Living in Close Proximity
Berkeley is a college town, and everyone pretty much lived within a mile from campus. With predictable and similar schedules—early mornings in class, late nights at the library— community just happened for us. No one needed to preach to us about “community,” because we lived it.
This living-in-community continued for those of us who decided to stay after graduation, first as bona fide working adults, and then for some of us, as parents. You’ll find many of us post-Berkeley folk in Alameda. Why? It just happened that way – the first wave of graduates who decided to stay at our church settled in Alameda and a pattern ensued as a significant portion of subsequent graduates followed.
And so, a striking feature of our church that people notice almost immediately is that most of our members live close to each other. Many of us even live within walking distance from each other, and we wouldn’t want it any other way. As a church, we’ve read many Christian books voicing the vital need for Christian community in our society today, and how the church cannot function well by meeting only one day a week, with everyone spread apart the rest of the week, living separate lives, not knowing what anyone else is doing. We believe that being the church means being a part of each others’ daily lives, which just won’t happen if people live 30 minutes away from each other.
Both in Berkeley and in Alameda, we try to live out the picture of the early church in Acts, enjoying close fellowship, sharing our time and resources, and trying our best to be the church together. Harried parents of young children and single guys who can’t cook can often find an open home to crash for dinner. Children often play and study together, and the parents share the many child-related tasks, tasks that can make life a chore at that season of life. Serving God in this kind of community not only makes it much more of a joy, it also makes it possible. Trying to live out a counter-cultural Christian life would be nearly impossible without such a close community of shared values.