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1. What does the term “community” mean for you? When does a group become a community?


I think "community" is about people coming together with a sense of purpose or direction. It could be something as basic as sharing a physical space (such as a neighbourhood) where the sense of purpose would be perhaps to live together peacefully, and take care of the neighbourhood environment. It could be something more specific, such as a church community, a work community, or a hobby community, where people have common ideas and goals and support one another.


In my opinion, a group becomes a community when the members make the decision to stay and be in it together. In my mind, a group is merely just people occupying the same space (including the internet) but not necessarily with the intention or desire of working together and/or moving forward.


A community works together, supports one another, sets and (hopefully) reaches goals, and looks out for one another. There is a sense of solidarity and strength in a community - ideally, anyway.

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Well, the word community is derived from french and latin words which broadly meant 'fellowship' or 'organsed society'.


Typically community has been associated with where one lives and/or the groups with which they interact. But with global cohesion developing we now have regualr reference to the 'international community' and of course with the rise of the internet, 'online communities' abound.


Taking some of what you say, Raven, I think a community does go beyond simply being a group of people with like interests, although I don't think it needs to sound as onerous as having a sense of purpose, direction and the setting and reaching of goals. Unless of course these can be regarded as simply wanting to share thoughts and insights and be of help to others if one can. That would be enough for me to call it a community. Subsequently there are stronger communities and lesser communities, but still communities nonetheless.

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A community works together, supports one another, sets and (hopefully) reaches goals, and looks out for one another. There is a sense of solidarity and strength in a community - ideally, anyway.


Yes, if only all the groups we are part of could live up to this understanding of 'community'. Coming up against this is the instinct for self protection; the desire for power; the belief in individual rights and the different groups we belong to which may have conflicting ideas.


This said, the moments when common purpose is recognised can be powerful, eg in the ritual of communion/ eucharist.

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Excellent points by both of you!


Paul - you're right, the way I phrased it did sound like a big, boring burden. What I really meant was just the idea of cohesion for some, while other communities may actually have really specific goals and ideas. Some communities may actually be born out of those goals and ideas - people coming together out of a shared desire for something specific, like in the case of advocacy, or a neighbourhood watch system.


I love the internet communities. It's amazing how we can connect with people who may be physically very far away from us but emotionally/intellectually/spiritually/etc our next-door neighbours. It's a beautiful thing.


Annie - you make a great point here. Self-interest is a natural instinct, and I suppose any community group is going to look after their own interests before the interests of others, if they have to make a choice. When we are all able to come together and support one another, regardless of the differences, it can/will be a beautiful thing.


We've been talking a lot lately in our book club about using faith to tear down walls instead of using it to build them up. Too often people are weighed down by what's different about other people, (and different is "bad," apparently) and not recognizing the potential for strength and co-operation.

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