A small Christian community is a group of 8–12 adults, or families, who come together, usually in each others’ homes, weekly or every other week to share something of their stories with one another and to share God’s story (i.e., the Sunday scriptures). Noticing one’s story and the story of God, listening appreciatively to the story of another, people help each other to make connections between everyday life and faith, and to reach out to brothers and sisters who are most in need. Small Christian communities are not just about meeting individual needs, they are also about building up the parish community and strengthening the life and mission of the parish. Small Christian communities make a difference in the lives of those who participate in them and in the parish that develops them.
Ways to Join a Community
- Talk with someone you know who is in a Community.
- Learn about the types of communities and determine which is best for you.
- Contact the Community Facilitator and tell them that you would like to attend. Click here to view our current Communities & Contacts page.
- Visit a community meeting.
Five elements of the Small Christian Communities (SCC):
Prayer, Learning, Service or Mission, Faith Sharing, Support
A Journey of Faith
A SCC is a group of people who come together in the most basic and personal unit of the parish. The community gathers in the available homes of its members, who discuss their lives in the light of the gospel and share their Christian faith through prayer and conversation. Within such gatherings there naturally arises a connection of acceptance and support through which the members learn, in a personal manner, the meaning of being Church.
A Journey from Our Past
The early Christians met in homes to share the Gospel and “the breaking of the bread.” They were inclusive communities whose members, after the example of Christ, shared their resources and reached out to others in service. They were people of faith who welcomed others seeking to find a spiritual home.
As these Communities grew in acceptance and in the number of believers, larger gatherings became the norm. The Church as we know it today emerged from these early home-based communities.
Working within the contemporary relationship of parish, diocese, and universal Church, the Small Christian Community enables its members to participate in the Christian Faith Community in the very manner which the earliest Christians experienced; on a personal level.
Make yourselves builders of communities in which, after the example of the first community, the word of God lives and acts. Pope John Paul II
A Journey of the Present
Small Christian Communities today are widely recognized as significant expressions of Christian life emerging in a variety of cultures and contexts throughout the world. They go by many names: base ecclesial communities, Small Christian Communities, and house churches.
Today, while many churches are intentionally creating larger congregations or mega-churches, St. Austin Catholic Parish has chosen to foster the involvement of its members in Small Christian Communities, reminiscent of the early Church. The larger parish church then experiences itself as a community of communities. This image is expressed most concretely as the communities come together in service of others, care and concern for one another, and in the celebration of the Sunday Eucharist.
The communities strive to live up to their name:
They are inclusive, inviting and comfortable.
Your Own Journey Of Faith
They adopt an atmosphere of listening rather than of discussion.
They are secured by an act of trust on the part of the members,
They are energized by prayer,
the word of God in Scripture and the presence of the Holy Spirit.
They respect the members’ questions and quests,
rather than seek answers or solutions to personal problems.
They are embodiments of community in all of its giftedness,
and all of its challenge.
You don’t have to be a church leader, serve on numerous committees, have a degree in theology or have a large home designed for entertainment to join a Small Christian Community. Being on a faith journey—or even beginning a faith journey—is enough. The most valuable resource you can bring to a community, which no one else can bring is yourself, with your own unique wisdom and experiences.
A Small Christian Community can encourage and enable you to ground your life in the Christian story and to integrate faith with your everyday life.
Communities meet on different days and at different times on a regular basis. Most communities meet every other week on a day of their choice. Others meet weekly or monthly. Communities have various emphases such as families with children, centering prayer, service to the poor, or other interests.
There are a variety of types of communities. A community may include members of other faiths and be intergenerational. New communities continue to form.
We invite you to visit one or more Small Christian Communities; and to discover one which will nourish and challenge you on your personal faith journey.