Belonging: pew communities

Belonging_crSix weeks ago I started a series in this column space that began to explore what it means to say “I belong to Sacred Heart.” I hope you have been following the flow of musings and thoughts – if not – let me touch upon a few points. There are almost 3,000 households that are registered, but then “registered” is not the kind of belonging we are thinking about. There is a group of 500 (or so) households that volunteer, serve, minister, open parish emails, give in an identifiable way, and contribute to the annual appeal. This smaller group certainly demonstrates more of the characteristics that would seem to point to a greater sense of belonging. But along the way, we made the point that all these great external characteristics are the result of belonging, not the precursor to belonging. Continue reading

Do You Belong? Are You Spiritually Committed?

Belonging_crThis is the third of a six-part series on my musings about belonging and engagement as individuals and as a parish. Last week I wrote about the way we consider our parish to be thriving – after all, by any measure (Mass attendance, sacraments, ministry, offertory, etc.) we are indeed thriving. We are people who “believe in, sign up, show up, and chip in,” – and so our instinct is to say that believing, volunteering, attendance, and contributing are all things that lead to a sense of belonging and engagement in the faith community. As was noted last week, it turns out these are well-studied things and, in fact, it is belonging that leads to increased believing, volunteering, spiritual growth, and financial support. It raises the question: what are the indicators that individuals and the parish community have a sense of belonging? Continue reading