin the classes and become a Hub for Learning and Career, which is facilitated by the Education and Professional Network Committee (EPNC). It is our prayer that this vision will expand to help people and support the work of St. Andrew's School. It may be good to think of endowments in memory of our dear ones, to support different streams of Scholarship. Education is empowerment, and we must step up to support our children.

Partnership with CSI Bethany Ashram, Channapatna:
The Care for Elderly Ministry has extended the work among the elderly at CSI Bethany Ashram, Channapatna. It is our hope that their involvement will help in making the life of the elders there, better.

Reports from the other ministries of our church will follow later in this Newsletter.

We thank each one of you for your continued prayer and support. It is indeed very encouraging.

Let this year be a 'Fruitful Year', which is possible because we abide in Him.

May God bless you

Your Presbyter
Rev. Dr. Dexter S. Maben
 
 
   
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