Gratitude at Lake of the Woods
What are we especially grateful for when it comes to our New Covenant Fellowship community?
That was the question posed to those of us who gathered to worship together at our annual Lake of the Woods service this past Sunday. After circling our chairs into groups of six, we each took time to contemplate and write down our individual responses to that question. Our responses were then put into hats, which were passed to a different group to be read and discussed.
Many themes emerged, which each small group then shared with the full community. Among the recurring themes were freedom to explore faith; sincerity in wanting to know Jesus and God; relationships and supportive community; acceptance and healing; a focus on justice-oriented action; and embracing diversity.
For those who have been a part of the New Covenant community for some time, sharing these gratitudes provided a wonderful way to celebrate God’s goodness to us through our fellowship, even through difficult transitions. Those who are newer to NCF helped enlighten the “old timers” about what stands out to those becoming a part of NCF in this era of our fellowship—in many cases confirming that when people walk through our doors today they are drawn to the same characteristics that have drawn people to NCF over the decades.
And it seems safe to say that anyone who would read the selection of specific gratitudes we are sharing below would learn quite a bit about who we are as a fellowship. Perhaps the next time someone asks what NCF is like, you can just point to this post.
What are we grateful for at NCF?
- Fellowship of so many really seeking to know God and Jesus better
- A community that continues to challenge me to grow, worship, serve, pray, learn, and love
- Challenges to act on beliefs
- I am grateful for NCF’s focus on scripture and the Holy Spirit
- I’m grateful for the freedom to pursue my own faith journey without judgement
- I’m grateful for thoughtful and humble readings of the scripture that make room for questions and uncertainty
- I’m grateful for the people that reach out in support when you are going through difficult times
- I’m grateful for the space that is created to really connect with and worship God – even if and when it is sometimes chaotic
- I am grateful for a place where we are not dogmatic about non-essential aspects of faith
- Acceptance and diversity of all kinds are worked into a common ground
- Time to heal spiritually, a true “spiritual hospital”
- Real friends who help in hard times (who don’t just say go and be blessed when you need practical showing of God’s love from believers)
- Ease of entering into ministry – that is, it’s easy to share gifts (practical and spiritual) with others. Also low commitment or as able – non-threatening
- The supportive, loving relationships my kids have had here, with adults as well as other kids
- A place of healing, openness to new ways of understanding faith
- Deep connections and relationships – commitment to God and one another
- A place to learn and grow and belong
- I’m grateful for the children when they dance the way I used to
- For honest people expressing themselves
- This is a place of healing
- I am grateful for how New Covenant keeps me grounded and real
- The thoughtful ways in which we are taught to interpret the Bible in its historical context
- Being one body even if there is a difference of opinion
- I’m grateful for New Covenant’s openness to asking questions and struggling with hard topics
- I am grateful for the opportunity to share experiences together as a small community of lost souls
- Worship – one of the main ways I can connect with God and others
- For the non-judgmental ‘come as you are’ environment
- New Covenant’s uniqueness – I don’t know if I could be comfortable anywhere else