Why I Love the Church – Community

September 19, 2013


Grace Anglican Community.

Okay, I know it is an unusual name. It probably confuses Google and other search engines. It definitely confuses banks, Wal-Mart and bureaucrats. And, no doubt it has confused some potential members.

With a name like Grace Anglican Community, one might imagine us as a group of monks in brown robes chanting in Latin (except it would be Anglican chant). Or maybe we could be a group of old hippies hoping to redeem our misspent youth with a final attempt at communal living. One could even suspect that we are a cult that worships angels (as in Angel-ican).

Yes, it was risky selecting Grace Anglican Community as the name for our new church.

But shouldn’t a name be a reflection of the thing it names?

After all, the term church has all sorts of connotations. It can be a destination, as in “Let’s go to church.” Or it can be a building, as in “This is a beautiful church.” Or it can be an institution, as in the Roman Catholic Church.

But as best I can tell, what Jesus began was more akin to a family than to a destination or a building or an institution.

And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:31-35 (ESV)

What Jesus was saying is that a fundamental shift takes place when we become his follower. Not only do we receive salvation but also we are adopted into a new family. The two are simultaneous and inseparable.

The earliest Christians understood and lived into this better than we do, I think. One only needs to read the New Testament to find example after example of this. The classic passage is, of course, Acts 2:42-47. But if one reads Paul’s letters through this lens, it is everywhere.

Part of our dream or vision for our church plant is that we can recapture some measure of this. It won’t be easy. We live in a highly individualistic time. And people don’t live in proximity to one another. These are significant obstacles.

But, it is doable. Through the years, I have experienced the kindness, support and love of Christians that rival anything found in the New Testament. To my way of thinking, there is nothing sweeter. And once it is experienced, one always wants more.

Sharing life on a deep, spiritual level, caring for one another in times of need, joining together in laughter, weeping with those who weep, praying for one another, loving one another warts and all, forgiving one another as Christ forgives us…this is what brothers and sisters in Christ do.

When we come together, it is more like a family reunion than anything else. I love that.

Grace Anglican Family just didn’t sound right. So we decided the name would be the Grace Anglican Community.

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10 Comments on “Why I Love the Church – Community”

  1. Sharon High Says:

    I think Grace is well on its way to becoming a Community. I have experienced first hand the actions of others caring for me (and my family) in our times of need, know that I have brothers and sisters in Christ praying on my behalf each week, have shared a few tears with my Grace family, and definitely have shared some laughter (but what happens at Camp Allen stays at Camp Allen!).


  2. Rai Says:

    For us, coming to Grace really has been a family reunion-or homecoming. Good simile, Bob!


  3. Derek Says:

    Grace has been amazingly supportive in my latest challenges and I am so grateful for the love of this community. So often, we find the love of God displayed in the love of the people around us. I hope that this is the beginning of a long and fulfilling relationship grown in the grace of Christ Jesus.


  4. Invisible Mikey Says:

    Speaking as a de-construction worker (I love breaking down word choices), I think the name explains your intents and affiliation accurately and effectively. Trinities of words strengthen a title. It works that way with either personal names or the names of an organization. Choosing “Grace” first codes as evangelical and charismatic. Anglican is the denominational identifier, an indication of conservative and more orthodox preferences in comparison to the Episcopal churches. And “Community” indicates an orientation toward mission work and social justice, as well as sounding more open, less institutionalized. To me it comes across clearly, and it’s comfortable to say, easy to remember.


    • thewayjourney Says:

      Regarding the different parts of our name, here’s the scoop.

      Grace – primarily, this is the middle name of my daughter who died in 2003. It is also a description of God’s one way, unmerited love. So the word Grace does double duty.

      Anglican – your description is pretty accurate. But it also relates to our heritage and that we are part of a world wide association of churches.

      Community – as I wrote in the blog, this has to do with the way we hope to relate to one another. Specifically, my desire is that we treat one another as brothers and sisters.

      Thanks for dropping in, Mikey. Best regards.


  5. Toni Says:

    I so enjoyed this post–especially how you describe church as a community and as a way of sharing life. Perfect!


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