friends-community, communityPeople have always gathered together. Whether for protection from hostile forces or the ability to provide for one another. At times we gather out of necessity for the common good and at other times we gather to enjoy the pleasure of another’s company. There is something good about being in community with others. Friendships deepen, trust is formed and our quality of life improves.

I am convinced that people were created to live in community. To enjoy the bonds of friendship that create healthy and caring living environments. That deep within each of us is the desire to reach out and connect with another human being. Someone to express joy with, someone to share sorrow with.

A hymn that I enjoy is affectionately known as the Servant Song. It beings ‘Brother, sister, let me serve you.’ Whether we are aware of it or not service is something that we do when we are called into relationship with one another. When we reach out as a community of care, we serve one another. Through small seemingly inconsequential actions we serve the people we love and others who we may never meet. From doing the dishes, to gathering our neighbours leaves, to helping a stranger stuck on the road. Small acts of kindness are a form of service to one another.

Service to one another can also take the form of larger projects. The Soup Kitchens sponsored by Neighbourlink and hosted by Cobourg Churches provide a meal to those in need. However, a meal is not the only service provided. A bi-product of providing a meal is a safe place to enjoy it. When one or two gather to eat a community is created. Relationships are formed and individuals discover a network of support that was previously unknown to them.

Over the past few months the church community in Cobourg has drawn together to discuss community. We are all aware of the large humanitarian crisis that a multitude of wars has created. Media reports about refugees from a variety of countries have become common place. The question that has risen out of this crisis is as a community what can we do about it?

How does our church community which enjoys security and follows the example of Christ extend a hand of friendship to another individual who is unknown to us? From this question the Better Together Refugee Sponsorship initiative was started with the goal of bringing five refugee families to Canada.

There are a variety of ways to support this initiative including several benefit concerts. St. Andrew’s Presbyterian in Cobourg is happy to be hosting Matt Williams and Alyssa Morrissey on Saturday November 14. Money raised from the concert will go directly to assisting with the financial requirements needed to support the Better Together Refugee Sponsorship.

As a community working together we discover that we have much to give. As a community we discover that we are not powerless. Through prayer and action we be participate in an activity which will continue to strengthen our community.

* A Sense of Community was originally published in the Northumberland Today on October 29, 2015.