Community, Community, Community
By Carter Rief
My experience with the Capital Fellows program has been nothing short of exceptional thus far. The twelve of us fellows arrived at the retreat center on a cool summer afternoon a couple Sunday’s ago. We all probably felt some level of nervousness as we all started to semi-awkwardly congregate in the parking lot of the retreat center. We greeted each other with the typical, “Hi, I’m blank. I’m from blank. I graduated from blank.” We each made our way around the group. In spite of the awkward (which was certainly present during those first few minutes) we made it through introductions. John Kyle, executive director of the Capital Fellows program, left us all together and essentially forced us to bond. And really, the whole retreat was designed to bring us together at warp speed. We ate together, prayed together, shared our testimonies, laughed with each other, and I think we all took a deep breath once we realized that this group of strangers wasn’t so strange to each of us any longer. After the retreat we all met our host parents (shoutout to Jeremy and Ashley!), moved into our rooms, put out pictures and knick-knacks, and I’d wager that we all started to miss each other for the first time. In just a few days’ time, the friendship glue had stuck.
Christ-centered, grace-filled community is living and experiential. It requires action and attention, not just thought.
“Community” has been a key term for us. It’s something that we’ve talked about a lot as a fellows class, and more than that, it has become, for me, an extremely visceral part of my experience in the program so far. Some people might say that the Church has turned “community” into a bit of a buzzword: community this, community that, community here and there and everywhere, community, community, community. It might feel as if that word gets printed on every flyer; it shows up on every slideshow that runs before the service starts; it makes its way onto every Christian post on social media. I think there’s some truth to that. More accurately, I think “community” is a part of the Christian life that’s difficult to get right, and thus, we let it slip into this two-dimensional rallying cry that we only sense with our eyes on church bulletins and phone screens. I think we forget that Christ-centered, grace-filled community is living and experiential. It requires action and attention, not just thought. The thought of it should compel our hearts to engage, our bodies to move, and our voices to pray for and with each other.
This life isn’t a solo adventure. It requires us to lean on each other, pray for each other, laugh with each other, and cry with each other.
I say all of this to just try and get at this point: that friendship glue that I eluded to earlier is more than just newfound camaraderie. It’s Christ-centered, grace-filled community, and in just ten short days, being a Fellow has taught me that it is an indispensable part of the Christian life. This life isn’t a solo adventure. It requires us to lean on each other, pray for each other, laugh with each other, and cry with each other. What am I excited about during my Capital Fellows year? I’m excited to see why the Lord crafted this fellows community in the way that He did. I’m excited to be challenged and encouraged beside Alex and Laura and Amy and Mollie and Rachel and Brian and Nathalie and Carter and Sarah Frances and Esther and William. I’m excited to experience, alongside each one of them, what it means to be the living, breathing community of Christ here on earth. I’m excited, too, to have made a group of forever-friends!
We are thankful for your continued thoughts and prayers as we embark on this season together. See you next time!
A Word from the Executive Director of Capital Fellows
Welcome to the 13th year of the Capital Fellows program! We are excited to see all that God will do in and through this group of young leaders this year. This class has 12 fellows, coming from 11 universities and 8 states. You can learn more about them here. Including this class, God has blessed us with more than 150 Capital Fellows!
On behalf of the 60+ people involved with leading this program, I would like to thank you for your interest and investment in this group of fellows. I'd also like to thank Carter Rief, one of of our new fellows, for writing this first blog post of the year. We will be publishing blog posts from the fellows once each week during the program year. It's a terrific way to keep up with them and to see the program from different perspectives. As you receive each post, please take time to pray for the fellows and the entire Capital Fellows team.
Grace and peace in Christ,
Pictures from the Week
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