After talking about how great it is to be part of a community before, I was struck today by how easy it is to include people. My parish is doing a fairly good job I think, although it is not too difficult for a parish in a suburb where everyone has lived all their life and knows each other really well. Sometimes though, there are new people (like me) and sometimes people don’t get included when they could be. Today we had a get-together of the young people, that is the age group of 18 -early 30s, the second one so far. It was a great opportunity to meet new people (I didn’t know half of the people there despite having been an active member of the parish for about a year) to get to know the people you do know better and to have a good time. We laughed hysterically, ate really good food, prepared by our gracious host (one of the group), and just had conversations that were new and nice and – well, funny. I know that on Sunday I will see some of these people again and I will feel comfortable with instigating a conversation and feel more a member of the parish for it. Knowing who people are and some basic information about them is, I think, what makes us feel part of a group. When X says, have you heard that Y’s son broke his leg? and you know what they look like and maybe even that Y’s son is a great swimmer, it feels so much more personal and included. Meetings like today’s are, I think, the backbone of any community. Giving people a platform where they can get to know each other in an informal or even formal way, is what makes the difference between an active community and a group of people who all go to the same place every Sunday. I am really glad I went today and I am sure thanks to this new group I will feel so much more included. I am grateful that I got to meet some more people my age because frankly, I had started to think that there were only 4 of us in the whole congregation, and tonight there were 12 of us. Just like that the number of possible friends tripled. We got our inspiration from a neighbour parish who have had a similar group for a while and have had very good experiences with it. Especially this age range is easy to overlook because most churches have something for children and parents but the group of people who are neither is growing. Tonight’s get-together was a resounding success and everyone had already some ideas of what to do the next time we meet. Isn’t it a great feeling when you meet new people and you like them?