Wednesday, 11 August 2010
Community Development Models
Because community development covers a whole range of ideas it is difficult to get a handle on some of the models but I will mention a few over the next few postings.
The first is one that I used when talking with my community about how to develop a sense of belonging to develop a sense of community.
The diagram come from a PhD thesis by Alastair Iain McIntosh which looks at liberation theology and community empowerment in land reform. But it speaks to me of community development in many arenas.
This diagram gives us plenty to think about and echoes much of what has been written about growth for example about agreeing our identity as a faith community, by discussing and living common values and by actively participating in social action, within and without.
But perhaps we don't talk so much about grounding and about place. Alastair writes this about place, it is "the synthesis of nature and culture, a very human, warm, sense of the context of belonging". There is so much written about the physical enviroment and how it impacts on human behaviour. We understand how people when forced to live away from home feel rootless and dispossessed. And many of us spend many hours cleaning, repairing and renovating our spaces because that's what we do, rather than perhaps more purposefully because this space matters as it is where our spiritual life as a community is grounded.
When I am alone in our Meeting House I usually slip into the chapel, if just for a moment, to express my love for and gratitude to the building. Whilst I believe that our lives as they are lived in their entirety are spiritual and we do not only have spiritual experiences in sacred buildings, there is something reassuring to have a beloved space which is shared with my own beloved community.