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Community: A Great Way To Live!

Author: Archie Cameron

Picture: Pexels

Community: A Great Way To Live!

Tracey Crouch’s recent appointment as "minister for loneliness" highlighted a major problem in the UK. Archie Cameron shares his experience of community and his desire for a kind and friendly world.

Before you read this article, I invite you to read the parable of the sower (Luke 8:1-15). Why?

The desert mothers and fathers say that humans are created with a small heart and a great heart. The small heart is shaped by our fears. The great heart is fed by faith, hope, love and perseverance.

In my lived experience, this has been very true.

When I first tasted the desire for the world to be a kinder, friendlier place, it came into my small heart.  I dismissed it as childish foolishness. The world was just not this caring.

The world I lived in was shaped by competition and not cooperation-let alone communion. So I let the dream die, through lack of nourishment and application.

However, when my wife, Cathy, and I moved to Southport, we found a group of people who would not let go of the dream for a kinder, friendlier world.

They believed God was asking them, in their everyday relationships, for kindness and friendship to be real, practical and enjoyable.

This new quality of relationships could be experienced in the home, office, parish community and in the town of Southport. 

From Age to Age, You gather a people to Yourself

In each generation, God is doing a wonderful thing, planting a dream into every human heart: a dream of a great way of living together, of a new quality of mature, adult relationships.

I saw this when working as a school chaplain.

Each year a new group of young people would come to our school.  After a while, we became comfortable enough in each other’s company to start sharing our hopes and plans.

I did this in a very simple and practical way. In the gentle quiet of the chapel, I invited students to imagine the type of friend they would like: one who would be kind and look after them, or one that would talk behind their back and make them feel small?

I asked older age groups what type of partner, husband or wife they would like: a faithful one who would love them and help them raise a family, or one who would run around looking for a good time, not really bothering about their happiness or that of their children or wider family?

Before the students left, we asked them what type of neighbours they would want to live beside.  I am sure you see the pattern.

In many years as a chaplain, asking literally thousands of young people to share their dreams for a good and happy life, the overwhelming majority wanted to have kind supportive friends, a faithful and caring partner and trustworthy and respectful neighbours. 

The Great Dream of God

I believe the desire to live in communities where people care for and support each other, sharing their time, talents and wealth, is the work of God’s Holy Spirit.  (See Acts 4:32-35)                                       

God is inviting humanity daily into a full, mature, adult commitment to the happiness and success of all God’s children.

I believe every parish community is invited to help these relationships thrive and prosper in groups of Spirit-filled believers.

The call of God is to live daily lives shaped by the great dream of God and experience beauty and joy.

If you want to start a community where you are, please feel free to contact me. I would be happy to share my experience of forty years in a small, intentional Christian community here in Southport.

Persevere, good brothers and sisters. Christian community is a great way to live!

  • Archie Cameron belongs to the Emmaus Family of Prayer. He can be contacted via email: archie@agapeministries.co.uk 

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