Staff bloggers: The Rev. Dr. Norman Dewire & Gretchen Colon

A community is created by the people who gather, share, learn and grow. A community welcomes strangers for dinner, invites neighbors to sit on the Front Porch and sincerely asks another their life story.

Matthew 25:35-36 reminds us just how we are to truly care for one another in community:

“I was hungry and you fed me,

I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,

I was homeless and you gave me a room,

I was shivering and you gave me clothes, 

I was sick and you stopped to visit, 

I was in prison and you came to me.” 

Through the words of Jesus in Matthew, we learn the very essence of how we are to care, welcome relationships and share in companionship with friendliness and warmth. Jesus is welcomed into many homes for dinner. He is host to many strangers, too.

“Welcome is one of the signs that a community is alive. To invite others to live with us is a sign that we aren’t afraid, that we have a treasure of truth and of peace to share.”

– Jean Vanier, Founder of the L’Arche Communities

At Lakeside Chautauqua, you may have often felt that sense of belonging. Strangers gather outside the lecture hall and engage in heartfelt conversations. Individuals meet on the sidewalk to talk about a life-changing moment. Children joyfully invite friends to play a game of hide-and-seek. You may have also felt the sense of belonging in other communities.

We are called to care for a stranger, provide a sense of belonging, allow for opportunities of rest and renewal, engage in life-changing conversations and welcome individuals to our front porches. These should be daily occurrences that come alive.

Join our Front Porch conversation and tell us how you connected with a stranger or what aspects could you strengthen to offer companionship, friendliness or warmth?

Lakeside Chautauqua will welcome the Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell as the guest preacher on Sunday, May 25. She will lead the Hoover Community Worship Service at 10:30 a.m. in Hoover Auditorium. Her sermon, titled “America the Beautiful…a Call to Compassion,” is based on Isaiah 65: 17-25 and Matthew 25: 34-40.