Connection, Community, and Belonging
Over the summer, in meetings (both within the church and the wider community) and in conversations with a variety of people in the congregation, three related words began to emerge: connection, community, and belonging. Earlier this year, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy warned that isolation and loneliness pose a profound public health threat. More than half of the U.S. adults experience loneliness, which has consequences for mental and physical health, including a greater risk of depression, anxiety, as well as heart disease, stroke, and dementia. The U.S. is certainly not alone in this regard. Back in 2018, in the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Theresa May appointed a Minister for Loneliness. These trends toward social isolation were noticeable before COVID, but, like so much in our lives, the pandemic accelerated rates of change.
It’s clear that many people these days—of all ages—are searching for connection, for community, a place where they feel they belong, where they feel welcomed, affirmed, and safe, a place where they can grow and thrive and flourish.
Starting in September, the program year will center around these themes of connection, community, and belonging, that is, deepening our understanding of what it means for us to be a community of the Risen Christ called to love neighbor, God, and self. You’ll see our theme reflected in all areas of our life together, in worship, educational offerings for children, teens, and adults, through mission and justice advocacy, and in fellowship opportunities. We’ll explore ways to deepen our connection with each other, with the wider community, with the environment, and ultimately, with God.
Belonging: Part 1
September 10 at 9:00 a.m. in the Library
- “Belonging” Willie James Jennings and Eric Barreto, The Presbyterian Outlook, March 29, 2023
- “How America Got Mean” David Brooks, The Atlantic, August 14, 2023
- “We Have Become a Lonely Nation. It’s Time to Fix That.” Vivek H. Murthy, The New York Times, April 30, 2023
- “As a Rabbi, I’ve Had a Privileged View of the Human Condition,” David Wolpe, The New York Times, July 2, 2023
- “We Know the Cure for Loneliness. So Why Do We Suffer?” Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times, September 6, 2023
Belonging: Part 2
September 24 at 9:00 a.m. in the Library
- “Opinion: I left the church — and now long for a ‘church for the nones'” Perry Bacon Jr., August 21, 2023
- “Loneliness Poses Profound Public Health Threat, Surgeon General Says” Fenit Nirappil, The Washington Post, May 2, 2023
- “U.S. Surgeon General Cites Loneliness As Serious Mental Health Hazard In New Report” Bryan Robinson, Forbes, May 6, 2023
- “How to Feel Less Lonely, According to the Surgeon General” Christina Caron, The New York Times, May 2, 2023
- “U.K. Appoints a Minister for Loneliness” Ceylan Yeginsu, The New York Times, January 17, 2018.
October 8 and 22 at 9:00 a.m. in the Library
- “The Real Origins of the Religious Right” Randall Balmer, Politico, May 27, 2014
- “To Understand White Christian Nationalism, Look to Doctrine of Discovery, Jones Says” Jeff Brumley, August 22, 2023
- “The Roots of Christian Nationalism Go Back Further Than You Think” Robert P. Jones, Time, August 31, 2023
- “A Christian Nation? Understanding the Threat of Christian Nationalism To American Democracy and Culture” Public Religion Research Institute and The Brookings Institution, 2023.
- “We Have To Come to Grips with History” David Smith, The Guardian, September 9, 2023