Dictionaries generally assign two distinct meanings to the word "community" when applied to human beings. A community is either a group of people that interact regularly by sharing time, relationships, or the same space, or it refers to a national or international entity bonded by one or more unique conditions held in common.

In human communities, belief, motivation, intent, resources, preferences, needs, risks, and a number of other conditions may be present and common, affecting the identity of the participants and the degree of strength in their cohesiveness.

The word "community" is derived from the Old French communité which is derived from the Latin communitas (com, "with/together" + munus, "gift"), a broad term for fellowship or organized society. Churches, hospitals and schools would have easily been defined by communité.

Since the advent of the Internet, the concept and development of community has greatly expanded and changed innate character. There is less geographical limitation, as people can now gather virtually in an online community and share common interests regardless of physical location. Prior to the Internet, virtual communities (like social or academic organizations) were far more limited by the constraints of available communication and transportation technologies. The most powerful dynamic at play, however, isn't the technologies, but the speed with which sharing takes place.

David McMillan and David Chavis are credited with the identify of four elements of "sense of community":

  1. membership
  2. influence
  3. integration and fulfillment of needs
  4. shared emotional connection

Psychological studies conducted at the university level show substantial evidence that young adults who feel a sense of belonging in a community, particularly small communities, develop fewer psychiatric and depressive disorders than those who do not have the feeling of love and belonging. And that wellness is magnified exponentially within communities based on the bond of faith in a higher power.

To that end, it is the belief of Interfaith Renewal Center that providing opportunities and tools for people coming together with one common bond of belief in God, without dogma, criticism, or preconditions to the outcome of their sharing, will, with God's direction, find true renewal of faith, spirit and the value of human condition. Each member of the faith community influences another, finds strength in sharing the fulfillment of mental and emotional needs, and develops a stronger connection with the Father.

We hope you will share the exploration of community with us. Sharing the faith, traditions, and human condition of others empowers all who are open to expanding their belief and sense of purpose. There is no greater exploration!