Building Community at Freedom in Christ Assembly

Submitted by Freedom in Chri... on April 10, 2013 - 6:02pm
A reflection from community conversations at a church in Kitchener

What is your most memorable experience of community at Freedom in Christ Assembly?‪  

We have many wonderful community experiences, but probably our most memorable was this past summer when we had a time for all of the church to gather at a member’s pool. We had a water baptismal service where 13 people were baptized. The whole church gathered to celebrate this open confession of faith and then we had a wonderful pot-luck dinner and lots of fun in the pool. This brought together our friendship, but it centred around the importance of our faith and celebrating together. 

 

What are some ways that your church is building community?

Inside the church, we build community during our regular services, our Wednesday program where we meet around tables to study the Bible as it relates to our everyday lives, and we get together just for fun. We’ll toboggan together, play games together and just enjoy being together. Individuals carry that further and have groups over to their homes on a regular basis as well.

In the community, we build community through the many programs we offer. We have a soccer league in the summer, we run 6 weeks of summer camp and 2 weeks of soccer camp. We offered a basketball clinic for 4 Saturdays last fall and this year we will be offering it in the evenings during July. In the fall and winter we run a School of Music where group piano lessons are taught, we have run a voice and stage class, a dance class and right now we have a sewing school. Most of these programs are for children, but adults help with coaching and there are a few adults in our sewing classes. We have 10 acres of property with a soccer field, baseball diamond and beach volleyball courts, so many community people come and enjoy the facilities free of charge. It’s our way of blessing the community with what we have been blessed with.

What are some of the challenges that your church is facing with building community?

There is always a space problem when it comes to running some of the programs. We could use a gym (basketball clinics are run outside) and larger rooms for our sewing school, camps, etc. but the cost is prohibitive. 

There are also security issues – we have had a fair bit of vandalism on the property because it is open for everyone’s use and not fenced in. People come and night and have built fires on our asphalt, torn off pieces of wood fencing to build bon fires, leave lots of debris around (even though we do supply garbage cans), etc. 

The protection issues for our children – we insist that all volunteers are vetted through our ‘Plan to Protect’ program which is a tedious procedure – police checks, references, etc. and some people hesitate to volunteer just because it’s a hassle. However, our priority is their protection 

Busyness of people – within the church and in the community – people’s lives are full and it’s not always easy to find a time to gather and build community.‪  ‪  

What dreams does your church have for building community in the future?

Expand our programs to include more sports – ESL – something for adults, etc.

We would love our property to have a real community centre feel.

Comments:
Pools, Ponds and Meals

Hi Arlene, thank you for sharing your stories.  I remember the couple times we had water baptisms at ponds, or people's pools.  It was always a very special occassion, there was something different about it.  The services carried a deeper importance that was a cummnal experience.

I also really like the idea of the get togethers beyond the regular sunday mornings.  My home church often pairs families up together into groups of three households, and they each take turns hosting each other for a community dinner.  This practice goes a long way to helping strengthen the bods of the church.