Weekly Inspirational Reflections from the Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles
September 2, 2020
When I received my first call, to the First Presbyterian Church of South Bend in Indiana, many of my Pennsylvania friends expressed surprise. Specifically, they found the location surprising. Indeed, they said, “You mean there really are Presbyterians in South Bend?” They asked that question because, of course, Notre Dame is in South Bend; so the assumption that the city itself is all Roman Catholic would not be unreasonable. Even so, there are actually five different Presbyterian congregations in South Bend. In addition to the one that I served, not too far away was another congregation called Sunnyside Presbyterian Church. The name fascinated me because, being a native Pittsburgh Presbyterian, I was well aware of our church, Shadyside Presbyterian Church. We all know the origins of its name – that it was named for Thomas Aiken’s farm, which led to the name of the railroad station stop, which was just at the foot of Amberson Avenue until the 1950s. That very same railroad station provided our congregation’s first home.
South Bend’s Sunnyside Presbyterian Church got its name because it was located east of First Presbyterian Church on the east side of the Saint Joseph River – on what was considered the sunny side of town, because it is on the side of town where the sun comes up. Like our own church, it is a warm and wonderful congregation, and, knowing about both churches through most of my ministry, I always found it a good reminder that, whether we are experiencing a day on the Shadyside or the Sunnyside, God is with us. Sometimes God calls us to come and rest in the shade, and experience the renewal God gives us there. And other times God asks us to step into the sunshine, to go as God directs. We need both in our lives, in order to thrive as Christians. Sunnyside or Shadyside, today stay close to God’s side.
The Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles
Interim Senior Pastor, Shadyside Presbyterian Church
About Dr. Dalles
Read more about Dr. Dalles.
Watch a brief video introducing a series of conversations with Dr. Dalles.
About By God’s Side
Shadyside Presbyterian Church publishes By God’s Side, a weekly series of inspirational reflections from the Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles, to support you in your spiritual journey. These pastoral messages appear in the blog section of the church website each week. (Our weekly e-newsletter includes an excerpt to remind you to read along with us regularly; click here to subscribe to the e-newsletter if you do not already receive it.) We hope this regular feature will help you to draw closer to God’s side in your life of faith.
Read more reflections by Dr. Dalles from By God’s Side.