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Community by Carroll Makemson

Community: “a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists” Over and over I hear people say to an early reader, “what do you see?” The early reader is to look for syllables, words, prefixes or suffixes embedded in the printed word. Now, YOU take a look at the word “community.” What do YOU see?” If you had been in my senior English class with Mrs. Bolt, you would see the prefix “com” meaning with or together. Looking closer you almost see the word “common,” and letting your eyes look farther into the word “unity.”

Taking a little wordsmithing license, I see “with common unity.” That sounds familiar to me. I can make a list of groups of people with whom I have “common unity,” including Lewis & Clark Retired Teachers, Retired Librarians Who Lunch, Thursday Night Book Club, Eddy-Moore- Makemson clan, QHS Girls of ’67, and the list goes on before I even start thinking about Second Baptist Church. As much as I enjoy these people, I am not sure they all think our “common unity” is in response to the Bible’s repeated invitations to a community even though I do.

From The Word,
“[A]nd let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together … but encouraging one another.” Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV) 

“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity?” Psalm 133:1 (NIV) 

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” Matthew 18:20 (NIV) 

The list goes on and on: Galatians 6:2, Romans 12:3-13, I Thessalonians 5:14, I Corinthians 12: 25-27, Philippians 2:3-16, Romans 12:9-21...

For years, probably decades, my friends have fondly referred to small groups or community groups at their churches. I wasn’t sure I had understood what they were talking meant by community groups. Did they mean Sunday School? Now that this word has been showing up frequently in our church publications and conversations as we prepare for changes this fall, I am sure I do! I feel like that should be yelled from the rooftop, “I DO!” I always have! Yes, Sunday School, but not only Sunday School!

As I look back, I realize youth workers were my first community group here at 2BC. You can’t live with 15 teenage girls in a camp cabin, with triple high bunk beds, and too few showers with Erin Lankford or Sonya Richardson Thomas; or drive a thousand miles with David Fuller or David Fulk; or look for teens on the beach with Beth Spicer (Dusin) or Mike Lassiter; or teach Sunday School with Brad Peck, Marcia Duke, Linda Cain, or others without creating community. Some groups last for decades while others have a season of their own. No, I don’t hang with youth in cabins anymore, but I still love these youth workers and our youth and know we remain a community.


A treasured community group is my MOPS family at 2BC. For 13 years, I have met monthly during the school year with the most amazing group of more than 80 Mothers of Preschoolers and their Mentor Moms. They keep me young, update my tech skills, let me admire their fashion forwardness, and love their babies. We pray for each other, feed each other’s’ families, play and learn together. These mamas have given me another generation of friends to cradle, play with, and follow through middle school and beyond. Many of these women have become dear friends. I tell them, MOPS made us forever friends! Wonder if they know I expect them to visit me in assisted living someday?



For over ten years, the senior adults in this church have been my steady, but more informal community group. I used to spend more time with them than I do now. We drink coffee, enjoy each other’s’ baking, travel to the Baptist Home and Union Station, and eat out together in the summer. These lovely people will always be my community even though I am not as intentional about getting these dates on my calendar as they were when I was the planner and coffee maker. How would I have ever known the life stories of these people without sitting down together a couple of times a month to share and care for each other?

The label “community groups” is still new to me even though I realize, in retrospect, these “groups” have been part of my life here at 2BC since the 1980’s. They come; they go; some meet for many years, others until the book is finished, the task complete, or the event is over. But, what I know for sure is the relationships that form by following the commandments to love each other, to spend time together, and to care for each other are life-changing.

Thank you Second Baptist Church for letting me love your babies, hold your young mothers’ hands, form your youth, and cherish your seniors while, in reality, I was the true beneficiary. My closing words: find a group WITH whom you have COMMON UNITY.

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