Every community has leaders and heroes-and the same is true for virtual communities, like Beliefnet. We asked our community to highlight the members who especially inspired them this year, and we offer our appreciation to all.

Since July of 2003, Beliefnet member Heartwings has led the group Loving Souls. She beautifully embodies the group's mission: "We are a group of loving souls who come together to discuss our spiritual journey. While we may have many different beliefs, we all agree that we are traveling similar paths back to the One. Using love, kindness, compassion, sympathy, and God's light to discuss everything and anything. We come together to be happy, spread joy, encourage each other, and support each other." Join the next group

"He's been through more pain and grief than most of us can even imagine, yet he has chosen to care about others, to forgive and to teach through example," wrote one member about WarlordofKS. His family endured personal tragedy when his sister was murdered. Yet "he is, absolutely, the archetype of dignity, grace and forgiveness." "His heart is enormous," wrote member Human1. "He extends himself to us all no matter our differing life perspectives." SecondSonofDavid concludes, "WarlordofKS is the best possible representative for the highest ideals of BeliefNet."

Robinsgarret is admired for his "fierce compassion" and his "loving and life affirming story." His foster-parenting and adoption of two drug-addicted children has been an inspiration to members, who also cite "his loving, compassionate words of wisdom" and how "he responds to even the most inflammatory of questions and comments with patience, grace, and humility." Recently Robinsgarret invited members to join him in New York City to meet in person for the first time. Read the wonderful story of their encounter.

Everyone loves Ithilien for her wit and her way with words. "When she's on, the site sings," wrote one member. Another remarked, "She makes the U.S. Politics board fun." Her colleagues call her "intelligent, witty, opinionated, sexy and absolutely crackerjack with the English language." "You've got to admire someone who can discuss politics and church issues without goin' totally off on someone," says one member, "and with such big words too!"

Piecesofthewhole, is another inspirational U.S. Politics debater. "What a blessing it is to be in a cyberroom with her. Even in print her spirit is palpable," writes member Valgal. Caffeineaddict70 adds, "I have never come across anyone in my life who has the incredible combination of wisdom of the ages and childlike wonder that she does."

See the complete list of nominees

Get to know these, and other inspiring members in Beliefnet Discussions

Even if you have never posted online before, give it a try! You may be surprised at the welcome you'll receive. Veteran member Windsinger writes, "The most inspiring members to me are the posters who come to beliefnet, read for a while then take the courage to post. Us hardcore bnetters, who've been here for years, take the idea of posting for granted, and don't realize how hard it is for some of the best newbies, the ones who come here to learn and find community, to get started. So the newbies are my most inspiring members... every single last one of them."

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus