Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes in his book “Life Together” that “Let him who can not be alone be aware of community…”. After 6 months of work from home, remote school, virtual graduations, social distancing and doing everything that puts you in proximity to others with a face mask on, many of us can say we are experts at being alone…or we’ve become more accustomed to the idea of it.
Season 6 (as our new class of Fellows are calling themselves) of the KC Fellows has started and you can tell our new class is thirsty for good community. We have 11 Fellows again this year from all over the midwest, including Hope College in Michigan and the University of Indiana. They have all come to Kansas City excited at the prospect of having good jobs (many of their peers are still looking for work), exploring a new city (only one Fellow is from the KC area), and figuring out who has the best BBQ in KC (it’s Joe’s KC duh!! The Zman!!).
Bonhoeffer also challenges the reader’s notion of what real community looks like when he says “the person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.” In years past, Fellows have come to KC with some expectations of what community with the Fellows ought to look like based on their campus ministry, their prior church, or based on what they never had in school. Covid in many ways has reset the table in terms of community. The lack of physical community since March for so many of the KC Fellows has not only created a thirst for it, it has primed them to be thankful for any community they can now experience.
Season 6 is off to a great start. About two-thirds of the Fellows were able to move to KC and start working before their Fellows year began. We had a fabulous orientation retreat, held locally and almost entirely outside (God gave us some fabulous sunny warm weather all week), we ate really well (Bonhoeffer says breaking bread together is essential for community…I think he just loved to eat…like me), we explored KC and we played together (we have a strong Pickle Ball team, yo!!).
As Covid shows no signs of slowing down or being held in check we hope that we are able to continually and wisely re-evaluate how we continue to proceed with Season 6. We also are praying and ask that you will pray that the Fellows will be able to remain healthy. We are also so very thankful for so many of you that are finding safe ways to engage our new KC Fellows, serve them, host them, and mentor them. Without you none of this would be possible!
“3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:3-6