By Lynn Buske
I grew up in a Lutheran church. Faith was part of our daily life it seemed, for which I am grateful not only because of the faith I have now but because I also grew up the kind of child who constantly pondered the meaning of life. I would sit in the pews as a child soaking up the deep reflections until I went to undergraduate studies at Luther College for philosophy where I really got to examine everything!
But by the time I graduated I reached a point where I was certain that 1) I would never know everything about the nature of God and 2) that no religion’s answers matched up to that effort of figuring it out. As a result I reached a point where I felt severely alone.
It was at that point I realized the other main reason to attend church, other than to worship God, was for the community of it. Being in a place of needing community so badly I was able to realize that agreeing with every single detail of a faith was less important than having a space to talk about my values with others and be supported in my spiritual journey.
I am still a Lutheran. And I am still a philosopher – now I ask why about justice questions and am led by my heart about what I feel to be true about how God wants us to act on earth.
I think many people this year can relate to this feeling of being alone and needing community. 2020 has become a time where the need for connecting with and supporting each other is greater than ever. It seems equally crucial that existing communities put effort into supporting and welcoming individuals in this need to come together. Building community is what JONAH is all about! JONAH has heard from folks about where they have found community:
- Because of zoom our congregations are reaching people outside of Eau Claire, including past members who moved away.
- There are so many ways individuals are making connecting with their loved ones a priority and making time for them regularly and in unique ways.
- Organizations that work with marginalized groups of people are working harder and more creatively to ensure these individuals feel supported.
- Our leaders have been meeting more regularly this year so our teams can connect more and make shared decisions.
- Our leaders are also deliberately reaching out to individuals to do one-on-one conversations.
Are you needing community? Below are some opportunities and ways you can build community through JONAH – each of these requires YOU TO REACH OUT and take the first step:
- Contact any of our leaders (see our website and task force pages at www.jonahjustice.org) to sit down for a one-on-one conversation to find out where in JONAH will feel most comfortable for you!
- Attend leadership training to gain the skills needed to be part of, or creating, a community around your values! Contact our organizer for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Look at the below list of JONAH member congregations and we can connect you to the other members at your church:
- Any of the churches in the Catholic Deanery
- EC Friends (Quakers)
- First Congregational UUC
- First Presbyterian
- Grace Lutheran
- Hope United Methodist
- Immanuel Lutheran Church
- Spirit Lutheran
- St. John’s Lutheran
- Temple Sholom
- The Lutheran Church of the Good Shephard
- Unitarian Universalist Congregation
- Unity of Eau Claire
- Core Teams are small “communities” making a difference and getting heavy support from JONAH in their efforts. Turn your neighborhood association, group of friends, or congregation into a JONAH Core Team by contacting us! Our Organizer will talk you through this process. 715-497-8732