November 29, 2016
Ever thought of your congregation as your church family? I’m not surprised if you have. There are many similarities. Some folks are fortunate to be “born” into a particular congregation and stay there most of their lives. Some come into a congregation by way of invitation, perhaps by a spouse or friend, and are sort of “adopted.” Some get angry or disillusioned by something that happens or too many disagreements and leave a congregation, much like a “divorce.”
So when Anne Edison-Ablright was quoted from her article “Church Family” on the WELCA Daily Grace blog, it seemed worthy of sharing:
A congregation is not a family. We know this, and we know the problem with the metaphor: it can be exclusive, rather than inclusive. Most families are internally focused, difficult to join and fairly homogeneous. Families have unwritten rules and codes that define who is in and who is out, who is us and who is them.
New people coming to a congregation aren’t going to immediately feel like family members, especially if they’re different in some way from the tight-knit group already formed.
A[nd] yet, there is this: We are family because we belong to God through Christ. We are also family because of what we are called to do: Love each other, work together for justice and peace, share our gifts and talents and share responsibilities.
A congregation is not family. But it is part of the family of God.
Food for thought!