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Life Together: The Diomass Intern Program

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Church of the Holy Spirit Mattapan's young adults strike up canned goods and fun

Young adults at Church of the Holy Spirit Mattapan (CHS) recently hosted their first service event of the year, a bowl-a-thon and canned food drive at Ron's Bowling in Hyde Park.

About 10 CHS young adults turned out to help make the event a great time to relax, reconnect and most importantly -- take part in some very competitive candlepin bowling.

LifeTogether Relational Evangelist Kendyll Hillegas coordinated the food-raiser through her internship with CHS. "All-in-all, an excellent evening," Hillegas said. "We're excited for our next event coming up in December. Watch the wires for news!"

Click below to read more about Church of the Holy Spirit Mattapan's young adult service work.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

How to reconstruct your mind in one week, five easy steps

This week was wild, and I am thankful for it.

As a Micah intern in the LifeTogether program, I have a wide array of learning and activism opportunities available to me. I never thought that one week could bring so many of them together. Between my work placement as ESL Program Coordinator for the Irish Immigration Center, my leadership role in the progressive Christian worship community downtown called The Crossing, and a tip from an in-the-know fellow intern, I have gone nonstop for the last six days. Such is LifeTogether.

On Monday, I attended a training in how to help the learners in my ESL program advocate for themselves and ask pique questions in order to play a role in making the decisions that shape their and their families' lives. The organization which gave the training is called The Right Question Project, and I am grateful to have a supervisor wise enough to know how useful their help can be (and was.)

On Tuesday night, I attended the Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries' 43rd annual Meeting and Awards dinner, whose theme was "Social Change and the Spirituality of Hope: Dialogue and Action in Interfaith America." Christian, Muslim, Quaker, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist leaders all spoke on their faith traditions and how to apply them to the world and its current challenges. I met a group of intentional community-ers who also live in Brookline at the Kavod House and got a dinner invite from them. Mingle, network: check.

Wednesday night was more relaxed. I helped out with a regularly scheduled class at the Irish Immigration Center, and had the privilege of helping to teach for about 15 minutes.

Thursday brought Transcriptions, a transgender open mic night hosted by The Crossing. The event included poetry, a comedic routine, vocal and instrumental performance, memoir-style narrative, confessions and more. I can't quite explain the atmosphere of the event - strange, real, warm, catharsis and support are five words that come to mind. I had to leave at quarter past ten when Ms. Transgender New England was rocking out while being recorded by Emerson students for a documentary. That was awesome in iteslf, and I was sad to go. Then I heard that there were five interviews with the night's performers after I left. Fellow intern and relational evangelist at The Crossing Justin Harvey told me that the night kept up its delightful and enchanting spirit until half past eleven.

Friday night put me in front of an entirely different stage as I watched an operatic performance of The Crucible, assistant directed by another of my fellow interns. It was truly haunting as it was set in a large, old gothic church and brought up what I saw as some of the same issues of justice and relevancy that the LifeTogether program is exploring this year.

Today, Saturday, I took it easy. After having circled around from advocacy training to interfaith celebration to transgenderism to an excellent opera, my mind is ready for another sabbath in the weekend.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

General Convention '09, Boston: Pictures

LifeTogether against blue skies and the Pru

Did you get a party favor from our display booth?
(There was also a lot of good info there, which you can find on this blog and in the links on the upper righthand corner of this page)

Trinity Church in Copley Square served as a spacious host for the convention

Rachel and Tyler are happy...maybe because the auction was a huge success?
Can't wait to host that $450 dinner at the LifeTogether house in Allston!

Thanks to Kathryn Kendrick for taking the above pictures. 

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Church Business: The Most Boring Thing That I've Come to Love

This post was written by Relational Evangelist Kelsey Rice Bogdan. 

If you've ever sat in a long, slow business meeting at work, you know how downright dull they can be-- the endless budget numbers, the minutiae that people continue to discuss long after you've ceased to care, the occasional fights that leave one party or the other bruised. Now, when most of us think of the things we love about church, on the other hand, we think of the inspiring worship or the warm hospitality of a church potluck. Maybe we think of a transformative mission trip to the Gulf Coast. My guess, though, is that most of us don't think of the church business meeting. It's like a meeting at work, except that we're usually there on our day off. And the church business meeting, whether it is in the vestry of the local congregation or a meeting of the entire denomination at the General Convention, also becomes the battleground for some of our most un-Christian and public fights. I've been to many denominational business meetings over the years, and seen many of the ways in which they cast light on how far from God's vision of justice and love we really are. All in all, it doesn't seem like much fun.

And yet, I must confess that sitting on my pew at Diocesan Convention here in Boston, listening to some guy give an extremely thorough Power Point presentation on clergy compensation at 9 am on a Saturday morning, I had a feeling in my heart that John Wesley once described as "strangely warmed." And I realized that I love church business meetings. We spend a lot of time talking during worship about what it means to be Christians in our everyday lives. We may go chat for a while at coffee hour after church, or maybe we go volunteer with our church group in the walk for breast cancer once a year. For some of us, those are the biggest training grounds for living out our faith. But the church business meeting... that's the place where we begin to really practice what it means to live a Christian life. Because it is there that we must learn how to talk across difference. It is there that we are faced with the complexity and beauty of the body of Christ in all its fullness. It is in the church business meeting, boring as it is, that we can open ourselves to the Spirit's teaching about the everyday task of discipleship-- not a series of "mountaintop" emotional highs, not always full of glorious organ strains or richly colored stained glass, but the faithfulness it takes to deal with the little details that make a big difference to our sisters and brothers.

Take the aforementioned clergy compensation discussion. While it may not have the excitement of a discussion about mission (which was actually yesterday's really inspiring presentation), the Diocese's decisions about paying priests and other workers makes sure that those people have the resources they need to continue their ministry to all of us. And it is a justice issue, too-- we can't demand justice for the world's workers in the name of Jesus Christ if we don't pay our own laborers their day's wages. The decisions we make here are a tangible expression of how we live as Christians in the world, and give force to our witness to Christ. This IS the body of Christ at work.

Plus, let's face it-- church business meetings are just plain funny. Where else can you see Bishop Tom Shaw's 15 years of distinguished service to the Diocese commemorated by-- and I'm not kidding--a bag of manure? Follow that up with Bishop Bud Cederholm leading all of us in a rousing rendition of "Sweet Bishop Tom," to the tune of Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline," and you've got stuff to put a smile on your face all day. Last night at a fundraising auction, a homemade Episcopal-logo Snuggie fetched double the price at auction of a Josh Beckett-autographed baseball. Where else would that happen? Where else would anyone pay $650 for a SNUGGIE?!

So if you want to see the church at its most authentic and, yes, heartwarming, take your precious Saturday and check out some church convention or business meeting. You may need a big cup of coffee to stay awake, but if you pay attention you'll find yourself drawn deeper into discipleship and real Christian love.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Convention was amazing!

Hey y'all,  name's Luke Dodge, and I am a relational evengelist at Northeastern University. Tonight was my first Episcopal Convention experience... and it was amazing! The day was filled with many positive moments, and I would like to highlight two of them.

The first was when I witnessed the incredible energy of a bursting crowd of 700 church members as they stood to their feet with a torrent of support after hearing Jason Long, the assistant director for the Life together program, tell his story and dream that he feels God has for a 'new church' that is intentional about seeking to love others.

The second experience that really stands out for me was during the fund raising auction. Bishop Tom Shaw and other priests eagerly bid their way up to $800 dollars to have dinner with us at our intern house in Brookline... I was overflowing with joy in the moment of seeing this demonstration of a church supporting a young adult movement that is so close to my heart.

Today was an amazing experience, containing just a few of many God moments during this year at the Life Together program.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

20 interns turn out close to 400 volunteers for September 11 service

Who you gonna call when you need to mobilize 60 people to pick up 2,000 lbs. of trash in one day - in the pouring rain?

The Diomass Interns.

This September 11 and 12, a group of twenty young adult employees of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, collectively called Life Together: The Diomass Intern program, recruited over 350 church and lay volunteers to participate in local community service events. One of these involved drawing over 60 people up to West Newbury to pick up trash from the property of the church-owned Emery Spiritual Retreat House.

LifeTogether  is a strategic ministry project begun with the support of Bishop Tom Shaw to increase youth awareness of the intersection between the Episcopal faith and community action.

Other service events included painting a mural at St. Stephen’s church in Lynn, at which Joshua DuBois, President Obama’s Director of Faith-based Initiatives, made an appearance.  

Interns are based at 12 churches and 7 nonprofit community and faith-based organizations. There is a network of over 50 diocesan and community-based leaders supporting the lives and work of the interns through their eleven month term of service.

It encompasses two programs: The Micah Project, through which twelve of the interns are working to build justice in community site placements; and the Relational Evangelism Project, a group of eight additional interns working to recruit youth into leadership roles in Hope in Action, a diocesan campaign to alleviate national poverty.

A third aspect of the Life Together program is living in intentional community; 15 out of the 20 interns live in housing provided by the diocese and have committed to developing a living model for youth engagement in the Episcopal church.