TAC’s initiative on small Christian communities
Small Christian communities, or SCCs, are groups of generally no more than 15 people who gather regularly to study Scripture, pray, discern, and dialogue together in more intimate settings than normally afforded at the parish level. SCCs take as their model early forms of church life in which members assembled locally to read or listen to Scripture and articulate how it applied to both their personal situations and to the developing vision of Christian mission. Some version of the SCC has likely been present in all eras of church history, but the practice was more formally refounded in the years following the Second Vatican Council, particularly within Latin American and African countries. From SCCs and Base Ecclesial Communities (BECs) in these countries, we learn the essential relationship between gospel reflection and direct action in our lives, church, and society.
Pope Francis has stated that the church of the future “will become smaller, lose many privileges, be humbler and more authentic and find energy for what is essential.” Francis’s former counterpart in the Christian East, Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch, expressed a vision for “a church dispersed like salt, seeking its identity in its vocation.” And the Catholic philosopher Gabriel Marcel once foresaw “small communities coming together like swarms one after the other to form what we might call centres of example.” SCCs serve as “training grounds” to inaugurate this church of the future—one that is, in Francis’s words, “more spiritual, poorer and less political; a Church of the little ones.”
In 2022, Today’s American Catholic launched an initiative to advance the work of small Christian communities. As part of this initiative, we are hosting online SCC gatherings via Zoom. While these are not a substitute for in-person gatherings, they offer participants opportunities for faith-sharing, dialogue, and study that might not be otherwise available. If you are interested in joining one of our emerging SCC groups, please get in touch using the contact form below. We are also happy to share resources and guidance with those interested in starting their own SCC, either in their own location or through our online platform. We have established this page as a home for all of our SCC-related resources. Mikroi (μικρός) is a key term in Matthew’s gospel that means “little ones” or “the least of these.”