We are six. Megan, Ed, Shancia, Will, John, and Kalekye are six strangers united in the body of Christ to serve the beautiful city of New Haven. As a part of transitioning into our new community, we anticipate changes within our environments, relationships, habits, and even rules of life. More importantly, we face the challenge of developing and agreeing to common rules of life which coincide with the teachings of Christ. These rules symbolize our certainty that the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ equip all to walk and serve in faith. This agreement or rule of life is known as a covenant: a promise between humanity and God. This piece will briefly discuss important components of creating a covenant which upholds the teachings of Christ and the integrity of a community.
As we hear the word ‘covenant,’ our minds begin to think of the ancient and Biblical commitments between God and humanity, such as the Abrahamic Covenant and the New Covenant. Often, we find ourselves referring to covenants as Biblical mysteries of faith. Yet, here at St. Hilda’s House, developing a covenant is an intimate and pivotal aspect of our present and future relationship with Christ and the people of God, the community. In remembrance of God’s promise to His stewards, we Hildans embrace a transformational pledge of obedience and commitment to the community by creating a covenant which honors God and responds to the Christian call of love (in the words of John (Torrey, not the Evangelist)).
Although the process of creating a convent can be simply phrased as coming to agreement, it still remains a rather arduous task to literally translate our thoughts with reverence to Christ. As a group, we critically analyzed concepts of diversity, interpretations, and the application of faith in defining what it means to be a community, contributor, steward, friend, lover, worshipper, and listener. Overall, our attempts of defining a community posed both a spiritually and an intellectually challenging reflection.
One of the questions we asked was 'what is a community'. A community is a network of individuals who establish relationships through communication, interactions, and beliefs. Most importantly, as Ed said, we hope that “the individuals within a community are shaped by love rather than actions of violence.” Quite often, we witness the detrimental usage of violence within a community such the usage of violence to maintain and regulate peace. Therefore, we aspire to use love as the basis of our community outreach rather than directly targeting violence.
In constructing this approach, we considered two interactive relational categories. The first category refers to the external relationship between the community and the individual (intern.) Within this category, interns reflect not only on their service to community but also on how the community reciprocates the impact of their service. For instance, an intern who volunteers at a school provides the service of education to the community; however, the community reciprocates the service of the intern through the outcomes and feedback of students and administrators.
The second category, an internal relationship of a community, concentrates on how we interact with one another as interns: communication, worship, communal structure, and conflict resolution. This category incorporates concepts of diversity as a learning platform rather than a marginalizing medium of indifference. Therefore, we aim to establish an environment which honors the beliefs, life, and reflections each intern. Additionally, this category also promotes awareness, by fostering a non-judgmental zone. Of course, we will have our disagreement but we also have a plan and incorporate an atmosphere of awareness to healthy communicate our feelings.
As we actively transform Biblical practices into modern practice, we, Hildans present our service to the world as symbol of commitment not only to Christ but to each other. Although the dynamic range of love and Christian worship cannot be confined to a few pages, our attempts to synthesize these components function as memorable templates to the body of Christ. In the future weeks, please anticipate on reading our covenant.