I decided to just give some general impressions of my experience here at Reba Place Fellowship, a 55 or so year old intentional Christian community where I am visiting.
Peace. There is a pervasive sense of peace among the members of the fellowship, Everyone has their different personalities, of course. But I sense this harmony and depth of peace that I have not yet experienced in my life. Sally, my hostess, is always faithful to share with me that people here are not perfect. I realize that. But I get the sense that this peacefulness is real and lasting.
Kindness. Wow! How many people have greeted me with words of welcome and actions of kindness here at RPF. When I first got to the neighborhood, I could not get a hold of Sally, so the person I talked to directed me to Sally’s neighbor and RPF member, Nina, who promptly helped me get to her house and fed me a late lunch. I was famished so that was nice!
Yesterday I missed my appointment with Sally to ride with her and others to the Ekklessia Project conference through confusion on my part. Jean, who works at the RPF business office, walked me many blocks to the mass transit station where I could catch the train to my destination. She wanted to make sure I would not be delayed any further.
Sally has been so gracious in setting up many appointments for me so I can get a real feel of the community and talk to people who she thinks would be helpful for me to get to know because of my specific interests. I will have to write a whole post just about her. What a privilege to share meals and space with Sally and her husband.
Honesty: Yesterday when I attended a session at the Ekklesia Project conference, during the fellowship time I walked over to greet Sally. She was so relieved to see that I made it safely, and after a brief interchange she told me that the group she was with was having an intense conversation. I was glad to hear her honesty and move on.
Then I saw David Jantzen, who wrote the book Handbook for Intentional Christian Communities. He was sitting with a young woman whom I found out later he was mentoring. He greeted me warmly and we exchanged a few words. He told me then that he was having an important conversation with this person and requested gently that they be able to continue in privacy. I was glad to move on, not feeling rejected in the slightest by either of the experiences.
Then I meandered around the tables, and all of a sudden a few women sitting at one table said, “would you like to join us?” I did–and it was a fantastic, inspiring discussion which I will need to write about later.
I was so grateful that David and Sally could be so lovingly honest with me.
Power: I know, that word probably sounds kind of strange in this list of qualities I am encountering. But what else can it be but power that helps RPF last for over 50 years and be able to thrive and help the members of the community, church members, relatives, people in the neighborhood, and people all over the world in countless ways. I feel a sense of awe that I can walk in the neighborhoods where RPF have had such an impact.
The power of God is here at work in so many amazing ways. I cant wait to write about the specifics, but if you are eager to learn, you can read more here about some of their ministries. http://www.rebaplacefellowship.org/Reba_Connections/Ministries
Good Neighbors: I have had some great experiences seeing RPF members interacting with the neighbors and heard wonderful stories.
Simple living: Every member of RPF gives their income to the community and no matter what role they play in community they receive the same allowance. I observe very simple living quarters–but comfortable and adequate. This has been most inspiring.
Well, I could go on but it is time to take my leave to go visit a food distribution center that RPF sponsors once a week. I will walk 45 minutes to the Evanston neighborhood for this event. Then meet with a young woman who is very interested in farming just to connect and find out our shared interests and future possibilities for mutual support. Then I have lunch with Virgil Vogt and his wife who I will talk about later.
I’ll take the light rail train to the Ekklesia Conference where I will get to hear one of the leaders of RPF speak about being good neighbors, and I’ll fellowship with this wonderful gathering of people who share so many of my values of peace and reconciliation.
Then Sally and I will return home (yes, this is my home for now) to quickly prepare to drive the one and a half hours to the RPF owned retreat lodge on a lake in Wisconsin for a prayer retreat starting tomorrow.
So really, I must be going:) As much as I love sharing, I need to be punctual.
Your comments and questions are welcome.