Parish Development's "On the Way Back Together" six part series on relationship building

Parish Development's

September 15, 2021

This six-part series and additional resources are provided through the work of Iowa Conference Parish Development.  

On the Way Back Together - part 1 of 6

Each faith community is different from what they were in March of 2020. Some have gained members and embraced a different look for worship and how they connect with their faith community. A number have lost members and wonder what tomorrow brings. Some would just really like for things to consistently be the same.  Yet others are somewhere in between, honoring what has been and looking with anticipation at what could be.  

When we add to that the restlessness and challenges of the politics of our denomination, country, and the world, there are some who wonder if being part of the Body of Christ as a member of the local church is worth the effort; they’ve vowed to not lose faith, just lose the church. Regardless of where you or your faith community falls in that overwhelming spectrum, there have been a few things that are consistent throughout, except for the fact that each and every one of us remains God’s beloved, regardless of, well, regardless any part we do or don’t have in the above.  
One of the major ways in which all faith communities have been consistently the same since March of 2020 is a change in relationship and relationships. This includes changes that may not have yet been realized, but have happened, nonetheless. There may have been changes in how faith communities are in relationship with each other. It is likely that there are many who feel they are just disconnected, perhaps even in multiple ways.  

Others may feel they have not only disconnected from those around them but also from God. Then there are those who are just angry, some with purpose and some just because. Some lash out, and others sit with that anger and let it stew. Maybe there are feelings of being intimidated, bullied, or cast aside in the very place they thought they would always be loved, accepted, and welcomed. 
When all the pieces are put together, and the puzzle starts to take shape, we find that what has and continues to suffer the most are relationships. Relationships have suffered from miscommunication, misunderstanding, lack of interest, fear, anger, pain, and selfishness. There is no one provider or stimulator of these relationship destroyers, only fallible humans, yearning to do the best they can in times they didn’t realize they ever needed to prepare for, in ways they didn’t know existed. Chaos is not just apparent in our streets but in our hearts, souls, minds, and relationships.    
What will follow in the coming weeks are reflections concerning the three major relationships that we have in our lives. We welcome the sharing of your reflections and experiences concerning relationships of every kind in this unique time in our lives. Also welcomed would be your suggestions concerning how Iowa Conference Parish Development, or other resources, might be able to help you through this time of Reconnecting Our Relationships.  

Offer your suggestions, experiences, and reflections here.