Last fall the six pastors, or elders, of our community took a retreat during which they stepped back and took a good, long look at the motley group of 37 adults and six children who call ourselves Sojourners Fellowship. As a community we are involved in family building; tenant organizing and children's day-care work in an inner-city neighborhood in Washington, D.C.; and various outreach ministries, including peace work and Sojourners magazine. The elders' perceptions were written in a pastoral letter, which we have excerpted below in the hopes that your struggles and discoveries may find company in ours.
The foundation of our life and work together must always be our faith. The question continually before us is how conversion can happen in our lives and in the life of the church.
We don't have all the answers and never will; conversion is principally God's activity, of which we can only hope to be a part. Our personal and corporate spiritual disciplines can help us see and understand the movements of the Spirit in our inner lives, in our community, in the churches, and in the politics and history of our times, and will sustain us over the years.
We have discussed the disillusionment that sets in after the first few years of any community's life. The initial enthusiasm of beginning a community, or first joining one, gives way to daily routine. The romance wears off as we realize that the exciting experiment has become something that demands the commitment of our whole lives. Each of us faces the meaning of our choices and of being committed with very human people in very ordinary circumstances; yet the love, growth, freedom, and fulfillment of community can only be experienced as we make those commitments.