I was overjoyed to find this handbook which covers every aspect for community living at its best from an eco village in Canada. I can’t wait to find out if we can adapt this to our needs.
Sharing personal stories about my life is one way to let you get to know me, the coordinator of Jesus Vegans Project. That’s why I am sharing this:
Taking a moment while everyone is getting ready to go out for our traditional Christmas walk and playing games to share a funny and touching story. Yesterday I walked home from Value Outlet with two big trashbags of stuff that I had bought. nothing fancy–very useful gifts. A truck pulled up with a sign “Razorback Marching Band” on its side while I was walking by the gas station. “Can you carry another bag,” a smiling woman asked. “Sure,” I said, surprised. A green bag was tossed out to me, and I hope I thanked them! I looked inside to see an abundance of chocolate candy.
I knew I needed to give this away quickly so I wouldn’t be tempted. So when I saw a trio of black basket ball players, I gave them a big bag of M n M’s. They were thrilled. “Merry Christmas,’ I called out. Then I went home where Mahriyanna Kersbergen put ribbons around a few big bags, and I quickly made some cards and went to a few neighbors who accepted the gifts with big smiles and thanks.
A new neighbor, who Robert had met, was standing on her balcony. I offered her some candy, and she came down. I found out she was the daughter of a couple I know, the owners of Bean Mountain Farms–and we had a great conversation. This is what happens when people are kind–it spreads like ripples. I feel grateful to that couple. Maybe I wasn’t homeless, but they gave to someone who could spread the good cheer. Their hearts were in a beautiful place, and I feel grateful.
Usually Chris, Cliff and Mahriyanna go up to Resurrection Church near Kingston to worship and fellowship. But today the roads were icy, and so we all decided to spend time together. It was a marvelous day. We started out with some heartfelt worship songs with Chris on guitar and Mahriyanna playing piano. We are so blessed to have a worship team in our community! I had a vision of something that I experienced about 14 years ago which I hope to write about soon. That was pretty profound for me.
I like the way we weave together prophetic words during songs, prayers and scripture reading in between. Just like the old days twelve years ago when we attended the small house church in Living Springs where Cliff, Mahriyanna, Robert and I surrendered our lives to Christ. We all flowed and felt connect to God and each other.
Sharing a meal is always a good thing with us. My simple Black Bean stew which had cooked on our wood stove since yesterday was yummy. A fresh salad with stuff contributed by all of us gave us some healthy enzymes. I can’t wait till we are growing salad ingredients inside~
Then we went out and played kickball in the snow. We learned that it is lots of fun to play, even with only 5 people. We got some good exercise and had some good laughter as well.
Cliff and I talked about the old days when we had such adventures as hitchhiking from Arkansas to California and when we got to San Diego we only had a dime to make a phone call to my parents. I suggested that us getting together was the beginning of our community. That was almost 40 years ago! We’ve got some staying power.
Mahriyanna wrote on her facebook about today the following:
What a great day! Thank, you Father, for community.
One of the things our community aspires to do is get help with major decisions. With Chris getting ready to graduate this Dec. 21, 2013, he has many decisions to make. Also, we are looking at how to invite other people into our circle, specifically one person who is interested in exploring joining our community. The Clearness method, created by the Quakers, is one way to collectively listen the Holy Spirit guide us.
I feel very grateful to Teresa Blythe for this article in her blog about the Clearness Committee.
I love reading a clear explanation of how exactly to do this. I used to have a little booklet about the Clearness Committee given to me by a member of East Wind Community where I lived for about six months. Wow! That was 18 years ago, when the internet had not even come into existence.
What amazes me is that many of the modalities that I have studied and been inspired by, but have not used that much, are still thriving. Open Space Technology is one such example. Consensual decision making is another. How grateful I am that even when I did not consciously surrender my life to Jesus, I still tuned into truths that were lasting. Because of this experience, I am convinced that a person does not have to be surrendered to Jesus to hear his voice. He meets us where we are at if we are doing our best to seek the Truth.
The beautiful thing about being part of a committed, intentional community is that we can experiment with methods such as the clearness committee and we can benefit from this, and also share it with others. I feel so grateful for Wellspring Community. We are having an extra meeting today because it is too hard to drive out to Living Springs for church, and so we are meeting in our home.
I feel so happy that our community gets this need met through each other. We can be honest with each other. We have nothing to hide. We are not perfect, but we sure experience knowing and being know deeply. Greg talks about this in this sermon which is so inspiring and reflects what we aspire to. I pray that soon, very soon, we will be able to invite more people to our circle.
We are going to have a Christmas sing along on Christmas eve day, some where in Fayetteville with folks who would enjoy some company–place to be determined.
We started out with singing Christmas carols, then shared how God is working in our lives. We decided to buy a water purifier to help a needy family in Asia. Lots of little things to discuss and come to agreement about, and it is wonderful that we are so often on the same page.
Played cards for fun at the end while discussing the meaning of such Greek words as phileo and agape. We are so sophisticated!
I love my community a bunch–oh, and Mahriyanna made a marvelous dinner of baked butternut squash and rice while I threw together a salad at the last minute.
Hugs all around, and Chris and Cliff go to their home. We feel so blessed. And it is so nurturing to have a wood stove to gather around and keep warm by along with a house that continues to yield more space as we downsize and de-clutter.
I’m glad we meet regularly, every other week. This really helps us stay connected and moving forward to a time when we can welcome other potential members. We are going to host a Christmas sing along for the Veterans Hospital Christmas eve day. That will be a wonderful way to include people in our community activities.
I love this man! Thank God for his contribution to humanity.
Nelson Mandela is one of my heroes. When I listened to a book on tape about him, I was in awe of what an amazing peace-maker he was. Here is an article talking about his life and death: http://forusa.org/blogs/kelvin-sauls/reflecting-mandela-disposition-reconciliation-restoration/12229