I have been living, growing and working in Douglas since July — a cheechako. My work has me living and growing with the Douglas Community United Methodist Church. This community has, as all communities have, a pathos (deep feeling of how to treat each other) and an ethos (how our behavior reflects the spiritual beings that we have become in our experience of the world). It is the foundation of a faith community.
A faith community is much larger than the group that meets on Sunday to recall and reclaim the foundation of personal spirituality and faith. The faith community is the element of faith that gives individuals the feeling that the essence of community is greater than the essence of the individuals. It is that feeling that begins our understanding of how our pathos is lived out in a community, and how our ethos is developed within a community. My work as a trained theologian, someone who studies the current “God talk,” forms my ethos and pathos in the community with which I live and grow.
I was born, raised, confirmed and ordained in the United Methodist Church. It is my hope that everyone has found a community of faith in which to learn more about the mystery of faith and to practice the most basic human ability of living and growing in community. My work has a cycle of living and growing based on the church year. I live and grow in the church, sharing all the history and collective community of all those who have explored the mystery of faith through the ages and eons. I have yet to experience a full cycle of Alaska’s regenerative process called spring. With spring, in the Christian year, comes Easter, the offering of one person for all those who choose to live and grow in the community of Christ. Each Christian moves in and out of other communities carrying the spirit of the mystery of such a great love for all.
As the daylight returns, as the winter wanes, as Easter season approaches, I pray that you are in community. Be in community with your God, with your church, where you work, with your neighbors, your family and yourself. May the “all that is good” bless you and hold you in the palm of God’s hand.
• Cindy Roberts is pastor at Douglas Community United Methodist Church.