On Wednesday evenings this past month, members of my church (that “my” is intended loosely!), St. Philip’s in the Hills Episcopal Church, have been gathering to talk about “beloved community.” These discussions have been led by members of the Beloved in the Desert intentional community of young adults at our church that I first mentioned a couple months ago. Now that their series has concluded, I’m feeling nudged by the Spirit to share some elements of the conversations and my reflections upon them.

St. Philip’s is the largest Episcopal church in Tucson, and one of the oldest. In fact, it has helped found a number of the other churches in Tucson over the decades. It has a large, charming, Spanish mission-esque church campus with desert plants, picturesque courtyards, and lots of nooks and corners for prayer and reflection (you can check out the many gorgeous photos of the campus posted by community members here).

I will freely admit that I’m not generally a big-church person. I have preferred belonging to smaller communities. My best conversations happen 1-with-1; that’s my most comfortable style. I’m not a big fan of some of the seemingly inevitable big-church priorities, like brass plaques commemorating who donated what. St. Philip’s is known for its music program, to which dozens