This concepts has come up in a variety of discussions, and seemed like it should have a topic heading of it's own in this group.
Churches play a significant role in forming community for their members. In addition to the services, there are potlucks, chili suppers, fish fries, picnics, camp retreats, and more. At the airport yesterday, I say a large group of people, all ages, heading to Honduras on a "mission" - probably 25 people. I know they were a church group because of their green T-shirts proclaiming that they were a church group going to honduras on a mission (duh).
Certainly, not everyone wants to be part of a community. It can be conformist and stifling. Many atheists are rugged individualists. But for some, part of the time or much of the time, the role of community is needed. A|N serves a great role in this function, creating communities based on common interests (discussion groups) and blogs. But there is also a place for face-to-face, chit-chat, hand-shake, hug / back patting, communalism with the spagetti supper, ice cream social (seems like a lot of this is about food), volley ball in the park with no goal other than being together.
So.... What do you find that fills this role? What would you like to create? How would you go about it? Would you want this, or glad to be away from it?