Thursday, 15 July 2010

Community or congregation?

Some may have seen this before as I put it into the last Associate Newsletter. I have also let others see it. It is important that the language that we use to describe our spiritual communities reflects what they truly are and to do this we need to reflect on our language and use it mindfully.

In faith or religious organisations we may refer to a congregation which literally means to herd or to flock together. This suggests that those people being referred to are those who ‘herd together’ at a service. The word community means (from its Latin root) ‘sharing in common’ and from its Greek it means ‘fellowship’. This suggests a broader definition and includes people who may not be there at services but sharing something else in common and suggests a meaningful link between individuals rather than just sharing a worship space.

This blog is about community development rather than just congregation development. A faith community may hold a congregation within in it but it may also contain broader connections outside of the congregation and want to develop the connections within - that is between community members. The members of the General Assembly (of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches) are also a community and therefore open to being developed.

Essentially the development of spiritual communities is about the development of individual relationships where the reason for developing these relationships is the desire to enhance spiritual connectedness.

1 comment:

  1. Yes I also prefer community to congregation. To me, being in a congregation implies being a sheep, whereas I am definitely a goat, er, individual, as well as a member of a community.