An intentional community-in-unity, unity-in-community
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A ‘Trinitarian vision of God helps us imagine a relational one-anotherness, community-in-unity, unity-in-community, being-in-interbeing, where benevolence toward the other is at home and hostility toward the other is foreign, invasive out of place’McLaren B. D., 2012. Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?: Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World
Over the last few months Soul Action’s staff team, and the leaders that relate to one another as part of Soul Action, have been considering how the Godhead consistently ‘makes room for’ the other, and how – as God’s image bearers in the world – we are created to practice inclusive relationships.
…and so, when Phil and Rachel Bowyer had the opportunity to spend time in Washington DC recently, they made a choice to explore what it meant to be part of an intentional community by spending five days living with a group of young adults in Brookland. The Franciscan community at Casa San Salvador have committed – as a group – to create and maintain ‘…an environment focused on learning, respect, support and faith development’.
Rachel shares how, ‘Phil and I both wanted to make the most of the opportunity and learn as much as possible so we participated in all aspects of community life. We ate evening meals with the group, washed dishes, chatted, prayed, cooked a meal, visited a school where one of the ladies from the community worked and Phil joined the group in going to a baseball game.’ The community intentionally practiced inclusion, with community meals, by praying together, through fellowship, reflection, social activities and communal projects. The fact that no single person or family owned the house, and how everyone contributed equally to the food budget, led to a shared space where people felt a real sense of freedom to be part of a genuine community, a community where people could do life together. Deep conversations happened in a natural way, perspectives and assumptions were challenged, in a safe space, and people supported one another. The clear structure enabled community to flourish – respecting people’s needs for their own ‘space’ alongside spending time together.
“The experience has deepened and expanded our thinking on what it means to be ‘inclusive’, giving us a desire to explore what an intentional community could look like in Durban.”