Editor’s Note: On this twelfth day of our Advent blog series “Hidden Joys,” former DC Service Corps volunteer and current FMS House Manager Fatima Godfrey reflects on living in intentional community. 


I assume “community” is not a word commonly used on a daily basis for the average person. I can certainly say “community” only became a regular part of my vocabulary after I lived in my first intentional community last year. Although community is not often recognized in the mundane happenings of everyday life, community is all around us. Each person belongs to a community. From birth we become part of a community and continue to become members of other communities as life goes on. I was born into a community in my home city of Oklahoma City. When I moved from OKC for university, I became part of many communities while on campus. Once I graduated I moved to Washington, D.C. for a year of service with FMS to live in intentional community. I now live in my second intentional community, and here, in community, is a meeting made of hidden joys. 

In my intentional community, I find the hidden joys of art projects in progress, the smell of baked goods and desserts, the voice of a warm “welcome home.” I find the hidden joys in every seat filled at the dinner table and cultivating a sacred space of sharing and belonging during prayer nights. It is living in intentional community where I have the honor to see the personal stories of my housemates intertwine to create God’s greater story of salvation. 

This Advent I reflect on the gift of community, particularly in the story of the Visitation. How comforting Elizabeth’s presence, warmth, and welcome was to an expecting Mary, and vice versa. In all stages of life, God provides channels of support and accompaniment easily found in the members of a community. Each person can follow in Mary and Elizabeth’s example of revealing God’s presence in the daily encounters, in the hidden joys. 

Reflection: What are the hidden joys revealed to you in community?