The aim of the Community Development project is to facilitate community based on meaningful, respectful and compassionate relationships among all the people with whom we connect through our programs and networks.
We will do this by:
- Working with each community program to engender a sense of community within the group/network of people connected to that program
- Working with everyone we meet to find ways to create a sense of community among all the people who connect to Paddington Uniting Church.
Why Building Community is Important to Us
We believe God calls the church to participate fully in the life of the community, and that in our time and location context, this requires experimenting with new ways of “being the people of God” which go beyond traditional worship and charitable services. We believe God is calling us to provide opportunities for people to participate in God’s mission of reconciliation and renewal which is the end in view for the whole creation regardless of their own state of belief or unbelief.
Reconciliation is built on truth, justice, compassion and peace. Therefore our purpose in engaging the world is to help form communities of people that practice these values.
This requires us to build deeper relationships with the various communities with which we interact, in order to play a role in transforming communities. This includes local residents, businesses, school and childcare centre families, the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex (GLBTI) community, the homeless and vulnerable populations of inner-east Sydney, and neighbouring congregations within and outside the Uniting Church.
In our atomised, consumerist and stressful world, the first step is to help people develop healthy and respectful relationships with other people – relationships that are built on meaningful connection rather than consumptive objectification, on compassion rather than competition, and on justice rather than exploitation. We believe this is the path to abundant life (John 10:10).
We seek to build ‘community’ because a community is more than an aggregation of people. A community exhibits at least some element of shared purpose and values. A community is a place in which meaningful human relationships are fostered. Community reflects the Triune life of God.
We would like to join with other people motivated by similar ideals, regardless of belief system, to bring this mission about. Our understanding of mission is grounded in the logic of ‘missio dei’, that is, the understanding that God is already active in the world (not just in the church), and the church’s calling is to find and support those communities where God is at work. This is sometimes known as ‘finding Jesus in the Neighbourhood’.
Program development areas include Refugee Support and Mental Health Support groups that are peer lead. Welfare services and community support associated with the Eddy Dixon Center will take a new shape in the coming planning cycle. Contact us for more info.