Fellowship (noun): 1. the condition or relation of being a fellow: the fellowship of humankind; 2. friendly relationship; companionship: the fellowship of father and son; 3. community of interest, feeling, etc; 4. communion, as between members of the same church; 5. friendliness.
One of the many other hats I wear in STARFLEET is Region 7 Recruiting Staffer. I’m trying to help revamp our PR material, and the mission statement I’ve crafted for the department is “Selling a Social Experience”.
One definition of social experience can be seen above: a community of interest. As members of a fandom, we are members of a community of interest. Actually, we’re members of one large community with lots of small subcultures… the larger world of science fiction/fantasy fandom breaks down into Trekkies, Star Wars fans, Harry Potter fans, Steampunkers, etc.
Fellowship can also mean a communion. I don’t interpret this to mean “partaking of a sacred meal in a religious context”, such as celebrating the Eucharist in a Christian church. Rather, I look at the broader meaning of belonging to a supportive community of like mind.
We bring a lot of different religions to our greater fandom community, a lot of different political opinions, and a lot of different cultures. But we can find a true communition of ideas with each other. Science fiction and fantasy are created around a hope that better worlds can be built. Even in the most dystopian, dark work, a hero (or band of heros) triumphs in some small way against the darkness.
How do we find fellowship in our fandom? We could start with that last definition: friendliness. Working a recruiting table definitely requires you to reach out and be friendly to random people. Though as we’ve defined above, they’re not truly random folks. They’re members of the fellowship of fandom. When I talk to them at the table, I’m not just trying to get them to join STARFLEET. I’m trying to make new connections.
We create fellowship in fandom by being friendly. By listening. By helping our our fellow fans in their time of need. By forging new connections with new friends. In participating in our chosen corners of fandom, we have communion with each other, in the common ground of the fandom.
Through that common ground, we can cross boundaries to find better understanding. I’ve met some very unique folks through fandom, from many countries, many political stances, many cultures. Many faiths. Through being willing to create fellowship, I’ve been able to bring my own unique faith, energy, and ideals to the fandom community.
Take a moment now, to think about what you bring to the fellowship of fandom. How can you forge new connections? What uniqueness do you bring to our collective diversity?