The public is invited to attend the fourth season opening program of the Health & Spirituality community series on September 12 at LaPorte New Church Swedenborgian, 812 Indiana Avenue. This season's theme of "Heaven and Hell" will be held on second Wednesdays of the month from September through May, 5:30-7:00 p.m.. The new pastor of the New Church, Rev. Kit Billings, will share his own insights, questions, and wonderments on this vast topic as well as offering opportunities for others to share theirs.
Participants from past programs offered their interest in these topic ideas for this series: the afterlife; salvation, faith and grace; what living a good life is; having faith when others around you don't; and the Golden Rule among all religions, thus the theme of Heaven and Hell. The New Church believes that heaven and hell are states of being, and that people align themselves to these states by how much they love God, love the neighbor, and are of service in the world. God has given us each the freedom to choose our thoughts, intentions, and actions; consequently we have free will to make our own choices about how we align ourselves.
According to Emanuel Swedenborg, God is love itself and intends everyone to go to heaven. Even here on earth, we can taste the nature of heaven as we experience joy in our loving relationships and when we do useful things with the intention of serving the greater good. Thus heaven is much like an ideal form of earthly life: "On earth as it is in heaven." That was God's purpose for creation. Thus, God is never angry, Swedenborg says, and does not cast anyone into Hell. So who sends people to Heaven or Hell? Nobody but themselves.
Everyone is welcome to come, listen, and share thoughts and experiences on this topic. Open and informal discussion is welcomed with every presentation. Admission is free, and refreshments will be served. Donations are welcome.
For more information on this monthly series or about LaPorte New Church, Manna House, and their other programs, call (219) 362-1959