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Living Our Faith As Christians

“It is impossible to love God without loving our neighbor.” Mother Teresa


In 1913, Josiah Royce, professor of philosophy at Harvard University, introduced the concept of a beloved community. He observed that a “beloved community” is composed of anyone who is dedicated to the cause of loyalty and truth. Martin Luther King further developed the idea as a way we could all live in harmony. King believed that faith and action are interrelated in the “kinship of all persons.”


Some of the features of a beloved community include*:

--recognizing and honoring the image of God in all human beings;

--exhibiting true respect and validation of others;

--initiating a collaborative effort of cross-sections of people with common interests for a just society

--seeking peace with justice by taking action against the issues surrounding social justice.



Starting with the first Sunday in Lent, and over the next three months, we will be planning a series of liturgies on selected Sundays (not every week) that focus on different topics relevant to the community in which we live, with the goal of Building A Beloved Community at Saint John’s. Readings, the gospel, and music will reflect the topics including, but not limited to: loving our neighbor, LGBTQ+ (we are all created in God’s image), food insecurity, homelessness, race and racism, and immigration. An insert will be included in the Sunday news that will provide information and resources available for each topic.


We hope these liturgies will help to keep us informed of what is happening in our local community. The more we learn, we increase our empathy towards all people, which allows us to be more connected to others. Saint John’s is in a period of transition, and working towards building a beloved community can be one way of addressing transition, thus becoming more relevant to our community. Relationships matter.


Do You Know Your Neighbors?


You cannot love your neighbor across the world if you do not love your neighbor across the street.


Total Population ** of Gloucester, MA    29,952

Race and Ethnicity**  90% white, 4% Hispanic, 2% Black, 2% Asian, 2% Other

Household Income**  Median Income $76,260, Per Capita $47,248,

Earnings**  34 % under $50K; 9.3 % under poverty line (6% seniors over 65 under the poverty line)

Housing**  63% owner occupied, 37% rental

Age**  24.1% over 65; 18.8% 55-64; 23.8% 35-54; 11.3% 25-34; 5.3% 19-24; 10.7% 5-17

Language other than English spoken at Home 10.7%

**2020 Census


A study done by Lahey Health in 2012 found that “Essex County and the region has a higher proportion of older adults, and a larger proportion of the households in the region have at least one member living with them that is over 65 years old.


Food For Thought


“We become neighbors when we are willing to cross the road for one another. (...) There is a lot of road crossing to do. We are all very busy in our own circles. We have our own people to go to and our own affairs to take care of. But if we could cross the road once in a while and pay attention to what is happening on the other side, we might indeed become neighbors.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen, Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith

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