The word cloud above was generated following the Annual Meeting last Sunday from parishioners’ answers to the question – “What word or short phrase represents what you value about All Saints’?” There were wonderful responses, but the most frequent was “community.”
The people of All Saints’ value relationships that bring us together in one community of faith. While the pandemic disrupted how we experienced those relationships, we found new ways to continue to develop and deepen relationships through small groups, Neighborhood Church, and “old school” phone calls.
God shapes and changes us in Christian community, in the space God creates to encounter God who is community: a trinity of persons, united in one being by love. It is not easy to be in community. People have different experiences, perspectives, and opinions. The New Testament tells stories of the first Christian communities and all of them include not only blessings but also challenges and conflict. The Triune God gives us the strength and courage to continue to do the work of loving one another in community.
The opening of the Lockhart Child Development Center established a new “community” within our walls. God is calling us to use everything we already know, all the gifts God has already given us, to engage this new opportunity of community to grow in grace and love.
“Community” also points to All Saints’ deep engagement with the communities in which we are located, in our neighborhoods, towns, cities, and Cabarrus County. Our long history of caring for neighbors in need, providing assistance to people in crisis, and creating organizations to address systemic issues is another way community is important to All Saints’. CCM, CVAN, Night Shelter, Habitat, Meals on Wheels, the Community Free Clinic, Wesbury Housing, Cabarrus Partnership for Children, Early Childhood Foundation of Cabarrus County, and Racial Equity Cabarrus, are just a few of the ways All Saints’ invests in the life of our wider community.
At the Annual Meeting, we were introduced to Koinonia. Koinonia is a Greek word which means community. Over the next year, through the Koinonia process, All Saints’ will learn more about ourselves and the wider community as we discern where God is leading us to make a difference in community as a community.
Our faith community has been through many challenges and changes in its history. The pandemic added a new chapter to the ways we understand and experience Christian community. Thankfully, God’s constant love never changes.
I am grateful that we will once again be able to gather in-person in community for worship this Sunday, February 6 at both 9 AM and 11:10 AM. The adventure of our faith community continues!