The musical worship ensemble will perform songs and dramas about love this year.

Parables, Goshen College’s traveling worship ensemble, is kicking off its performance series for the year.

The small ensemble, made up of current Goshen College students, performs primarily during Sunday morning church services in the Northern Indiana area. Parables has been rehearsing weekly for these performances since mid-August.

Each performance includes music, drama and personal faith stories – all related to this year’s theme: love God with all your heart, soul, mind, strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. Parables has chosen to highlight the self-love portion of this theme.

Andrew Pauls, a sophomore, when asked about the theme, said, “We think it [the emphasis on self-love] is something that is often overlooked. To love God, to love others as yourself, you have to first love yourself.”

This year, Parables consists of eight students: Alisa Murray, a senior music education major; Morgan Short, a sophomore environmental science major; Cara Paden, a senior music major and psychology minor; Matt Wimmer, a junior music education major; Pauls, a music education major; Ben Ganger, a junior music performance major; Miranda Earnhart, a junior music education major; and Karsten Hess, a senior interdisciplinary major.

“I think if you even changed one member of this group out, it would really change the feel of the entire program,” Ganger said. “It’s so small, and Parables creates the program in a sense- as far as we choose the order of the songs, we write our own dramas and so there’s this little bit of each of us in the program and if you didn’t have that there it’d be so much different.”

Primarily, Parables is student-run. Dr. Debra Brubaker, professor of music, helps them get started by picking out music and guiding the first week of rehearsal. From there, the ensemble operates independently. All of the dramas are original works written by the members.

Returning members decided to audition again because of the music and the people.

Earnhart, participating in Parables for a second time, states, “Music is a way to connect with people spiritually, other than just reading from the Bible. It’s a different way that people can experience the power of God.”

Ganger, also returning to the group, said, “I really like the chance to connect with a small group of people and work on that connection over an entire year on the same program.”

This year, Parables aims to provoke thought within the congregations they perform for. They hope to remind congregations that every story is important and none should be overlooked.

“These aren’t just stories you can pass by,” Murray said.

The first Parables performance is at Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship on Sunday, Sept. 28 at 9:30 a.m.