“Brandings and Block Parties: Great Ways to Build Community”

On Victoria Day we had the privilege of participating in the annual branding at the VXV Ranch near Claresholm, AB.  My wife grew up on this ranch, so we try to show up for branding whenever possible, as this is a major event for the family—and for the community.  And this is the interesting part for me.  There are approximately 10 ranches in the area, and all of them brand calves in the spring.  And so most of the neighbors attend all of the brandings.  These brandings are a rare sight.  Neighbors all decked out in their Western attire, speaking in a Western dialect (with a bit of a southern drawl), and then enjoying a fine meal together afterwards (roast beef, of course!).  It’s amazing how working together can build community.  These ranchers know and love each other.  They help each other out in ways that I rarely see anymore.  Although they’re not all followers of Christ, in many ways they reflect the prayerful community of love that the church is called to be.  . . .  June is block party month in Lacombe.  This is another ideal way to build community in your neighborhood and to simply obey the biblical command to love your neighbor.  I invite you all to seriously consider hosting a block party.  No doubt there’s a bit of work involved—not as much as a branding!—but it’s worth it all when you see the relationships form in your neighborhood.

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