Why should I get involved in a religious community?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 10,810
    Rock Schuler talks about the intangible spiritual benefits of being involved in a healthy religious community.

    Rock Schuler

    Rock Schuler is the Rector (Pastor) of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Olney, Maryland. He has served as an ordained minister of the Episcopal Church since 1990 after studying for the priesthood at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. He was awarded a Doctorate of Ministry in Congregational Development in 2002. In the course of his ministry, Rock has served on an Indian Reservation, in rural Wyoming, and in major suburban areas. In addition to pastoring the people of his congregation, he has been involved in community service projects to serve the homeless, refugees, and the addicted. He’s also been involved in international outreach projects in Latin America and Africa. Rock’s spiritual roots lie in the early Christian Church, in Native American spirituality, in the liturgical worship and traditions of the Episcopal Church, and most especially in his own personal relationship with the living Lord Jesus Christ. He appreciates the mystery and mysticism of the Christian faith while offering thanks for a lifelong and joyous love of Jesus. Rock, born in 1965, is from Wyoming, where he served his first two churches. He is married to Jennifer, whom he met while serving a parish outside of Philadelphia, and has two beautiful daughters, Leia and Rebecca. Rock is into science fiction and fantasy (especially "Battlestar Galactica," "Star Trek," "Lost," and "The Lord of the Rings"), movies, reading, kayaking/canoeing, hiking, and running.

    Speaker: What are some intangible, spiritual benefits to getting involved in a healthy religious community?

    Rock Schuler: When we talk about the intangible, spiritual benefits of being involved in a healthy religious community, I have really to talk from my own experience. For me, the religious community, the life of my fellow travelers on the journey of the spirit has shown me just how much God loves and cares for me. That has been an experience that has meant more than I can possibly describe throughout my life; in good times and in times of great trial; in times of bitter disappointment and failure and in times of wonderful success.

    Throughout at all, there has been a community of people gathered around me; fellow believers; from my parents, from my family, to the religious congregations that I have been a part of or that I have led, these communities have boasted me, have upheld me. They have celebrated with me, they have nurtured me. And at the core of everything that the religious community has done for me is this true that God so love the world that he gave his only son for me. I have taken that personally, I have found the ability to take that personally because it has been made personal for me and the lives of the people who have touched me. So, I know that through my fellow travelers on the religious community, on the religious journey, God shows me how much he has loved me. Their lives have made real, the life of Jesus for me and that is what I have found personally in being involved in a healthy religious community.