I realize now that this blog is as much for Wellspring Community as it is for my self-expression and for others who might feel inspired to join us at some point. Also, many have expressed interest in learning more about my journey to visit intentional Christian communities.
I am feeling inspired to write about each community that I visited highlighting the positive points that I hope our community can learn from and practice. I’m going to start with the first community I visited. Here goes…
Reba Place Fellowship in Chicago, IL.
1. An elected director who has the talents to coordinate the whole community to implement its mission and goals as well as make sure that conflicts are resolved in a timely and harmonious matter. Director works with a leadership group which she selects. Directors can be male or female.
2. Involvement in the community consists of people having differing levels of commitments all the way from people who are full members and sharing income to people who are neighbors or friends who live far away.
3. Quarterly day-long prayer retreats
4. Full members all belong to a smaller group within the community which are geographically close for easy meeting.
5. Full members attend one of the two churches that Reba Place helped plant. The churches are not a part of the community, but definitely strongly influenced by RPF. Since RPF is located in two different neighborhoods, members attend the church within walking distance. The church shares their foundational values including following the non-violent teachings of Jesus.
6. RPF is a member of a group of other communities called Shalom Mission Communities. These communities share foundational values and are located, for the most part, geographically close so that it is easier for members to gather yearly for a conference as well as for members to visit each other. Being part of a group of similar minded communities helps with accountability and integrity especially when conflicts arise that can not be resolved within the community.
7. RPF has access both to urban living and country living because RPF started what is now a separate community called Plow Creek Community located two hours away by train. Members from RPF can visit and work at Plow Creek easily. There is a retreat cabin at Plow Creek owned by RPF. Food is produced at the Plow Creek farm which is sometimes delivered to RPF.
8. RPF owns businesses which provide employment for members.
9. There are monthly membership meetings for all the community members to attend which helps to keep everyone posted about decisions that effect everyone.