Resting at an affordable-to-all retreat centre, I am struck by a sense of belonging. Even though I am not a member of the United Church of Canada, nor of any congregation, such places help form my happy ‘tribe.’ When I travel throughout BC, I find my people—at Rivendell on Bowen, at Naramata Centre, at Mt Seymour United, at Oasis. I’ve been “hanging out with” the progressive United folks for about 16 years. They are very much part of my sense of home. I know different people feel this way at different places—whether that be in a painting group, post-secondary school, the Buddhist temple, an online forum, or a conservative church. In fact, one of the most helpful things one minister ever mentioned to me was that not even all United congregations are the same! He urged me to recognize and accept which environment is a fit for me, and to find that, rather than resign myself to “the nearest anything.”
For me, Oasis is one of the places I feel this deep sense of belonging. Its focus on the authenticity of each participant, and the many modes for expressing that, soothes and delights me!