Belonging vs Membership: what does it mean to be part of SCF?
A few months ago, the Parish Council switched up its format a little. We began including a time of learning and visioning as part of our meeting, and, for me, these have been the highlights of our gatherings. It's been exciting to hear about our hopes, and imagining how we might live out our theology in this new season of our life together. This month it occurred to me that you all need to be part of this conversation too (if that seems obvious, well...I'm a little slow sometimes), so I'm going to start sharing these resources so that we can begin meditating on and thinking about these things together.
This month's article, from a coaching organization called Convergence, is about how we understand and communicate what it means to be part of a faith community, especially to folks who are of different generations or who don't have experience in churches. I brought it to the meeting because I think we're doing a lot of these things right.
I think we all have a shared sense that being part of this community is different in important ways, and that we are stronger as a body of people with diverse viewpoints. I think we are proud of the community we've built that can hold such diversity with a love and acceptance that doesn't seek uniformity. We see this most visibly in our Eucharistic practice, but in true sacramental nature, this sign is only one aspect of our openness to the presence of God moving through all people.
As I've talked to folks over the last several months, many of us feel like we're on the cusp of some kind of breakthrough--that the unique way we understand what it means to be a community and a people of faith is needed now more than ever--but we feel a little stumped on how to find the people who need our perspective. Our efforts to be more physically present in the community around us (like at Tower Grove Pride and the upcoming Webster Housing Justice meeting) are part of that seeking.
In the coming months I'd like to begin exploring how we communicate more effectively about who we are in positive ways (as opposed to communicating who we are not like). Instead of saying things like, "We aren't like Roman Catholics who...", what can we say about who we are? Because we are so much that the world needs. We are pro women. We are pro queer folks. We are pro science. We are pro immigrants. We are pro choice. We are pro poor people. We are pro community. How do we tell the good news of that story to people looking for a spiritual home? And how might we describe what it means to belong to that kind of tradition? I hope you'll join me in wrestling with these good questions.