Saturday, March 23, 2013

Crafting Community - Comments from Temple Beth-El, Las Cruces, NM members and others - March 8, 2013

What are the ingredients that go into making a community?
  • Trust is important, being able to trust those around us in order to work together.    I also think face to face contact is very important - actually engaging in conversations and tasks together.   I think it is easy to forget this with all the technology we have.
  • place, purposes, open minds and hearts
  • a shared belief/willingness to identify ourselves as part of something bigger than ourselves
  • I think honesty and trust are two important ingredients for making a community.  Without  them there is only argument and divisiveness.
  • sense of fellowship, a sense of purpose, binding together toward a common goal, consideration of those who make up the community of what their concerns are and addressing them, listening to members of the community and providing assistance whenever and wherever possible, being there for community members especially in time of need, having a sense of reliance that members of the community will be there and band together as a force of one when required.  
  • Moses had it, David had it, Solomon had it.  It's called leadership.  The Israelites lost their focus when they left Egypt and didn't get it back until Moses came back from Sinai and reminded them of the reasons G-d had liberated them, and gave them focus on what the mission was and what they had to do.  They were kept together by Moses' leadership.  Leaders must listen, sometimes make hard choices, which should benefit the community as a whole and not just the few,  But they should be respectful of the minority voices and respond their concerns as well.  Without leadership organizations become dysfunctional are in disarray and may die.  Leaders keep their eye on the ball, remember what their mission is and always keep focused on the bottom line.  
  •  I think a community should be based primarily on "good will". The desire to do good with out reward. Community is NOT barter, " I'll do this good deed and I expect you to do a good deed for me."
  •  diversity of people, viewpoints, compassion and respect for others, vision, goals 
  • Generosity of spirit, recognizing that honor comes from honoring others, selfless giving.
  • positive thinking people, good leaders, a structure to gather, activities thru education or social.
  • mutual respect and forebearance, genuine care and compassion, forgiveness of self and one another, eating laughing, joking with one another, breaking bread for Shabbat and otherwise. 

What skills are needed for those who are creating and leading the community?
  • Have a vision and get people involved in building a common project.
  • personal convictions, openness to those of others, sense of humor
  • the ability to listen, to be diplomatic and fair and  and to consider what's best for the survival of the community. 
  • Those responsible need the honesty part but also, I think, reliability and strength of character.
  • Flexibility; creativity; patience/tolerance; compassion; perseverance; comradery;
  • Two things...listening is clearly the first. The second is responding with your audience in mind.  When I left University teaching I gave a final talk on the one word that captured what I had learned during 40 years of leadership.  The word I chose was "audience".
  • Leaders who can engage and involve members into actions of and within the community. A leader who can guide a group with minimal direct action.
  • Creating landmarks of familiarity from past experiences and fashioning new modes of understanding together, while reminding everyone that being part of a community means sharing social and spiritual space equally.
  • Ability to communicate with all stakeholders, willing to do the work, willingness to be proactive, "keep your eyes on the prize/goal"
  • enthusiasm, creativity, willingness to assist in the gathering place
  • Skills needed: sensitivity, careful and responsive listening, folks with different gifts who have a genuine willingness to pool them together, and love (to name a few),

What is the role of community members in sustaining the community?
  • Commitment to the common goal, commitment to togetherness. Showing up! 
  • Sustained involvement in discussions and decisions
  • to bring our talents or what we're capable of at a certain time and to share in times of joy and sadness with other community members so we are a community not just a group of individuals.
  • Community members should be able to rely on the leaders but also contribute their individual skills.  They should apply their skill set to bettering life for others.  Their skill might be education or building, cooking or organizing.  Everyone has something to contribute for the good of all.  The leaders should welcome and value these contributions.
  • Working together toward a common goal and purpose for the good of the whoie and not just a few.  Leaders should guide the community members in meeting their purpose and take an active role in guiding them in sustaining the community.  A leader may not necessary do things right, but always does the right thing.  A leader also must be a mediator and work for compromise, i. el, give a little to get a little.
  • Flexibility; creativity; patience/tolerance; compassion; perseverance; comradery;
  • Some how "less selfish" springs to mind, 
  • Willingness to become involved.
  •    Doing the work, provide resources - financial, spiritual, emotional,  recognition of leaders and other participants
  • Willing to assist regardless of personal schedules, financial support, ideas to help in financial support, sponsorship of ideas, to PARTICIPATE
  • Sustaining a community involves members being present and supportive for one another and compassionate towards one another, while giving any criticism constructively, helpfully and in private.
  • I think community is fragile. It must be nurtured and folks need to keep at it. . . .

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