I have been blessed to be a member of my parish community for 28 years. For much of that time I was serving as a member of the parish staff, but it was still the community that I call home. I have been fortunate to be able to remain in that parish even as my life has encountered new chapters and callings. I am so grateful to God that I have been able to grow, be nourished, and find companionship in a parish for this long of a time.
It is a natural tendency for human beings to desire belonging to something bigger than themselves. Not everyone is fortunate enough to find the community, big or small, that fulfills that need. Unfortunately, that means that many communities suffer from not having the benefit of the gifts, skills, and talents that any member can offer. Communities are in many ways living organisms that move and breathe based upon the individuals who form that body. A community is truly the sum of its parts.
Your parish community reflects you and everyone else in that community. The more each member gives to the community, the stronger that community finds itself. If you hold back, your community suffers, and you gain little. I know firsthand what being a part of a community can mean to a person. I would be no one at all – and you would not be reading this – if it weren’t for the life I have had in my parish community.
– Tracy Earl Welliver