Not long ago, I was reading something and ran across this quote by Donald McCollough: community is “unconditional fellowship.”

Interesting concept.  The word “community” means, of course, a commonality among people…something we hold in common, in unity.  The Church ought to be the best living example of community in the world!  Even though we disagree on some things, we can still be a community because we hold in common certain essential things.  And what is not essential, we hold loosely.

Community is not the same thing as uniformity.  Community allows for those differences; uniformity does not…it holds that we must all look alike, think alike, act alike, dress alike, etc.  Do not confuse the two!

In the Church, community is best seen when we accept others as they are and not as we would like them to be.  Community does not allow for us to be judgmental or arrogant, because it reminds us that we have more in common with one another than we do differences.  Community keeps before us the fact that “we’re all in this together.”  Community welcomes all within its arms – regardless of race, color, creed, how they dress (including how they dress for worship), how they think, etc. etc. etc.

Community is UNCONDITIONAL fellowship…there are NO conditions on fellowship within the Church.  When conditions are placed on those who attend – or want to attend – it is no longer the Church.  It has become a club.

Archbishop William Temple once said “The Church is the only organization in the world that exists only for those who are not its members.”

That’s community.