Soon after I went through a divorce, when my children were still little, I came to a realization. There’s really no such thing as a single parent. You can’t do it alone. Other caregivers, other loving adults, be they family, friends, teachers, mentors all have a vital role to play. In other words, it takes a village – a community. And I’m forever grateful for the community of care that helped to raise my children, and helped me through.
And the resource that week by week steadied me and demonstrated unconditional love for my children was the community of church. It was church that brought my children the amazing experience of being known and loved by a wide diversity of people unrelated to them, who became part of an extended family they knew as church. Ginny their church school teacher who holds a special place of affection. The camping trips with the “Deckers” – the group of young families from church. Gertrude, then in her eighties, who took me and my kids out to breakfast regularly, and made them laugh with stories from her childhood, and shared with them her own experiences of fear and sadness, and even some relief, when her parents separated. Loris, the confirmation mentor for my daughter who formed a special bond and kept in touch when Erin went through a very difficult time in high school. A lot of prayers, a lot of love, and a church family made all the difference. And not just my children, but me too – I’m so grateful for the spiritual study groups, the pastoral counseling, the centering of worship and the camaraderie of such a vibrant intergenerational community that inspired and challenged, loved and supported me through, and gave me a place to heal and move on with confidence and faith.
Community. It’s at the top of the list when you ask me, Why Church? Community-the body of Christ made real in the whole motley crew, bound together by love and promise, Why Church? It’s our provocative theme for this fall, one that invites conversations that will, I hope, enlighten, inspire and challenge us. Especially in times like these, when more than ever we’re called to “Be the Church” steadfast in love, building inclusive community shaped by justice and peace. Why Church?
Eager for your response!
Love and faith,
From Ladera Life – September 2017