These were the responses given by small church members when asked… “What effect has your small church community had on you?” “What does your small church mean to you?”
1 The SCC gives me an opportunity to share and deepen my faith. It has taught me to look for how God is a part of my life- to reflect on this and respond with thanksgiving and love. Our sharing opens me to others. My trust in God and His love for me has increased.
2 Small Church has made me feel a closeness to God that I can’t explain. We are all trying to become better people, spreading the Word of Jesus. I always felt that I didn’t belong in a small church group. I always felt I wasn’t holy enough. I was so wrong. We all have something to share. We are all God’s children.
3 Being part of a small church community has been a blessing and gift in my life. It has been a lifeline for me to stay connected spiritually as well as physically and emotionally. Sharing prayer with people who support me through highs and lows helps to maintain balance in my life.
4 It has become a forum for us to discuss questions about our religion that may trouble us and to get a better perspective of our faith through community with other members.
5 Small Church Community- for me has meant 24 years of sharing my faith without fear of what someone would think of me. It has been a place to feel safe and a place to pray. In the busyness of life sometimes it is hard to get quiet and just listen. Small Church reminds me how important it is to take the tine to listen to God.
6 Being a member of a small church group has been a blessing for me. I have been encouraged by my members in many ways. We have learned a lot about life and all that we have because of our Lord. We have benefitted by sharing our experiences with each other. We have learned to be sympathetic and loving people. We learned a lot about the Bible and the meanings of the Gospel.
7 I have learned so much in the past 12 years. I share my love and faith with my small church. When the night is over I feel I have come one step closer to God. I really look forward to our meetings.
8 I enjoy seeing my extended family who flocked to my cause and condition during my recovery.
9 The small group helps me to get through my days. I need this to remind me that God is always with me and will always be with me. I have learned so much about my faith, things I never knew before and we can ask any question and there is always someone who will be able to answer them.
10 Small Church is an avenue to connect to others and build a community.
11 Small Church is the family that God blessed me with beyond my biological one. It is my Spiritual family and has grounded my faith in God. Through the joys and sadness of life we have shared our faith, our struggles to understand our lives and have continued on our journey with God in the loving embrace of our SCC.
12 My Small Church Community has become my chosen family. I am comfortable sharing and continuing to learn more about my faith with them. They have been present to me at both the joys and sorrows in my life, showing me God’s presences in my life. My family’s small church community is truly a blessing in our lives.
13 Our SCC was formed some twenty years ago with about twelve members. The first Pastoral Facilitator had the position for about 15 years. The second PF came on in 2004. Our SCC has grown spiritually through Gospel reading, reflecting on our own interpretation as well as studying many commentaries as we continue to grow in faith together.
14 Being part of the Small Church Community has brought me closer to God, fed my spirit and made me feel part of a loving family. It has helped me grow closer to the members of my parish and made me feel like a vessel to share the Good News of the Lord.
15 Small Church is the one place where I can share my beliefs and know I am not being judged. I can ask for prayers and know my intentions will be prayed for. I can gain insights by listening to other members’ sharing. I am always glad that I attended my small church gathering.
16 Small Church is an intimate personal experience of sharing and strengthening my faith with a small group. At first we were strangers— now we are family.
17 It’s wonderful feeling to share your faith with others that believe also; spiritual friendships develop.
18 Small Church makes stronger connections to our church community, expands our vision of Christ in others. It helps support us in faith and aids in times of stress in a personal way.
19 My Small Church is: POWERFUL keeps me connected to the heart of God.
20 Small Church Community was a bridge for me -a bridge during the week to Sunday to keep Jesus in my life. Small Church opens my heart and my eyes to various on going steps in my journey leading me closer and closer to Jesus.
21 The closeness of people in my church knowing I’m not alone and others care. To pray together-share our views with faith and understanding in loving ways with each other. Getting to know and understand the Bible in a simple way though discussions with others.
22 Being in a Small Church has allowed me the opportunity to be able to share my thoughts about the Gospel and God and not having to worry about being accepted or not. When you’re in a Small Church Community, you’re part of a loving family that accepts you and what you have to say. It’s truly wonderful.
23 My Small Church Community usually meets once a week. This prayer helps me to understand the Sunday readings.
24 Small Church Community- be able to speak my mind freely and not be ashamed and have the feedback of the group and not be judged. Learning how to give all an opportunity to express ideas. Seeing the Word from several different points of view to broaden our minds and hearts. Everyone’s faith is strong enough to boost those who need support.
25 We give each other strength. We feed each other by supporting each when we need it. When one of us is confused others help. Then we can bring support into our worlds. It changes our day- it calms us and we share what fills our hearts.
26 Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Others stay a while, make footprints on our hearts and we are never, ever the same.
27 “I have grown so much in my understanding of God and God’s people. I now have a group of people who love me and know my hearts aches. It is a safe place to share my faith. They don’t judge me.”
28 “For me, Small Church means a gathering of a group of people who, after spending time together, become companions on the journey. It means a place to pray, share your faith and beliefs as well as your hopes for your church and parish without judgement or criticism. As companions on the journey, we support each other and come together to look outside of ourselves and to be of service to others in our parish and community.”
29 Small church means to me- family -a sense of belonging – a place where we can companion and be companioned on our journey- A place of safety and of love. This is how the first Christians were and now so are we.