St John's is a friendly, welcoming Christian church offering worship for all and facilities for the local community.

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St John’s United Reformed Church

Ipswich

 Minister’s Letter


Being a Community

 

What do we think of with the words Community, Fellowship, or Relationships?

Fellowship is a strange word, perhaps in our society it is becoming stranger. And isn't this the story of our communities? We are more and more strangers to each other. Often ignoring as many people as we meet. This has been called the "elevator mentality", where we find we are crammed close with people we've not met, trying really hard not to touch each other, where nobody speaks or makes eye contact. We don’t want to create the social faux pas of being friendly unless we have been introduced.


In the average street or shopping centre so many go about their own business, not getting involved with others, and even the most basic of human interaction is often problematic. Many of us work in large impersonal institutions. Even where people have something in common, like at a rock concert or football game, people who've never met will sing and cheer and even hug each other like the best of friends, and then part without even knowing each others' names, let alone touching each others' lives in significant ways.


Could the church become like this? Or even our own families? Have they already?


The early Christians depended on their relationships with each other. They gave each other courage to make a reality out of the vision of the church. They grew together, encouraged, challenged each other, supported one another, helped each other to see what God was doing in their lives. They were the family of God.

For many people now, church is family, their only community. Yet we know that church can be a place people come on Sundays and leave to live out their week without connections to supportive, encouraging others. They especially  need the church to be a home, a place of fellowship, where members get to know each other, care about what's happening to them and encourage them in their walk with God.


The church is far from perfect, but God has given us such potential to be a nurturing household, where people of all ages are valued and supported. We need to be intentional about fellowship, by whatever name we call it. We need to make sure we are not relating in the church the way many do in our society—behind protective masks and fear of being known, often called individualism, or behind isolation and pride that pushes away help, often called privacy or independence.


God blesses us in fellowship, in community, as his body and we are to be a blessing to others. Consider our church fellowship this month. What quality of relationships are there? Over a cup of tea is the talk just the usual? How intentionally are you building community for yourselves, for others, and even the stranger? Something is missing in the heart of our society. Don't let it be missing in the church as well!


 David






St John's is a friendly, welcoming Christian church offering worship for all and facilities for the local community.

Search for what you want to know