"Thank you so much for your lovely letter and for telling me about the attempt of you and your friends to set up an intentional Christian community. The first thing to say is that it wont be easy. The problem is communities just cant be together to be together. You need to be doing some good work. You also need to know other people who have been about this for a while. ... Of course it seems to me that some of your folks have already been about studying such groups in a way that probably is far beyond whatever wisdom I may have to share with you.
"I am not sure why but I am enclosing an essay called 'In Defense of Cultural Christianity: Reflections on going to Church.' that I thought you might find interesting. Its about where I go to Church and I think it has something to do with why I am so encouraged about the kind of thing that you and your friends are about. You are trying to find a way to establish a Christian Culture in a world where all of our fundamental habits are shaped otherwise.
"I am sorry this is brief but your letter has caught me in an extremely busy time. Yet I wanted to get back to you as soon as possible.
"I hope as you and your friends enter lent it will be a time of renewal.
"We had a real feast didn't we!? ...I was important to the conversation."--George Sachen
"I think it really got us thinking, and some-what on the same wavelength. As for [how to live] in community as of this moment, and the things [people] said we all need to be doing (and I'm thinking of primarily of confession), I agree and I am trying to start doing this. For me the most pressing issue is to start sharing my frustrations and doubts and skepticism about, well, everything." --Brian Jones
"I am starting a new Mama's Kitchen route today [delivering meals to person who are HIV positive]. ...I feel like I need to be involved in volunteer service other than what I am paid to do. Plus, I remember how Christ met me in the faces of those to whom I saw once a week with a meal. I think community is so important because it keeps us accountable to what we believe even when we don't feel it. Right now I think I am not "feeling it."... I am thankful for a care group and colleagues and family that challenge me." --Kirsten Harrison
"I'm so sorry that I wasn't able to make it on Saturday. I am truly excited about what is at least being thought about! ... And I suddenly feel like I'm not too young to be obedient to the degree that might puzzle my family and friends. ... I second guess my self frequently and I could list the questions, but I think we all have them--a similar journey we're on to holiness I guess. Keep me informed even though I missed the meeting!" -- Lisa Powell.
"I plan to be in intense prayer as to how my life plays a role in this type of community. How can a psychologist play a role in this? ( I continue to look for ways that psychology can play a role in community)" -- Ryan Moore.
"I think I understand the purpose but I am not sure. I kind of feel like it limits you in your witnessing. I think I am thinking Amish type. I think I am skeptical about the extreme aspects of community. Its all new!" -- Shawn Sampson.
"Thus far I have not been called to live solely in community (as in life with one group for a lifetime) but I find my place as a supporter and wish to be able to find some sort of community that can go beyond where I am at. As a pastor, I want to be able to facilitate a Church that does not act as a CEO organization...Form a community that does not support wrongs but confesses and encourages each other. I commit to pray for your ministry and to continually be searching for how to create a better church community..in books, prayer, conversation." --Jason Tipitt.
"How would we keep from being elitist, exclusive, legalistic. it seems to happen so easily in the Church and in such a close knit group as we have discussed it seems it would be easier for that to happen." -- Rachel Krueger.
A Visit from a Leader of Corrymeela ....by Derron Matson
Rev. John Morrow, leader of the Corrymeela Community from 1980-92, spoke of their involvement in peace and reconciliation between Northern Ireland's Protestants and Catholics. The dividing walls are thick and cemented by political and geographic, as well as religious ideologies. The Community seeks to find tangible ways to bring about reconciliation. As he said, "peace is not just the absence of violence but the presence of reconciliation." It is not enough just to end the violence. Constructive exercises are used such as role playing, listening exercises, support groups, symbolism involving crosses prominently placed for each death, and an exercise involving flags of opposing sides. Mediation occurs at their facility between political leaders from all sides. A change of mindset needs to take place. A "Culture of Confrontation" is giving way to a "Culture of Negotiation & Mediation." Continue to learn about Corrymeela and Ireland praying for peace and reconciliation.