Praying and Gathering to Learn

by Heidi Gold – Team Convenor

The WCI team has been meeting at our Gather and Pray sessions since we started in October. Our discussions have been guided in part by the book, e Good and Beautiful Community, by James Bryan Smith. He writes about a balance that is needed between personal spiritual formation and community engagement. He shares that at times, we tend to emphasize personal faith over social justice or vice versa, but if we can bring these two together, based on the true narratives about God, that this will then lead us to lives as a good and beautiful community of Christ-followers.

Each chapter is titled as a di erent ‘community’, such as: e Peculiar Community, e Hopeful Community, e Reconciling Community, etc. He de nes peculiar as di erent from the ordinary or the common. He suggests that Christians are not always di erent, but they ought to be, and often are. Peculiar is not bad, just some- thing di erent than what our culture is used to seeing. Like learning to slow down and live without being ruled by anger and praying for others that have done some- thing against you. is may be considered weird, or peculiar, because the world does not work this way. e other chapters continue to describe di erent perspec- tives or ideas and outlooks of our communities. e readings have generated good discussion and not everyone necessarily agrees with the author’s view. is varied viewpoint is helping us to iden-

tify the practices that will help us develop our churches into “Good and Beautiful Commu- nities” here in Helena.

Language and words are important, and the language in this book has helped me
to better understand the words in our tradition that I have been reading or listen- ing to for a long time. Here are a few that I have a deeper understanding of now: Community, Narratives, Fellowship, Unity, Believers, Apprentice, Genuine, Novice, eology, Spiritual, Religious, Admonish, and Peculiar.

Over the next months we will continue to explore understandings of healthy church communities and use tools like the 360 survey to bring ideas and support to the ministry we do at Covenant and St. Paul’s.