Sunday, July 15, 2007

reflections on community among people who don't know each other

Thursday evening Janice & I went to Waterloo Park to listen to Zorba and watch Night at the Museum. Friday evening we were in the parking lot off Regina Street for the Uptown Waterloo Jazz Festival.

Both events brought together a large group of people, who did not know each other. At the Music & Movie night, most of us brought chairs or blankets to sit on. At the Jazz Festival, most of us sat in rows in the provided chairs.

Both events were enjoyable. But the music & movie night definitely had much more of a community feel to it. People greeted each other and wandered between the groupings. During both and music and movie there was much more interaction.

I wonder how much the seating arrangements had to do with this.

I wonder how much our sit in rows "in church" contribute to lack of community. It seems to me that the churches that I have observed that do a better job of building community work hard at doing things to counter this. i.e.
  • coffee in the middle of the service - with an intentional focus on connecting
  • interactive messages - dialogue between "preacher" and congregation

1 comment:

The Dude said...

i like the idea of connecting during the middle of a church service. i wonder what would happen if one were to move communion to the middle of the service, directly afterwards which people had a chance to pray, talk, and reflect together...and then gather again for the sermon, or something like that. i don't know if that is 'allowed' to happen or not, but maybe it would be good for building community.

I have been a part of interactive sermons, however, and I found them a bit uncomfortable. The same people tend to respond all the time and the shy ones have a hard time getting into the conversation. But I am one of those shy ones, so I may be a bit biased :) That being said, they did force me to think a bit more and gave me a chance to hear what other churchgoers were thinking about.