Julie’s Jar: Earth Day at Loch Leven

Church members gather around a mini Communion table inside a building at the Loch Leven Camp and Retreat Center. A woman with pale skin, dark glasses, a black jacket, and with her brown hair tied back, kneels beside a blue plastic chair atop which the Communion elements sit: King's Hawaiian rolls and a paper cup of juice. Several children, seen from the side, process past this station to receive their Communion elements; other adults are seen from behind.

On Earth Day, 34 people from FCC Pomona gathered for retreat at Loch Leven. It served as a time to introduce new people to the conference grounds and reconnect for those who’ve been to Loch Leven. Thanks to Alicia Martin for coordinating the day! We had a tour of the grounds and were all astounded at how much green there was and how loud the water in the stream sounded. After lunch, one group went on a hike, one group did crafts outside, and some used the time to read and relax. The time was lightly structured so we could simply be in one another’s company, with enough space to connect.

Just the being together was the ministry of koinonia. The early Christians used this Greek word to describe the life shared, the common life. We’ve come to think of it as fellowship, but really it is much more. Our shared time together that day deepened relationships across generations and allowed for people of all ages to express themselves in community. Koinonia is opening ourselves to sharing life. It is intentionally creating the fabric of community that makes it possible for us to care for each other when there is a need, be resilient in times of difficulty, and reach out to our neighbors in actions of love and justice.

Alicia led us in a closing communion. It was so simple and so sacred. What surprised and left me awestruck was the way in which everyone in the room held that space. As each of us went forward to receive a piece of bread and paper cup of juice, we were quiet. It was a comfortable quiet, each of us returning to where we’d been sitting as we waited for everyone. For almost a solid three minutes, children and adults allowed ourselves to be held in that sacred peace. May we have more and more shared experiences like this of our common life in Christ.

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