Molloy: Sunday Gathering is a place for non-religious families near Vail looking for community (column) | VailDaily.com

Molloy: Sunday Gathering is a place for non-religious families near Vail looking for community (column)

Melanie Molloy
Valley Voices

The holidays tend to bring everyone together, despite our different religious creeds (or lack thereof). It’s a time when communities open their arms to others; it’s a time of inclusivity, when despite hectic schedules, we take time to donate and volunteer, when we can share what we have with others. A new year brings fresh possibilities, new opportunities for personal growth and forging new and meaningful friendships.

In Eagle County, we have numerous places and groups that do a wonderful job of creating opportunities for community involvement. The Eagle River Youth Coalition’s resource directory (eagleyouth.org/resources) and vailmoms.com are great starting points if you’re seeking ideas.

However, there does not appear to be one group that offers a family-friendly non-religious gathering. Congregations of the valley offer residents lovely avenues for fellowship. Youth organizations create plenty of things for kids to do. Sporting events make up a large chunk of the calendar.

Where can you go if you are an Eagle County resident who is non-religious or not affiliated with a religious group? If you crave the community feel that comes from a belonging to a congregation — seeing and talking with the same families each week, being reminded of the good we can do as a group from awesome speakers, your kids meeting up with other caring families, doing community service together for the betterment of the world and youth groups for teens who need a safe place to go on Friday nights — we hope Sunday Gathering, a non-religious, regular community gathering that is just beginning in Eagle County, is the answer.

Mental and physical health has been linked in many studies to community involvement. Many of us who live in this beautiful county have come here from afar. And, although it was our choice to leave our friends and family to move here, it would be an even better home if we had a community of support around us.

Sunday Gathering will include essentially everything that church provides, but without the religion. All people are welcome, regardless of beliefs. We strive to “expand, enlighten, engage and enrich” our community. We are working to get started this spring and have recently announced that Sunday Gathering has the amazing support of the Eagle River Youth Coalition as our fiscal agent.

We are ready to get creative and start planning our first events and are inviting you to be involved. Beginning in January, we will host two brainstorming nights (Avon and Eagle). We invite residents to join us to get rolling in the new year.

Find us on Facebook for now — Sunday Gathering (in Eagle County). If you have more questions, please reach out to one of the founders at SundayGatheringinEC@gmail.com. This is truly a community gathering and we welcome ideas and dialogue.

Melanie Molloy is an Edwards resident who has lived in the valley since 2001. She is a former Eagle County Schools teacher and mother of two young boys. She spends her time teaching her children, volunteering around the community, baking, reading and listening to intriguing podcasts.