Monday, March 24, 2014

Our New Group

We are planning to start a new "community group" in the New Orleans area. This is going to be a group unlike anything we've ever seen or heard of being done.

Many different factors have come together to add up to this vision that we have.

The first being that we know lots of people in the New Orleans area (that are or are not part of a church, that are or are not Christians) who have a longing for community. So many of the people here are transplants from other places and don't have deep family roots in the area. People are longing for friends to stand the test of time, people to enjoy and mourn the ups and downs of life with, kids for their kids to grow up with, and an overall sense of coming together for the good of others, us all, and this city. They want to be cared for and to care for others. People to relax with, to play with, to celebrate with, to help and be helped when they move, need a babysitter, and more. They want community. So while I don't want to imply the church-y, Christian connotation that comes with "community group", that term very literally describes the essence of what we will be starting.

Another factor going into our vision is our heart for unity, for inclusion, to see all people accepted and welcomed despite all the barriers and divisions that our culture and society throw up. I (Shannon) recently livestreamed a women's conference that had multiple women coming together from different denominations and groups of faith. I think for the most part, we tend to let those differences divide us. But there was something so beautiful, and pure about these women holding their differences loosely and joining hands to be a part of a work together. I long to see that... to see people from differing faiths be able to fellowship together, respectfully.

So that's a little bit of the background going into this. What this looks like going forward is still a little unknown and uncharted. It may adapt a bit over time as our vision becomes more clear. But for now, we plan to start meeting once a month and see how that goes. It could then become more or less regular based on the interest of those involved. We're going to plan for the first Sunday of every month and then go from there. We will meet from 5-7 pm. The first hour will be mostly social and sharing a meal. The second hour will be some sort of group discussion, probably starting off just getting to know each other a bit and getting comfortable with each other. Our first gathering will be Sunday May 25, from 5-7 pm at the Mangerchine home. If you are interested in joining us, or have questions about this, please let us know.

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