Gird up your loins

How do we build more resilient communities, groups of people able to respond well under stress or when facing change (and isn’t that all of us, at some point)?

Looking for some reading on that, I found an article by a couple of community leaders who work to build community services and strength in Jerusalem, particularly in areas where ongoing conflicts cause significant trauma.*

They identify “Six Cs” of community resilience:

  1. Communication (flow of information about events, services, resources, social context etc)
  2. Cooperation (taking responsibility at a local level for the community, drawing out the potential of all members to contribute, and building an ability to rely on ourselves rather than waiting for outside help)
  3. Cohesion (mutual support, especially for the weaker members of the community)
  4. Coping (the ability to take action, including efficient organisation)
  5. Credibility (leadership which comes from within the community and truly represents its uniqueness and aspirations)
  6. Credo (the vision of a community of a better future, a horizon of hope).

While the authors acknowledged that none of these can be perfected overnight, they emphasized that long term planning in these areas could make a significant difference to a community’s resilience, and thus, its ability to function well, achieve its goals and nurture its members.

It would be a rare church community which would have no room for improvement in any of these areas.  Perhaps they might be a useful starting point for reflection and conversation?

* “Community resilience: Lessons derived from Gilo under fire,” by Dr. Michael Ganor and Yuli Ben-Lavy, in the Journal of Jewish Communal Service, Winter/Spring 2003, p105.

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3 comments on “Gird up your loins

  1. Julie says:

    Great post – these all play key parts in building Community.

  2. I would hope that that this picture of a healthy community would spring into action should ever the need arise. Starting with the smallest of communities – the family and followed by succeeding greater communities – the local church, the city church, the town/village government, ad infinitum. Good research, Emily.

    • paidiske says:

      You know, I never thought about families as I was thinking about this. Thanks for pointing that out.

      I wonder, though, is it reasonable to expect families to have a shared vision of the future, etc? Would that limit the freedom of different family members to pursue their own spiritual path?

      I ask as someone who, by joining the church (not to mention being ordained!) has very much left the path of her very anti-institutional-church parents.

      I guess what that highlights for me, is that one of my assumptions about communities is that involvement is voluntary. People can choose to be part of a community or not. Whereas you don’t get to choose to be part of a family, so perhaps family expectations should be different…

      Much to think about!

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