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Dialectic of Community and Fragmentation in Organizing for Social Change
Unformatted Document Text:  10 afterwards and in terms of the intimate conversations that are held among community members who share their problems with one another. Moemeka (1996) explains that there can be no community without individual members who are able to serve selflessly. The sustenance of the community spirit demands that the hungry be fed, that the sick be looked after, and the community takes care of what the individual does for a living during periods of illness (Ewalt, 1998; Flora, 1992; Moemeka, 1989, 1998; William & Windebank, 2000). The centrality of selfless service is shown in the following summary of a Friday Night Supper by one of our research team members: One of the important lessons learned over the past two days was the role of community building in strengthening the bonds that tie people together. Community building is a process of doing things together, working toward a common goal, sharing thoughts, disclosing personal information, and giving from the heart. As volunteers in helping with this supper we did all of these things together but that was just our small circle. We were embedded in a larger circle that contained the members of the Good Works staff, and the community people who attended and worked at the Friday Night Supper. Together we made this supper a community building event. We prepared and cooked together. We served and ate together and cleaned up together. We shared our thoughts and our histories and we gave of ourselves. This was never a situation where we could have failed because we were embedded in a support structure that would not allow failure. This Friday Night Supper was about people connecting with one another, and that is what we did. When people connect with one another through sharing a part of themselves with another person and through listening to other’s stories we end the sorrow of isolation. Through sharing and listening and doing together we build not only a sense of community but support structures for people who too often feel that they are all alone in the world with their problems (Field Notes, 2000, p. 788-789). Religion is recognized as a way of life among many of the poor and among many of those who serve the poor. By religion is meant any traditionally recognized spiritual way through which people manifest their relationship with the almighty. Religion is used as a tool for keeping the social order and protecting

Authors: papa, Michael., Papa, Wendy., Wasserman, Keith., Kandath, Krishna., Worrell, Tracy. and Muthuswamy, Nithya.
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10
afterwards and in terms of the intimate conversations that are held among
community members who share their problems with one another.
Moemeka (1996) explains that there can be no community without
individual members who are able to serve selflessly. The sustenance of the
community spirit demands that the hungry be fed, that the sick be looked after,
and the community takes care of what the individual does for a living during
periods of illness (Ewalt, 1998; Flora, 1992; Moemeka, 1989, 1998; William &
Windebank, 2000). The centrality of selfless service is shown in the following
summary of a Friday Night Supper by one of our research team members:
One of the important lessons learned over the past two days was the role
of community building in strengthening the bonds that tie people together.
Community building is a process of doing things together, working toward a
common goal, sharing thoughts, disclosing personal information, and giving
from the heart. As volunteers in helping with this supper we did all of these
things together but that was just our small circle. We were embedded in a
larger circle that contained the members of the Good Works staff, and the
community people who attended and worked at the Friday Night Supper.
Together we made this supper a community building event. We prepared
and cooked together. We served and ate together and cleaned up
together. We shared our thoughts and our histories and we gave of
ourselves. This was never a situation where we could have failed because
we were embedded in a support structure that would not allow failure. This
Friday Night Supper was about people connecting with one another, and
that is what we did. When people connect with one another through
sharing a part of themselves with another person and through listening to
other’s stories we end the sorrow of isolation. Through sharing and listening
and doing together we build not only a sense of community but support
structures for people who too often feel that they are all alone in the world
with their problems (Field Notes, 2000, p. 788-789).
Religion is recognized as a way of life among many of the poor and
among many of those who serve the poor. By religion is meant any traditionally
recognized spiritual way through which people manifest their relationship with the
almighty. Religion is used as a tool for keeping the social order and protecting


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