HOUSE NEWS: Another year in the books

Well folks, last week marked another year in the books for us (that makes it 9 years in the Green (formerly Blue) House, and 13 since this all started). We are officially on our summer (semi-)sabbatical from now until the middle of August. It is a chance for us to catch our breath some, spend time with family, make up for lost time on other work, and just try and quiet life down for a little while. The work doesn’t ever fully stop: Kelli is painting the stairs this week, we have one long-term guest who will stay with us over the summer, and several times a week (sometimes a day!), the doorbell will ring with a request for help of some kind. But it will be quieter, less busy, and we’re thankful for that.

Before we fully enter into the summer break, we do want to just take a moment and say thank you. Thanks to every one of you who are part of this experiment, part of this community, part of this family. What none of us could possibly do alone, we do together year after year. I cannot think of anything else to say but thank you. I hope you know how much we cherish each and every one of you, how grateful we are for every hour given, every piece of food shared, every skill offered in service, every prayer said, every kindness extended, every dollar contributed. I think that together we truly are becoming that “revolution of the heart” which Dorothy Day called for. So thank you…

And because I’m a numbers guy, I always like to give you some concrete stats that capture at least a slice of what we do together ever year. Over this past year, the 2012-13 school year, we have:

  • prepared and served 2,334 meals at Dorothy’s Farmers’ Market Cafe on Wednesdays
  • prepared and served 2,480 breakfasts at Breakfast@theGreenHouse
  • provided overnight shelter to 23 different guests for a total of 314 nights

Additionally we have shared and distributed thousands of pounds of fresh produce (supplied by the farmers at the 441 Alachua County Farmers Market, Porters Farm, Forage, the Green House Gardens, Black Acres Microfarm and others); worked together on arts and crafts projects through Art for All and the Green House Knitters; been available to people who needed to use the phone or the bathroom, get a blanket, rest, or just sit and talk with someone who cares; and more.

Below I have collected about 40 photos that witness to our life over the past year. Take a look and then look below the slideshow for a special word on plans for the fall semester…

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With Vickie, Gloria, Clayton and Oliver now moved out and moved on, we realized that for the first time since we’ve been in the Green House, we don’t have anyone committed to living here in the house for the next semester (with the exception of our immediate family)! Sometimes decisions are made at the last minute and we may very well have someone(s) moving in when August rolls around….but if we don’t, we’re going to experiment a little to try and share the work. One idea that we’re exploring is piecing together short visits to the house — be it an overnight stay for someone who has a free day or two and would like to visit and help out, to longer stays (a few days, a weekend, week or longer) for people seeking a retreat/service experience, an immersion into life at a Catholic Worker House, and so on. We hope to have more details worked out after the summer break, but we’re open to experimenting with different possibilities and creating opportunities for anyone who might like to experience life here first-hand.

Secondly, we may need to rely on a few individuals to step up and commit to a higher level of responsibility for a particular project at the house. We’ve done this before, with great success, and we know we have so many folks who already function in much this capacity without all the formalities.

So that is a little glimpse of what is to come. Until we see many of you again in mid-August, we hope you have a great, peaceful and fun summer.


Posted on 07/02/2013, in HOUSE NEWS. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Sheila Broderick

    Nice entry Johnny. I enjoyed the slide show. 🙂

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