Reflection on Small Towns

I have lived in large cities for most of my life. Until about seven years ago when we moved to a small town just north of the GTA.

I completed a Natural Church Development survey yesterday. And the first question was how many times I get together with people from the church. The answer is pretty much zero. I might have four or five social contacts a year.

There has been a disconnect for me with my local church which is more apparent now. Like the small town I live in, it seems to be more of a stranger than a friend.

Perhaps that is the issue with working and living in two different communities. You can never really be part of both. I spend most of my week in Toronto. And, the day or two that I have at home each week is usually crammed with commitments. After seven years, I still do not know my way around this small town. I sleep there. I spend a bit of time there. I work somewhere else.

Thankfully, my family is better connected.

2 replies
  1. Ann
    Ann says:

    …… “it seems to be more of a stranger than a friend” I find your comment very sad, especially for someone who has sacrificed valuable family time to serve in a position to hopefully benefit the church you attend. I read your comment Monday and I have been pondering it ever since.
    Why does your church feel more like a stranger than a friend to you? What would have to happen to make you feel your church was your friend?

  2. Richard Cleaver
    Richard Cleaver says:

    Hello Ann,

    My post was a comment on the challenges I am facing with living and working in two different communities. With all of the demands on time, I find it nearly impossible to develop relationships with others outside of my family and those at work.

    And that is the issue I face with working and living in two different communities. Before I moved here, I spent 18 years working and living in the same community. I did not feel like a stranger in my own town.

    Too often, I think of myself as a visitor in my own neighbourhood.

    Given all of the cars that follow me down the highway in the morning, I suspect I am not alone in this sense of separation from community.

    I had hoped for a stronger sense of community within my church however the demands of working somewhere else, as well as a very busy life, make it difficult to foster relationships beyond the Sunday morning greetings. And, for me, I get a sense of being a visitor. Really, no different than the sense of being a visitor to a small town when I finally get home at the end of a long day.


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