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Community was the focus of the Vision and Planning Retreat held Saturday, September 7th at Central Christian Church in Dallas. Rev. Dr. Katie Hays, from Galileo Church in Ft. Worth, led the workshop that was attended by Central members and representatives from neighboring communities who partner with Central to experience God’s transforming love.

Opening the meeting, Rev. Hays posed four queries, based on Quakers use of the term “Query,”, referring to a question or series of questions used for reflection and in spiritual exercises. Quakers have used Queries as tools for offering spiritual challenges for self-examination to the community for much of their history.  The queries included:

          How goeth it with my soul?

          Where did you see God in the past week?

          What is your body saying to you?

          How are you father along today than this time last week?

She went on to talk about American’s “Epidemic of Loneliness” and suggested that everyone google “Loneliness Epidemic” it to see what an impact it is having on society. 

“Kids the age of mine, Generation Z, collage age, have admitted that they are lonesome and psychologists have suggested that parents keep in close touch with their children to avoid the dangers associated with this epidemic.” Rev. Hays said. 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over a quarter of the U.S. population now live by themselves. Nearly one out of three older Americans now live alone -- and the health effects are mounting, experts say. 

“One in three seniors lives in isolation, meaning they have no contact with friends and family on a regular basis, and the impact of that on their health is phenomenal,” Rev. Hays said. 

Medical studies have suggested that loneliness is as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. That gets the attention of all the smokers who have quit!

Central Christian Church is tackling these problems and more by connection to community and inclusion of all, with interactive training like Saturday’s workshop and vision retreat. 

Individuals shared their personal experiences and the goals they would like to see accomplished by partnering with their neighbors. 

Following a “sing-a-long” of the new single, “Crowded Table” by the Highwomen, a song promoting inclusion that Rev. Hays says will be sung often in her ministry, everyone enjoyed lunch before the afternoon session of the workshop.

“I want a house with a crowded table, And a place by the fire for everyone, Let us take on the world while we're young and able, And bring us back together when the day is done."~Chorus from Crowded Table

If you would like to know more about God’s transforming love, visit Central in the sanctuary for 11 a.m. Sunday worship, or Central Community Dog Park at 9 a.m. the first and third Sunday of the month for “bring your dog to church,” or Disciples Women’s Ministries in the parlor at 10:30 a.m. the first Tuesday of each month.

Contact the church office for more information at 214-526-7291. 



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