Why do a service year?
There are many reasons. Here are a few:
- “I was drawn to the opportunity to belong to a movement bigger than one person, bigger than myself.” (Lily)
- “Service work can be a productive way to try on a career and see if it fits.” (Sarah)
- “I was buying some time to make bigger life-direction decisions.” (Cara)
- “I chose to do Americorps because I believe that service to others is a duty not a hobby.” (Patience)
So what exactly does it mean to be a part of the Houses of Hospitality?
Participants in the Houses of Hospitality live in one of the two TCHH houses, work in service, and meet weekly as one community. At our weekly community night, we share a meal, we check in with one another, and we engage in discussing and exploring issues of spirituality, vocation, justice, service, and ourselves. Non-residents are invited to join our community events as well.
It is just cheap housing?
No, though the low rent of TCHH “has allowed us to serve our communities without having to worry excessively over our living situations” (Laura), being a part of the Twin Cities Houses of Hospitality requires time and energy to invest in our community. In being an intentional community, we do not just live together, we create a communal living environment together. Weekly meetings do take time out of our already busy schedules. However, this time can be really rewarding when we create a community of support for one another and, together, can delve deeper into the issues that arise every day in our lives.
“The choice to spend [time] together did mean we each sometimes missed out on something else, but choosing each other became a powerful bond for us.” (Cara)
What do you all do together?
In our weekly meetings this year we have participated in and discussed life mapping, mental health, leadership styles, the enneagram personality types, hospitality, listening circles, Buddhist meditation, vocation, Qi Xiong, worship styles, holiday traditions, spiritual direction, life after college, and ways to pray.
Sometimes we have guest speakers and sometimes one of our group members leads our time together. We have also been hosted for delicious dinners and fun conversation at the homes of sponsoring congregation members. This year, we participated in an all-day art retreat with MICAH (Minnesota Institute of Contemplation and Healing) and we hope to have more retreats next year.
Members also have participated in community events together. This year, we attended the Selma to Minnesota march and an all day Mental Health First Aid workshop. We also try to hang out and do fun things together. Recently a group attended an AmeriCorp themed trivia night. Members also check out local venues for poetry readings, dancing, and outdoor excursions.
Do I have to be Christian to apply?
No! Our sponsoring congregations are Presbyterian and our mission comes out of our belief in Christian hospitality, but we aim to be an interfaith organization.
We do require that participates engage in their own faith/spirituality and find a place of meaningful participation in a local community of spirituality/faith for the year of their residence.
What if I’m looking for a community, but already have housing?
TCHH hopes to be a community for young adults in service throughout the Twin Cities. If you’d like to join in our community events or weekly community time, know that you are welcome! Please contact Star at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more what’s happening this week!
What do people like about being a part of TCHH?
“Some positive things about participating in the TCHH program are the “enrichment” discussions that happen every week. These are spiritual or vocational in nature and help members make friends with community members. They also provide a space to exercise abstract and spiritual thinking, which provides a “bridge” from the collegiate world of academic thought to the non-academic world.” (Laura)
“The houses are in great proximity to AmeriCorps member sites and are well suited for the simple living aspect …I also enjoy seeing the growth in the community members. Some of us came into this program knowing what we wanted to do and some had absolutely no clue, but I have seen growth in everyone that will help them reach their highest potential.” (Toska)
“The sponsors for this programme were so gracious and generous to us and I am grateful. I plan on reflecting the kind of hospitality the church showed me towards others.” (Patience)
What is challenging about being in TCHH?
Living together can be challenging. We commit to practicing conflict mediation and engaging in difficult conversations when they arise. Additionally, the community time together is a big commitment.
“A challenge of living in a TCHH house is preparing for these [weekly] discussions and setting aside time every week to do so.” (Laura)
Direct them to our Program Coordinator, Star at email@example.com .
Quotes come from current residents as well as friends of the program who have participated in a service year in the past.