by Erin Cackler, Sydney, NSW, Australia
From the Peace Colloquy 2013 session: “Singing Through Life in Community”
I’ve had experiences all over the world with Community of Christ. What is true no matter what country I was in is that the people are the same. Not the way they look, not the way they speak, but the way they care.
I first learned about this community of caring when I went to Tahiti on a youth camp with church people from all over the world. What I remember most about my time there was the stay at a host family’s place. They didn’t speak much English, nor did the 4 youths from Australia speak much French. They were a kind family and somehow we all communicated well without language. I remember waking up the third morning of our stay, which was also our last, having breakfast and suddenly realizing that this family of 6 had all been sleeping in the same room so that they could make room for the 4 of us to sleep. I was so touched, because they genuinely seemed to be happy to have us there, and felt no resentment about giving up their room.
In 2010, I came to the Central Mission Centre to volunteer with World Service Corps. I had the opportunity to work on some different programs, the church offers the community. One of those programs was a children and youth program, it was started by a church couple, Bill and Sheila Lingo. They saw a need in their local community for church and also a need to help with hunger. Every week I rode in a bus Bill drove, and we picked up kids and youth around the neighbourhood and took them back to church where we prayed, ate dinner and had classes together. There were children there that this was the biggest meal they would eat all week. I remember thinking how special Bill and Sheila are to these kids and how much I could see that not only this program helped them, but just how much these kids saw Bill and Sheila as parents and role models, and what this would mean for their future.
And although I’ve seen this caring all over the world – it all began at home.
I was baptized at my home congregation in Sydney. I wanted to get baptized there, because it was where I grew up with other Community of Christ members as part of my family, calling some aunty, making lifelong friendships and feeling like I could be myself around them.
On my baptism day, I remember the love and happiness I felt deep inside, and the love that was shown to me by others in the community. I was given a sewn bear from one of my church aunties, Aunty Pam. I kept it because it reminds me of the care someone took to make it for me, and the love that the community has for me and one another.
All my little stories are about individual people that showed me God’s love and acceptance and it takes all these individuals to make up the Community of Christ.
Being in a community helps us to be reminded of Gods love. Participating in the Community of Christ can change lives.
Sometimes, like with all different types of communities we can feel that what we are doing is unappreciated by others, or not worth doing because we are unnoticed. But, when I think about the small things others did for me and what that has meant to me, I am reminded that everything I do affects someone else.
I would encourage you to think about people that have been in your life that helped shaped you – in small ways and large. The Community of Christ members have shaped my life and I’m sure a lot of them don’t even know they have done it.
Isn’t it great encouragement to know that no matter how old or young you are you can show God’s love and change someone’s life?
What Comfort Can Our Worship Bring
What comfort can our worship bring
on bleak and empty days
to those who cannot bear to sing …
MORNING SONG (CONSOLATION)
Words: Adam M. L. Tice, 1979–
Music: Wyeth’s Repository of Sacred Music, Part Second, 1813; arr. The Hymnal Project (Hymnal: A Worship Book)
Words © 2009 GIA Publications, Inc.
Music arr. © 1992 The Hymnal Project (admin. Brethren Press)
http://www.CofChrist.org/hymnal **Due to copyright restrictions we are unable to post the entire song lyrics. Please refer to the song number listed in your Community of Christ Sings hymnal.