Living in community means taking time to be with one another, coming to know and value one another through conversation, prayer, meals together, relaxing and celebrating. Of course, we share the practical tasks of daily living. More importantly, we try to pay attention to what connects us at a deeper level: our shared faith and vision, our joys and sorrows. In the words of the Constitutions, we try to support and encourage one another… in times of hardship and in times of joy.
Then, strengthened by mutual respect and affection, we look beyond our own group and give time to other people. Not just as individuals, but as communities, we are concerned to help others grow strong in faith and live fully human lives.
In practice, this involves us in a wide variety of activities. We might, for instance, decide to lobby our MP on global issues, or support local enterprises for people in need, or fund raise for women’s education, or buy Fair Trade produce or try to reduce our carbon footprint. We might connect with people from local parishes, inviting them to shared reflection or a quiet afternoon at our house; or we might be able to respond to the needs of lonely and housebound people in the neighbourhood. Associates and friends who live locally widen our community, and are often invited to join us for prayer and supper.
As the Constitutions say ‘true friendship in community strengthens our love of God, sustains and supports us and teaches us to go out to others with the very love of Christ’.