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After leaving “the Church” at about 18 because I was disgusted with the lack of love and humility I found, I wound my way very slowly back to what I know to be my own truths about God, love, truth, community, leadership, and servanthood. Truly, I never intended to be part of anything with the word “church” in it ever again.
About three years ago, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and all that self-assured peace I had made with the world came to its knees. The details are not important; my lifelong beliefs were tested: that people are good at heart and that God, in whatever form I understood, was a benevolent force. It was around this time that I started going to Collective, and I found that I belonged- no matter my beliefs.
"What I have come to understand about myself, and about Ben and the majority of the people at Collective, is that our spiritual lives and our sense of belonging and responsibility to our community are not separate things. They are interwoven."
Over the last few years my relationship with Collective has grown and taken on meaning beyond my spiritual life. Last year, a group of us began a group for the LGBTQ+ community and its allies, Collective Cares. As a social worker, this group has become integral to my sense of responsibility to provide an open and safe place in our community. Yes, it’s a specific cause. But what I have come to understand about myself, and about Ben and the majority of the people at Collective, is that our spiritual lives and our sense of belonging and responsibility to our community are not separate things. They are interwoven.
Thank you so much for your attention and time,
Collective Cares Board of Directors
We are a misfit faith community that gathers in DeLand on Sundays at 5pm. Come as you are.
We value highly the metaphor of journey. We’re different people from different places and backgrounds, representing an intergenerational community, and we’ve traveled different paths. So, we agree not to make assumptions about the person across from us, next to us, or in conversation with us. We challenge ourselves to be sensitive, knowing this community includes a diverse group of people from life-long followers of Jesus, to people who are just now open to the idea that God might exist. We strive to avoid offense, ask good questions, articulate and explain our responses. We don’t assume fluency in bible, spirituality, or Church language, because we believe the message of Jesus is not for Christianity, but for humanity. So, we do everything in the spirit of love and grace.