Community: an interacting population made up of various kinds of people.
Faith Community: an interacting population made up of various kinds of people who have a variety of gifts — all called to a common mission.
Community Spirit: an interactive population made up of various kinds of people working together to help improve the community they live in.
All of us are a part of a variety of distinct communities. These may be the community in which we live, the community of people we associate with, and yes the community of those with whom we share our faith journeys.
Faith communities can be a traditional congregational context, but they can also be schools, camps, retirement homes, house churches and even storefronts.
Faith communities always reside within the boundaries of other communities. These communities can be a neighborhoods or small towns. They can also be in the midst of college campuses or even in prisons.
Intentional or not, faith communities play a role in the larger communities where they find themselves. At a minimum, these two communities coexist — even if they have little-to-no interaction.
However, when the faith community make an intentional effort to engage the larger community, people often feel a strong sense of community spirit. More importantly, when the gifts of the faith community meet the needs in their larger community, God’s mission is engaged. It is through this engagement that transformation takes place for both communities.
And that is what we in the Episcopal Church in Minnesota are called to!