After the sister made her last call, one of the church women went to her and embraced her. The sister cried in her arms.
The woman asked, "Do you have a church family?"
The sister answered, "No, but when I was a child I used to go to Sunday School."
The church woman didn’t let the conversation drop but went on to tell her of the importance of having this family beyond your immediate family.
The woman listened and heard.
That story struck a chord with me which resonates to this day. How often I have witnessed the importance of the family beyond family, the importance of the spiritual family, the church family.
I have never witnessed it more powerfully than I have witnessed it in this church. Since I have been here several members of our fellowship have experienced significant health issues and other trials. This family of faith has embraced them in very powerful ways and practical ways—ways that have been greatly appreciated and deeply meaningful. I have often wondered how people can even get along without church, a family beyond family. This sense of family can be found in any size church but never more powerfully than in a small church.
I am reminded of the words published in the newsletter of the Oakland (Calif.) Church of the Brethren:
In a big world, the small church has remained intimate. In a fast world, the small church has been steady. In an expensive world, the small church has remained plain. In a complex world, the small church has remained simple. In a rational world, the small church has kept feeling. In a mobile world, the small church has been an anchor. In an anonymous world, the small church calls us by name.