Our congregation started as a small group, which allowed us to operate as one unit.
We expect that with time the amount of people will grow, and we’ll split into smaller groups (pods) for particular projects, with the congregation acting as a “dating pool“ to connect, pitch ideas and find people to launch projects / pods with.
We're growing our congregation organically, starting with developing emotional proximity before jumping into projects. We begun our microsolidarity work by creating a bi-weekly sharing circle, which acted as the "community heartbeat" and a space to get to know each other. The circle started in August 2020 and continues until today.
While we haven't been focusing on creating projects together, projects are emerging naturally (which is totally our intention anyway 😂). You can see what's happening here ⤵️
We're in the process of setting up a "scaffolding" for our congregation, based around bi-annual gatherings providing a heartbeat focusing the energy and attention.
We've started with a (quite disorganised) winter gathering in December 2020, and hosted our first "proper" gathering in June 2021.
The Summer Gathering was a great success, and we intent to host another gathering in October 2021 (moving to Spring + Autumn rather than Summer + Winter, as it fits better our context).
At the moment we're not planning on hosting extra activities in between gatherings (apart from the sharing circles), as there are numerous occasions for us to meet quite regularly anyway (think birthdays, music jams etc.). This is a part of our unique context in Pico: since we all live close together, we end up spending a lot of time together anyway, and the meeting spaces emerge naturally without much catalysing.
Our congregation doesn't have very clear boundaries, and participation is quite fluid. This emerged naturally due to our context, rather than an intentional design decision.
Part of the unique context of living in a small island, is that everyone kinda knows everyone. There are also numerous projects, groups and activities happening in the island, which haven't emerged from within our congregation.
With that in mind, as far as I'm aware, there are no other congregation-like projects in the island at this point, and the projects usually operate as individual units with some relational links between people, but without an explicit desire to be a part of a network.
Here’s a visual representation of some of the projects and pods happening within our congregation, as well as in the island.
It's usually a similar story:
Travelers / tourists discover a beautiful place. Many fall in love. Some decide to live there. Very few take the step to learn the language and integrate with the local community. As the foreign community grows, the need to connect with the locals diminishes and the gap widens until the only points of connection are supermarkets, accommodation and tourist companies.
We'd like our community to bridge this gap and be fully inclusive—both for foreigners and locals. We don't have it figured out yet, but it's a strong desire.