A sense of belonging is fundamental to our health and happiness, and this is as true for churches as it is for individuals.
National Church Life Survey indicators of healthy churches stress the importance of a warm and consistent welcome, nurturing worship, and an enriching sense of community.
Journey asked Uniting Church members, both long-timers and newcomers, why they belong to their church.
Maranoa Uniting Church cluster is comprised of six communities in an area approximately 200km square.
Roma is the centre of the region, and hosts a Uniting/Lutheran congregation.
Wallumbilla and Yuleba are to the east, Mitchell to the west and Injune and Arcadia Valley to the north.
The region is experiencing a new understanding of community because of the impact of coal seam gas.
Gail Price, long-time member, Arcadia Valley: Seems to me that "community" and "belonging" are one and the same.
The lovely part about worshipping in the Valley is that it doesn't matter if you are Catholic or Calothumpian … regardless of who leads worship, we all belong, and we treasure everyone's contribution.
Anyone who saw the working bee in the middle of the flood this year, from this wonderful community that supported me and my family when my husband passed away, would understand how precious belonging is.
Jodie Beitz, new member, Roma: In addition to my faith, I am drawn to our church in Roma by the sheer pleasure of the beautiful and kind-hearted people who attend the church.
They have all welcomed me as part of their community with open arms, and renew my faith in God each and every week, just by being the people they are and living by his word.
The words of our Reverend Linda Hamill inspire and assist in motivating our parish, and provide us all with a sense of belonging.
Oakey Uniting Church cluster is comprised of the Oakey, Jondaryan and Goombungee congregations under the leadership of one minister.
The Community Church at Maclagan is also part of the cluster, and the ministry is shared by Anglican, Presbyterian and Uniting Church ministers and lay leaders.
Olive Frizzell, long-time member, Oakey: I was confirmed in the Presbyterian Church at Allora when I was 16 years old.
I was a member of the Presbyterian Church in Oakey until it joined the Uniting Church 35 years ago.
My faith in God and the love of the church has enriched my life, and helped me through serious health problems with my husband over many years.
My life has been full, filled by the friendship made with other members and caring ministers.
Shannon Wessling, new member, Oakey: I will never forget the first time I went to the Oakey Uniting Church.
I was greeted with smiling faces happy to see me.
I'm in the place where God wants me to be at this time, and I'm glad I listened to God and made the change.
Been here seven months and counting …