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By Rose Suchy

Have you ever gotten a gift from someone and not opened it? Most of us are very excited and anxious to open any gift that we receive. We are all given special gifts from God at our baptism that are called charisms. Many people go through their lives not using their God-given gifts. I discovered my charisms through the Called & Gifted program from the Catherine of Siena Institute. The program describes the charisms and explains how they are revealed in our lives. After that, time is needed to experiment with the possible charisms to determine which ones may be feasible for you.


Having completed the program online during COVID, it was very difficult to experiment and discern which charisms I was gifted with while social distancing was required. Only after completing the Team Training, which equips one to help others to discern their gifts, was I able to discern my gifts. How did I discover my gifts? By paying attention to everyday occurrences and discovering patterns, as well as noticing my feelings during encounters with other people. Charisms are used for others, never for yourself and never for evil. While exercising a charism, you feel energized, time flies by, and it can feel like prayer because the Holy Spirit is working through you. Effectiveness is another indicator of a charism. Also, feedback from others, either directly or indirectly, helps you discern if you have a certain charism. Negative feedback is very helpful as well, because it helps to discern if a charism is not one of yours.


Two of my gifts are listening and encouragement; teaching could be another. One of my tasks at the parish is to call the parishioners who seldom leave their home and set up a date for the pastor to visit. One of these phone calls lasted over an hour! I simply listened to the person, who was crying when I called, but after she shared some of her concerns, she had stopped crying and shared some more. At one point she said, “We’ve been on the phone for an hour!” and proceeded to talk some more. She said she felt much better after our visit.


Grieving with Great Hope from is a program I use to help people who are dealing with grief because a loved one has died. We watch the videos, and people share their experiences with each other. During this program, I listen and encourage people to contribute to the conversation. The participants help each other by creating a safe place for sharing tears and feelings. The feedback participants have given me is amazing! They discover that grief is unique to each individual and that’s okay.


All of us were created by God to accomplish a certain mission on this earth. Discovering our charisms helps us to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ on earth, in addition to becoming who God created us to be!


If you are interested in participating in Called & Gifted, please contact Barbara Sutton at

The Rev. Angela Ford Nelson is an ordained elder in the UMC, a spiritual director, and a supervisor with the Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction program at Saint John's SOT/Sem. In this video she offers heartfelt encouragement to listeners as they follow the Spirit into experiences of mutual blessing. Her insights reflect perspectives as a business person, a pastor, and a person of steady prayer.

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