Fair warning up front: this is a lengthy article, 12 pages. It is well worth the read, giving interesting historical background, current situation, and a look to the future. When you click on the link here, it does not open a web page as usual but opens up a document. You can easily print it from there and take your time working your way through it. One further note: he is an Australia author and his references therefore are to the Australian church. That does not make them any less relevant to the church in the U.S……Reyanna
By David Timbs, August 18, 2014, Catholics for Renewal Website Document
The earliest evidence of the social makeup, function and mission of Christian communities is found in the letters of Paul, specifically in the introduction to his letters. These references, along with other details, provide clear evidence of the authenticity of his letters. His addresses follow a close formula: Paul apostlos ….. to the ekklesia tou theou (the assembly of God) which is in…..(Corinth). Another helpful key to understanding a particular Community is its location and its social environment. Conscious of the host culture of his communities, Paul invariably highlighted their Baptismal calling to be identifiably different in the way they treated one another and their non-believing neighbours, conducted themselves as responsible members of society. Paul addressed his converts as saints, ‘agioi, the distinctive ones, those
whose collective identity stood in sharp contrast with others by magnetic power of its sheer goodness.
Within that related field of meanings then, it is worth noting that one of the earliest words used for the gathering place of the Jesus Communities was paroikia, a rest stop for those on a journey; a place of temporary residence in a foreign land (Acts 13: 17; 1 Pt 1: 17 ‘a place of exile’) The English word parish derives from paroikia. (To continue reading, click here.)