Tuesday, 19 October 2010

What is a community?

I have been away for two weeks with my sister who lives in Australia - we did not grow up together as our connection is through my father who lived with his second family many miles away leaving the UK for good when my sister was 14. We have re-established our family link over the last ten years. I have been to Australia several times and on two occasions stayed with her and this is the second time that she has visited me. This time we had a 12-day tour around the country - almost 24-hours a day with each other and it was all very easy. The biology of our shared genes shows up when we think the same thoughts and like the same food - and our differences reflect our uniqueness, our different genes and our different experiences.

I love having a sister, having grown up with a clutch of brothers (brother, half-brother and step-brothers). My half-brother whose father was my step-father shares no blood with my sister but they consider themselves related. They have never lived together indeed they have only seen each other twice but they connect via Facebook. My sister's mother died several years ago and she is very fond of my mother so is adopting her as a surrogate Mum. When my Dad (step-father) was alive my sister and her daughter visited my Mum and Dad and he behaved like a Dad and a Grandad towards them.

As an aside my daughter has a cousin who is my step-brother's step-son's step-daughter - we can decide ourselves to make relationships meaningful and recognise that love is more important than blood.

So with thoughts in my mind about what a family is, I am reminded and return to the beginning to reflect again on what a community is. Do we have to share a theology? Do we have to share experiences of a Sunday service? Do we need to share personality traits? Or do we just meet in the middle in a bit of a mess - being happy to be within this thing that we call a Unitarian community - moved by the feeling that love is more important than theology.

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