Finding Happiness and Fighting Loneliness through Community

September 9th, 2013

As we continue our year- long emphasis on the theme of hospitality, our Council has been reading the book The Welcoming Congregation. At our August meeting  we discussed the increase of loneliness in our society. 
As author Henry Brinton points out, “….Americans have become more isolated and lonely in recent years. When a 1985 survey asked, ‘How many confidants do you have?’ the most frequent response was three. When the question was asked again in the year 2004, the answer was zero.” Another article I recently read reveals that social isolation doesn’t just affect us emotionally but physically as well. It impairs our immune function and boosts inflammation which can lead not only to disease but to premature death. As the title of the article put it, “Loneliness Can Kill You. Don’t Let It.”As Christians we have a wonderful antidote to loneliness called church.

Within the church we have this community of faith whereby we call each other by name and support one another in mutual love. We come together every week to pray for one another, to share a meal around Christ’s table and to visit informally after worship. Yet true hospitality goes even further by offering small groups where people can connect in deep and meaningful ways. Currently we offer on-going and one time gatherings for people to join in smaller groups with others for:

 

·         Sunday School 

·         Middle school and high school youth ministry

·         Choir

·         Women’s Bible Study

·         Prayer group

·         Community service such as “God’s work. Our Hands” and the  “Walk to end Poverty”

Could we do more? Absolutely! Plans are now underway for small group gatherings in October to learn more about our mission and vision as a congregation and how we might each support our ministry with our resources. In addition this month we start a 4-part series on “homosexuality and the welcoming church” on Wednesday nights.
And there will be a “Blessing of the Pets” on Oct. 6th, bringing together owners and their animal companions to ask for God’s favor.As a welcoming congregation we can literally be a life-giving community that combats loneliness, by creating opportunities for people to connect with one God and one another to form bonds of friendship.

May God bring us together in mutual love as we open our doors in hospitality to others.

Pastor Gretchen Bingea