This passage is often quoted to encourage people to worship regularly with a faith community. From my own personal experience, being connected to and involved with a worshiping community has been an important part of my spiritual pilgrimage. Over the years communities I have attended have been a support and help for me. I realize that there are no perfect faith communities, just as there are no perfect people. All of the communities have had aspects that I didn’t like or care for, but in most cases the good have outweighed the bad. My family and I have been formed and blessed by several, and here are a few of them.
Jerusalem Baptist Church in Youngstown, Ohio was the cradle where my faith formation began. While attending Youngstown State University, I also became involved in its Campus Christian Fellowship. Being a part of this organization and others on campus enabled me to participate in an environment whereby people from different faiths, backgrounds, and cultures could come together in unity.
Following my marriage to my late wife Judy, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Pickerington, Ohio was the faith community that nurtured my family for a number of years. As I moved around the country on corporate moves, my family was also involved in several other Catholic churches. I later joined Epiphany Lutheran (ELCA) Church, also in Pickerington, where I once again became involved in various ministries.
Other faith communities were Bethany Lutheran Church in Louisville, Kentucky where I was their Worship Leader and Spiritual Consultant as well as Christ Lutheran Church, also in Louisville, where I served as Director of Small Group Ministry. The two churches that Shirley has served as Pastor has contributed to my walk as well, St. Paul Lutheran Church in Louisville, Kentucky and St. Paul Lutheran Church in Alpena, Michigan.
I would encourage all of you to try to find a community that can help you on your journey. In one’s spiritual pilgrimage it is vitally important to be part of a faith-filled community. If you are a part of one that works well for you that is wonderful. Some of you may have even been hurt by a community and could find it hard to join another, however, if you aren’t part of one, try to find an open, loving, and supportive body that is best for you! Vernon T.
Prayer, Holy Spirit, help me to be open to embracing the spiritual aspects of community life that can assist me in becoming a lifelong disciple of Jesus Christ, and may that support and love be something that I can share with others! Amen.
Copyright © 2014 Vernon T. Jones, All Rights Reserved