A message from the Rev’d Roger Whatley, Service Chaplain

Posted by Admin on Wednesday, 25th June 2014, 17:17

Subject: Community.
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Dictionary: A body of people sharing locality, religion. Fellowship.
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When I was young the word ‘community’ was often used to mean a group of people who lived an unusual way of life such as monks. There were national events which were supposed to develop ‘community spirit’ such as royal weddings, the coronation and important events such as the anniversary of the end of the war.
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The word is used freely by politicians today and the way something is declared to be a ‘Community’ is quite extraordinary. If you are a bike owner you are part of the cycling community, or if you go to church you are part of the religious community. Ethnic origins come into this as well. Of course all groups of people have something in common be it a shared interest or similar background but what common factors actually make a ‘community’.  A neighbourhood is referred to as ’the local community’ but very often this means a shared post code rather than a shared life. Surely a true community is one that shares more than just a common factor such as a bicycle or religious faith.
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I believe that the Fire Service, where I am Chaplain, is a community, not because so many ride cycles but because of the shared experiences that staff inevitably will have in this line of employment. There is also the elements of team work and caring for each other which help to bind a group of individuals into a community. It is a profession, which along with the other emergency services see incidents which most members of the public do not see or wish to see. If we wish to develop community spirit there is no point in throwing money at projects. Money will not make a community. It would be better to promote the Fire Service’s ideals of caring, sharing and working together. If it was to become second nature to everyone what a better world it would be. As a Christian minister I could add that it is taking seriously the commandment to love one another as we would love ourselves.
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Roger Whatley, Service Chaplain.

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