Resilience

Resilience is the ability to keep going.

In ecology resilience is defined as "... the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and reorganize while undergoing change so as to still retain essentially the same function, structure, identity, and feedbacks" (1).

Communities provide the main context for resilience. A community is “An assemblage of living organisms occurring together in an area” (2). Our communities of faith are communities within the larger communities where they are located.

The organization Resilience offers a large and varying amount of thought provoking information, concepts, strategies, educational programs on its website. It describes itself as "...a community library with space to read and think, but also as a vibrant café in which to meet people, discuss ideas and projects, and pick up and share tips on how to build the resilience of your community, your household, or yourself."

Foundations of resilience from the organization Resilience (3).

  1. People. The power to envision the future of the community and build its resilience resides with community members.

  2. Systems thinking. Systems thinking is essential for understanding the complex, interrelated crises now unfolding and what they mean for our similarly complex communities.

  3. Adaptability. A community that adapts to change is resilient. But because communities and the challenges we face are dynamic, adaptation is an ongoing process.

  4. Transformability. Some challenges are so big that it’s not possible for the community to simply adapt; fundamental, transformative changes may be necessary.

  5. Sustainability. Community resilience is not sustainable if it serves only us, and only now; it needs to work for other communities, future generations, and the ecosystems on which we all depend.

  6. Courage. As individuals and as a community, we need courage to confront challenging issues and take responsibility for our collective future.


All of the above are actually manifestations of faith and can be addressed within the context of faith.


(1) Walker, B., C. S. Holling, S. R. Carpenter, and A. Kinzig. 2004. Resilience, adaptability and transformability in social–ecological systems. Ecology and Society 9(2): 5.

(2) Access Science

(3) Resilience, Six Foundations of Community Resilience