Principles of Gathering

The purpose of these Gatherings is to learn how to be good neighbors; to create intentional communities of neighbors within walking distance of one another.

 

We believe Gatherings should be:

 

Welcoming

It seems that most social groups are formed with a desire to bring together people with similar worldviews (such as a political or religious organization), goals, and cultures.  We humans have an innate gregariousness which is usually in tension with our fear of “the other”.
Neighborhood Gatherings are formed with the intention of changing those we consider to be other, or members of them, into members of us—not by converting them, but by accepting them and caring for them simply because they are our neighbors.  Neighbors are welcomed without regard to religion, politics, race, social status, wealth, gender, age, sexual preference, or ability to tell jokes.

Small & Local

Neighborhood Small Gatherings (NSGs) are intentional communities of people within walking distance of one another.
  • NSGs reduce dependence upon fossil fuels.
  • NSGs are able to identify and use more local resources.
  • NSGs encourage participation and dialog.
  • NSGs create an environment for friendship and mutual support.
  • NSGs can meet two of our greatest needs after essential needs have been met—Intimacy and Ultimacy, or the need to belong and the need for meaning and purpose.
  • NSGs are primary units of social change and participatory citizenship.
  • NSGs are where we can care for one another and be accepted for who we are without any façade.
  • NSGs can become an extended family and a healthy environment for raising children.
  • NSGs are where each voice can be heard.
  • NSGs are beautiful.

Non-hierarchical

Leadership and authority is based on service to the community rather than institutional position.
Leadership arises as needs are discovered.
Leadership is diverse, diffused, and situational. 
Different people may lead depending upon how their desire, experience and knowledge can be useful to the community at any occasion.  There is no central source of authority—each group is interdependent and self-governing.
The mode of authority is based on a power that operates with others rather than over others. 
The power to influence and be influenced (sometimes called Relational Power) trumps the power to dominate and control.
Self-control is encouraged—including the urge to control others.

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