Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What is the Importance of Community? ...continued

What is the Importance of Community? ...continued from last week

So, how do we build Community?

Building community when members are geographically spread out is difficult; but with some imagination and commitment, we can make this happen.

Some steps to build community:

* Regular Attendance - As simple as it sounds, the first step is being at the Synagogue on a regular basis. We have many activities and services which a person can take part in. Being at Synagogue allows everyone to get to know one another.
* Fellowship - We offer both Oneg on Friday Night, and dinner on Saturday specifically to allow people to sit together and to get to know one another. These times should not be skipped as they are the best time to build relationships and a sense of belonging.
* Prayer - liturgy during service, the corporate prayer during worship, and individual prayer during the week help build community as we lift up each other and the Synagogue to Adonai.
* Helping Hands - Caring for each other. This is done by individual acts of kindness, Synagogue support for those needing emergency assistance, and Synagogue scheduled events to assist someone (such as our Habitat for Humanity work)
* Care groups - 4 care groups exist, led by Louise & Curt, Amado & Maria, Mario & Sarah, and Michael Bugg (single men). This groups are being realigned to make sure all people are included. Care groups contact people for prayer and are your individual contact point if you have any issues or needs. They may also schedule additional fellowship activities.
* Counseling - While we do not have professionally trained counselors on staff, we do assist people struggling with issues. This is done by listening, trying to offer both spiritual guidance and practical suggestions. If necessary, we can refer them to professional counselors

While we all may look for the day we can live in close proximity to the Synagogue; we can take concrete actions to build community today.

Try it today, reach out to someone and talk to them, try to establish a relationship with them. In doing that, you will be keeping one of the greatest commandments - to love your neighbor as yourself.

Blessings - Rabbi Gavri'el

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