Community Building in Ordinary Life

“Perhaps objectivity is gained not through detachment from the setting but through deep
involvement in and reflection about the setting.” (Coombe, 1997) This quote from our reading
supported me in thinking about describing a community-based group in which I currently
participate. We have many opportunities to learn about new issues, new programs, and new
projects. With this assignment, I took the opportunity to further develop my new knowledge
with a group with which I have been involve, to varying depths, for five years.
St. Paul’s United Methodist Church is located in the museum district, the heart of inner
city Houston. “To build a community of faith centered in love” (SPUMC, 2006) is an excerpt
from the mission statement. Using Fellin’s 2001 definition of community, as based on shared
interest (Minkler, 2005), and parts of Hunter’s 1975 definition, which describes communities
as units of patterned social interaction and symbolic units of collective identity (Minkler, 2005),
I have set about examining this community.


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God’s Dream


I want to begin today with some quotes that have recently found me.

"If we Christians are to be helpful in a less-than-perfect world, we must learn to
be fluent in two languages - love and justice." - Ernest Campbell

"All human evil comes from man's being unable to sit still in a room." - Blaise
Pascal

"Anything that you cannot relinquish when it has outlived its usefulness
possesses you, and in this materialistic age a great many of us are possessed by
our possessions. We are not free." - Peace Pilgrim

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as if everything is." - Albert Einstein

"Who looks outside, dreams, who looks inside, awakens." - Carl Jung


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Catching The Vision

Hello. I'm glad to be back - back in this country where I understand the
language and the street signs and can, most of the time, find my way around. I'm
glad to be back here. It is absolutely essential for me to step back from the task
of teaching from time to time and take a break. I'm so grateful to you for the time
off and to Kim and Susanna, John and Richard and for those who taught in my
absence.

I'm sure I'll be making some references to our trip from time to time in the
weeks ahead. We spent three weeks traveling in Portugal, Spain and France. It
was a wonderful trip.

The most challenging part of it was the driving. I have concluded that the
drivers in some of the European countries are better than American drivers. They
have to be! What was challenging for us was finding hotels where we had made
reservations in some of the cities we visited - like Bilboa, Spain and Lourdes,


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