Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Scattered Wondering on "Community"

I notice that the idea of "community" has passed by me regularly and often this year.  I tend toward home-body-ness, and I do believe that we need to be home to home school.  (Soccer season *kills* me, and we don't even have separate practice and games yet).

I've been thinking about community quite a bit, actually.  We're active in our church, but the church property was chosen (so I understand) because it was pretty much central to the original membership as they were (and we are) spread about the city ... and we're about 30 minutes away.  Church friends who are local have moved away (Hi Tullys) and friends have moved here (Hi Mahers).  We would like to be part of our city, but aren't from here originally, don't work here, don't belong to church here, and don't have our children in the schools.  How do we become a part of the community?

This past weekend, Tara Barthel spoke at our Presbytery's Women's Retreat.  Can I just say, she was spectacular!?!?! She was speaking about, not surprisingly, Peacemaking Women.  And it was so good.  So encouraging.  So gospel-filled -focused -centered.  (one of my favorite quotes, and there were many, "People aren't thinking about you nearly as much as you're thinking about them thinking about you." )  Isolation was an issue that seemed to come up a bunch, and loneliness.  And I wondered, am I not the only one that feels isolated and apart from fellowship of the church family?

Anyway, one of my thoughts during her presentations was about community.  Peacemaking is related to conflict.  If there's no conflict, there's no need to make peace with others.  There's no need to encourage one another to Godliness.  There's no ability to help one another turn from sin.  If there's no real community, if we aren't living together as a family, we don't really have conflicts.  I'm not saying we have to live next door, but real contact (not just Facebook, which I do actually find helpful for knowing the believers better) on a day to day basis (not just "Hi, how are you doing?" in passing in the hall on the Lord's Day).

OK, so some of the goals are: 1. I want to work harder at planning play time with friends for the children and for Mommy ... here or there.  2. My friend Amanda who occasionally comments here (but I know she lurks) and I had talked about trying to do a PreK Classical Conversations like coop, gathering, play time, *something* for the children.  I should start working toward that.   3. I  want to make a more concerted effort to have people over to enjoy dinner/an evening/a football game/etc. with us. 

What are some other ways to 1) be part of a local community (i.e. our city) and 2) be less isolated from our church family?

5 comments:

  1. I'm like Lurch on The Addams Family. :)

    So, of course, I love ideas 1, 2, and 3. Unfortunately all my stores of energy have taken a (hopefully brief?) recess, or else I'd jump in more on some of the organization process (of #2 in particular). But if someone wants to delegate something to me, I'd be happy to follow orders if it will help us to all see one another more often!

    (And as far as #3 goes, you know we'd watch OSU with you. ;) )

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  2. LOL.

    No excuses, Amanda! Just cause you're about to have a baby, you think you can laze about ;)

    My sister is going to be here Saturday morning/early afternoon and she doesn't do TV, so we may miss the beginning of the game or I'd tell you to come on up on Saturday. Maybe a the 9th? And how 'bout a Reds game once they find out the post season schedule? We can put the girls to bed in our room (and you too if you want [grin]) if it is late.

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  3. That would be great if something like that could work out. We're very good at being last minute kind of people, so just let me know. :)
    (And you guys could always come here for dinner. We just can't entice you with fun sporting events...unless you want to play ladder ball in our side yard.)

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  4. Well, since we just had a long talk about this, I won't post a long comment, but will say that these are some good thoughts, and something for us all to ponder. Hmmm . . . .

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  5. 1 - We volunteer in a 4H group that's based at George Washington's birthplace

    2 - Most of us sing in a community choir that puts on two concerts a year, featuring the great Church music of the ages

    My kids are older than yours so these ideas probably won't work for you any time soon.

    We're not part of a home school group here, but one of the ladies in the church and I have a get-together once a week, as time allows, where we drink tea and have a little snack or dessert and talk. Once we read a book together and talked about it. Mostly it's just random conversation and keeping up with each other, but last year she asked me to teach her to crochet (I always bring my crochet or knitting with me) so we're usually both doing that while we're chatting. It's a nice way to spend an evening.

    When I lived in Hampton, the home schooling moms in our church had a monthly meeting at the home of one of the ladies -- second Tuesday night of the month. We were all spread out, too, and her house was the most centrally located, plus she loved having us every month. Each month we'd have one school subject and one topic related to mothering that we discussed. Everyone would bring whatever books and materials we liked, and spread them out for every one else to look at as we were gathering, drinking tea or cocoa, chatting. We started gathering at 7pm, and around 7:30 we'd go sit in the living room, make introductions if any were needed, give everyone a chance to update each other and mention prayer requests, then we'd pray. We tried to keep this part to about half an hour. Then we'd spend the rest of the evening discussing the topic (e.g. meal-planning, differences between boys and girls, potty-training...), or the subject, whichever it seemed everyone was most interested in. It was great.

    Then, on the 4th Friday of the month, we'd meet at someone's house in the morning with all the kids for what we called "Presentation Day," which was basically show and tell for the kids. They could show off a project, give a report, play a piano piece, teach a skill, quote a poem or Bible verse, or anything. Very little kids would bring their favorite toy, or do nothing at all -- no pressure. I think there was some kind of a time limit -- three minutes, maybe -- so that kept it manageable, two hours or so for the whole thing. It was fun for everyone. Generally, the hostess had some kind of project for the kids to work on or a game to play after the formalities were over, and a snack for all, but usually it was just free play time for the kids, and coffee or tea and conversation for the moms. It was wonderful. Best home school group I've ever been part of. Much better than any co-op or large group I've ever been in.

    There were about a dozen of us, so it was a close-knit group, without being so close that it was awkward for newcomers.

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