BUILDING COMMUNITY IN THE CHURCH BETWEEN INSIDERS AND OUTSIDERS
Keywords:Church, Community, Insiders, Outsiders, Refugees
In many churches, a group of people with a particular identity may often feel like “outsiders” and battle to fit into the community; yet “insiders” rarely recognise their difficulties. One such group in South Africa are refugees, particularly those coming from francophone Africa. This empirical study attempts to waken South African members of a local church to the heavy concerns carried by fellow Christians who have had to flee their homelands. The study intends to not only highlight refugees, but also any group within a church that may feel “excluded”. The aim is to show that a more supportive community can be fostered through an application of principles from many disciplines (studies relating to community-building, lament, empathy, and rituals). It is hoped that other churches can benefit from this example, thus promoting unity and incorporating the “excluded”, and enabling the establishment of healthier communities.
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