Joan Cook laid out a grand buffet of definitions for us to consider in her discussion of what a church is. From the ‘little church’ of ee cummings, where the community rather than the building or the creed is important, to the Unitarian principles of relevant personal worship and meaningful welcome, Joan encouraged us to consider how a ‘church’ can encompass many roles. Being a sacred space for spiritual growth; a place to gain awareness of our gifts and our mission; an extended family where the community acts for the common good. At its best, a church is where you go because you know you belong. At its worst, an upholder of staid and outdated traditions or simply a mutual admiration society.
While the key to any church is seen as its worship, that worship need not be restricted to 1 hourr on a Sunday. Rather it can also include meditation groups; encounter groups; committee meetings; interfaith groups; social outings; a mix then of internal and external events. Most importantly, a church gives us the ability to leave behind every day cares and to join together and gain strength from fellowship and to experience that peace which passes all understanding.