Love Your Neighbour
Deep Cove Crier February, 1990I'll always remember big Glen and little Glen, Paul, Jimmy, Steven, and Brian. We all grew up in the Arbutus area in Vancouver in the early 60s. We played football together on our front lawns. We built tree forts together in the bush across the street. We even tried to "Dig to China" together around the side of our houses. Everyone in our neighbourhood knew each other (even the adults!). There was a warmth and community feeling that I took for granted until I moved to Montreal in 1965. Suddenly I lived in a city where no one knew their neighbours, where French and English rarely spoke to each other, where wealth and success swallowed up all the time people used to have for their neighbours. I enjoyed the excitement of Montreal and Expo'67, but I missed the intimacy and warmth of the local Arbutus neighbourhood.
Collapse of Community
While obtaining a degree in Social Work, I worked for the North Shore Neighbourhood House with "high profile pre-teens". During that time, I became aware of many groups on the North Shore using the word "Community". There were Community Schools, Community Centres, Community Health Clinics, Community Cable Companies, Community Resource Boards, Community Recreation Programs, etc., etc. It always puzzled me as to why with so many community agencies, there was often so little sense of real community at the neighbourhood level. Why had it become so hard to even know who your neighbours were, let alone "Love Your Neighbour as Yourself"?
In reading Lewis Drummond recently, part of the "Community" puzzle began to fit together. He said that for most of humanity's history, people lived in small, rural close knit (even tribal) communities. They fished, hunted, worked, farmed, and played together. Communication and community came easily in such an intimate environment. But since the industrial and high tech revolution, over 90 percent
to the burgeoning cities. In these massive urban areas, our neighbours are no longer our fellow workers or even necessarily our acquaintances. With the advent of television, radio and VCRs, the need for and the interaction with one's community has been further reduced. Leisure time can now be spent inside the four walls of one's own castle the home. Humanity, as Gavin Reid puts it, has moved into the "Post Community" era.
Community = Communication
Some have seen urbanization with the breakdown of community as a blessing. At last, they say, we can be alone and live our own lives without the gossip or interference of others. But in losing community, we lose a sense of belonging and security. Worst of all, when community collapses, so does genuine communication. For real communication is only possible in the context of a genuine community where trust and caring exist.
Restoration of Community
In light of Lewis Drummond's analysis, we in the Deep Cove/Seymour area must be grateful for the community feeling that still exists in our local area. We have not been as hard hit yet as some urban neighbourhoods. I believe we can give The Deep Cove Crier and the local community organizations credit for doing their part to preserve some remnant of community and communication in a fragmented world.
I also believe that the various churches in Deep Cove/Seymour (whether Protestant or Catholic) have played a vital part in preserving and restoring community in our area. That, in fact, is what each church in our area should be: A source of community and warmth and love in the Name of Jesus. Jesus said "Love your neighbour as yourself" If we take His teaching seriously, we in Seymour/Deep Cove will become better neighbours and a healthier community. May this be true in the 1990s.
Reverend Ed Hird
St. Simon's Anglican Church.
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St. Simon's Anglican Church
North Vancouver, B.C.