Kathleen Norris made this comment about a particular community – the church. “The church is the place where all should be made to feel at home, educated or not, wealthy or poor — all just ordinary, flawed people who gather because they need to be reminded that God made us and accepts us and loves us and wants us to share that love with others.”
What? You want a place for people to just drink coffee and chat with each other during Christian Education hour on Sunday morning? I had missed the point back then, that community is not necessarily established by just sitting in a class together during that hour. It requires time and effort for many people to establish a community that matters to them within the church. So, connecting with people around the coffee pot on Sunday morning can be just as important as the learning taking place in a classroom on Sunday morning! Connecting – that’s what people should do in a church community!
Moving to a new city where I did not know anyone except my family, forced me to think about what type of community I wanted to be part of. After almost nine months I have begun the process of becoming part of several communities. I see that it will take time and work, but I have already been blessed with new friends that value the concept of “community” in a similar way as Kathleen suggests.
I mourn the loss of several communities in the city I left behind – the Women’s Bible Study group, my knitting group, and the Saturday Breakfast Bunch. And most important, the church body with which I worshipped. So, it was one of my top priorities to find a new church and establish myself in a new “community.” I am also finding “community” in special interest groups at the retirement community in which I live.
At some points in my life I am not sure what I would have done without “community.” The experience of an entire church community surrounding me with care plus action when my child was hospitalized and no family members were nearby to care for the other child. I will never forget what “community” did for my family during this difficult time. I want to be a responsible and active member of a community that cares for people in this way.