Building strong relationships is hard work. Of the many aspects involved, we might choose the following as important requirements: availability, mutual respect, communication, shared interests and time.

Leaders in the early church had a challenging role to bring communities together and help them come to a common sense of identity and purpose, given the diverse religious and social background of the members. The writer to the Colossians lists some key ingredients that they saw as necessary. One was obviously a shared faith in Jesus as Lord and recognition of the God of Israel as the one true God. Beyond these core faith commitments are listed compassion, kindness, humility, willingness to forgive, love and thankfulness.

This week as we come together with our friends from Croydon Parish Players to celebrate their 63 years of performing theatre together and to bless them for the next chapter in their journey, it is worth noting that what makes this group tick – beyond a shared passion for theatre and performance – is their emphasis on building Christian community. It is this aspect that attracts and grows their members. The question for all of us is how are we making the investments needed to build strong, deep and resilient communities?