Small Groups of People: Care Networks

The logo of the Interfaith Round Table of Washtenaw County.

[Image description: Upon a blue background, there are three large, block lowercase letters — i r t. They are white letters, and inside the letters, in purple, there are a number of symbols from a variety of religious traditions. Below the block of letters, there is text, also in white, that reads “Interfaith Round Table of Washtenaw County.”]

Next week, I’ll join my colleague and friend Dwight Wilson in a meaningful, new endeavor. We’ll become the new Co-Directors of the Interfaith Round Table of Washtenaw County.

The Interfaith Round Table of Washtenaw County is an interspiritual dialogue community, inviting friendship and mutual understanding among local neighbors. Through conversation and reflection across religious and spiritual traditions, we come together to address the deep questions and concerns that impact our county and our larger world.

The Interfaith Round Table is also a care network. As I ponder doing this work, this aspect energizes me especially. When relationships, friendships, and partnerships are formed through dialogue, people naturally create social networks that can become a web of care, impacting those well beyond the circle of participation. What has been made possible through the witness and practices of the Interfaith Round Table? What is possible now and in the years to come?

This community was founded by George Lambrides nearly 25 years ago, and for the last 15 years, he and Susan King have served faithfully as a Co-Directors. In reflection, conversation, and spiritual practice, board members, participants, volunteers, donors, and conversation partners across a number of local congregations have joined together in friendship and dialogue to address both global and local social needs.

I am aware of this: As people come to Interfaith Round Table events, they’ll be enriched by their experience. For some, it will even be life-changing. But there are also some who will never attend a single event — some who may never even know about us — whose lives will be impacted by our work because in friendship, we created a care network.

Care networks are powerful forces for change. When there is a need or a crisis, responses of care can move and mobilize quickly. The same is true with new ideas, possibilities, and innovation. The same is true with joy, delight, and social connection. These contagions of movement impact our bodies, our wellbeing, and our sense of connection to one another in larger communities.

All week long, I’ve been pondering the power of small groups of people. I’m reminding myself that I already know a lot of small groups of people that are having great impacts as they care for others and build larger movements of change. Be encouraged! We should never underestimate what can a small group of people can do.

Renee Roederer

This post is part of a series. Feel free to read the other pieces too:

I Need Pentecost
Small Groups of People: World-Changing
Small Groups of People: Being Who We Are

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