Every Sunday morning, about 150 people meet at the Grand Haven Community Center, 421 Columbus Ave. Activities begin at 9 a.m. with a small group discussion with the lead teacher Kent Dobson or the guest speaker of the day. The Gathering follows from 10-11 a.m., and then a Talk Back session to continue the conversation.
Kent Dobson, who has been C3’s lead teacher since September 2017, speaks 26 Sundays per year. On other Sundays, guest speakers bring a variety of voices to the Gathering.
C3 is grounded in six intersecting values: common humanity, diversity, open inquiry, compassionate action, environmental sustainability and well-being.
Gatherings draw on reference points from poetry, philosophy, social science, and various wisdom and religious traditions. In this highly participative community, members and friends deliver the opening greeting, do the reading, prepare and present the mediation, and lead C3 Kids time.
Music is an essential element of the Gathering with dynamic contributions by singer/songwriters who share original stories and perspectives, and bring the power and connection of music to the morning’s experience.
C3 has a children’s program from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays, with three staff people and a volunteer to work with infants, toddlers and younger children. There is also youth group for fourth-graders to middle-schoolers.
With more than 300 members and friends, C3 considers itself open, inclusive and welcoming. Basic governance is through an elected Board of Trustees, and several volunteer teams that serve the organization and the greater community.
This “out of the ordinary” gathering group began as the Spring Lake Reformed Church in America in 1870. In 1970, it become Christ Community Church. In 2004, the name was changed to C3 Exchange, and now is simply C3, a creative, compassionate community.
The organization is involved in the local community and works to advance agendas of social justice in West Michigan. It has a strong connection to the City of Muskegon Heights through mentoring, volunteering in school libraries and gardens, and supporting the Muskegon Heights Branch Library.
C3 is a member of the International Charter for Compassion and creates and participates in events that enhance compassion and peace in our local area. Every third Sunday (Week 3 at C3), a project is selected to which community members can contribute.
More information is available at the website, www.c3westmichigan.org, and on Facebook. Sunday Gatherings are streamed live. There is also a YouTube channel and a weekly podcast.
“C3 continues to evolve to support a variety of spiritual and secular perspectives ,” Dobson said. “It’s stimulating, life-giving and generative.”
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