Tribune Print Share Text

‘Tis the season for faith

Opportunities abound for spiritual growth at Highland Springs

Created date

November 20th, 2014
residents gathered around for bible study

Maureen Dobbins and her husband Terry are Baptists, but they worship alongside believers from a number of faith traditions at Springs, the Erickson Living community in North Dallas where they live.

“I find it so encouraging that our weekly chapel service brings people together to worship,” says Maureen. “It doesn’t matter what denomination we come from.”

Highland Springs is a unique mix of residents from various backgrounds, including Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Mormons, and those who are still searching.

“We have a number of faith backgrounds represented at Highland Springs,” says Pastoral Ministries Coordinator Jamie Bruning. “What makes this community special is the way our residents interact and learn from each other.”

Multi-faith dialogue club

Maureen and Terry moved to Highland Springs in May 2011. The friendly residents and staff, the on-site medical center, and the ability to travel between buildings without having to go outside were all deciding factors.

“What we didn’t foresee were the rich spiritual opportunities at Highland Springs,” says Maureen. “I’ve learned so much from other residents that I wouldn’t have known otherwise.”

When the Multi-Faith Dialogue Club formed at Highland Springs in early 2013, Maureen was quick to sign up.

“The Multi-Faith Dialogue Club allows each of us to share our faith journey for the purpose of understanding,” says Maureen. “No one challenges another’s beliefs. We just listen.”

As residents open up about their spiritual heritages, walls come down and bridges take their place.

“The club has broken down a lot of barriers,” says Maureen. “It’s a fascinating opportunity. Everybody is very curious as to what other people believe. In the context of this club, we have the freedom to share and learn from each other.”

Abundant offerings

At Highland Springs, the Multi-Faith Dialogue Club is just one avenue for spiritual growth.

“Many of our residents continue to worship at the churches and synagogues they attended before they moved to Highland Springs,” says Bruning. “For them, the Bible studies, church services, and religious observances we offer at Highland Springs provide another avenue for spiritual growth.”

And for those who opt to engage fully in the religious offerings at Highland Springs, there are plenty of choices.

“We offer the Tuesday evening ecumenical service,” says Bruning. “Local clergy take turns preaching at the service. We also offer several monthly events, including Catholic communion with Deacon Ed Putonti from St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church and Episcopal communion with Fr. Scott McComas from St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. We host a Shabbat dinner once a month for our Jewish residents, along with ‘Torah Talk’ facilitated by Rabbi Howard Wolk from Jewish Family Services.”

Three weekly Bible studies, a contemplative Bible study led by Bruning, a study of Acts led by resident George Field, and a Precept class led by Maureen, provide opportunity for regular study and spiritual growth.

More time for what matters

Maureen, who’s been teaching Precept inductive Bible study classes since 1989, says she cherishes the opportunity to lead a Precept class at Highland Springs.

“An inductive Bible study involves observing the facts and reasoning through to a conclusion,” she says. “We use three steps—observation, interpretation, and application—to determine how the passage applies to each of us.”

Maureen says the personal growth she’s experienced and the relationships she’s formed through the Bible study are top priorities since moving to Highland Springs.

“This is what I’m called to do,” she says. “Now that I don’t have to worry about keeping up my house or preparing meals, I have more time to devote to the Bible study. It’s my hope that residents will come hungry to share and learn and grow.”