We’re excited to start a new semester at the GCW! This opening week kicks off with a very special event that we hope many of you will be able to attend. Read on for more info and for a list of some of the highlights for this week…
GALILEO OF GAINESVILLE BENEFIT ON THURSDAY EVENING: This play, created by volunteers and members of the homeless community over the past few years under the direction of the extraordinary Dan Kahn, will have a run this month at the Acrosstown Repertory Theater, 619 South Main Street. Opening night is Friday BUT COME ON THURSDAY, JAN. 12, for the dress rehearsal which is will be a special benefit fundraiser for the Gainesville Catholic Worker House and the HOME Van. Thursday is a sliding scale benefit, so just pay what you can! The play will start at 8pm with doors opening at 7:30pm. We hope you can join us for this show. If not, the play will be performed for the next three weekends at the ART, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm. Here’s some more about the play from the ART website: “A modern-day drama centering around an astronomy professor, cosmology, spirituality, and homelessness. This is an original script written by a Gainesville resident, and we are very excited to be able to bring it to our stage! Inspiration comes hard and squirrely into the mind of an astronomy professor. As his accustomed structures crumble, other things are rising…and shining. From classroom to living room to parkland to dreamscape, and from the heights of academia to the grime of street-living, our hero’s journey must include all voices, all visions, to give sense to his expanding sensibilities.”
COMMIT TO A REGULAR VOLUNTEER GIG WITH US THIS SEMESTER: Having a handful of regular, consistent volunteers who can be here week-in and week-out is such a big plus for us! If you are looking for a regular volunteer gig, we would love if you made it at the GCW this semester! Regular spots at the cafe, Breakfast Brigade, Coffee Shop, Art for All, community gardens, and farmer’s market gleaning and food preparation are all available! Every day of the week (except Sunday), we can accommodate you! Take a look at the regular schedule for this Spring 2012 semester at the bottom of the About Us page, and let us know if you’re interested in making a regular commitment! We would be so grateful!
FIRST CAFE IS WEDNESDAY: We need volunteers for this week’s cafe! Prep starts at 9:30am (we especially need a regular weekly volunteer to help set-up the dining room between 10-11am!), serving between 11:45am and 3pm, and clean-up between 2:30-4pm. Let us know by email if you can help!
SCRIPTURE STUDY AT HOLY FAITH ON SATURDAY: If you’re looking to unpack the story at the center of the Christian tradition, join Johnny on Saturday at Holy Faith Catholic Church, 747 NW 43rd Street. Johnny will be leading a presentation and study on “Scripture and Our Morality.” Here’s the description of the presentation: “Love and do what you want.” Really? Is it as simple as St. Augustine suggests in his sermon on 1 John?We’ll explore together six scriptural passages from the upcoming Spring “Why Catholic?” session, uncovering the insights the Bible holds for us on morality, freedom, discipleship, and love.
Looking forward to seeing everyone this week! Welcome back!
So many, many thanks to all of you who dropped by, helped out, and bought things at the Art for All sale this past weekend to support the Gainesville Catholic Worker and our cadre of artists! You can click here to see photos our own Tamra Rich took and posted to her Facebook page (scroll to the bottom to see the photos from the sale). If you didn’t get to visit the sale, but would still like to check out some of our items and do a little holiday shopping, we’ll be out at two places this weekend selling more (see below for more info).
Special thanks too to Diedre Houchen who presented last week’s Roundtable. Diedre’s presentations are always worth seeing and taking part in, and this one as usual engendered good discussion and left an impression. Thanks Diedre! On to what is happening this week…
SECOND CHANCE FOR ART FOR ALL ITEMS: We’ve been invited to bring Art for All items to sell at two different events this weekend, so if you didn’t get a chance to come by last weekend, here’s another chance. On Saturday, from 3-7pm, we’ll have a table at the Winter Art Fair downtown at the Sun Center (the area around the Hippodrome). Kelli and I visited the fair last year and enjoyed the many eclectic offerings. We hope you’ll visit our table and see the other vendors too. On Sunday, from 7:30-10pm at Holy Faith Catholic Church (747 NW 43rd Ave), we’ll have a table during their Christmas concert. The music at the concert is incredible and entry is free. Stop by and see us if you go or if you’re in the area and want to pick up something to support the GCW and our group of artists. Click here to see a sampling of items from Art for All.
NEED TO BORROW A CAMP LANTERN OR BATTERY-POWERED LIGHT: Speaking of the Winter Art Fair, we need some camp lanterns or battery-powered lights to help light our table at the fair. If you have any and can let us borrow them for the weekend, we would be very appreciative. Just email us at email@example.com and let us know. Thanks!
GCW MEMBER FEATURED ON BLOG: Vickie Machado, a GCW live-in community member and MA student on religion at UF, was recently featured on the Eco-stewards blog, which highlights the intersection between religion and the environment. You can read her piece, “Some Thoughts on Mindful Living,” by clicking here. The piece grew out of a Roundtable she gave earlier this semester at the house. Congrats Vickie!
END OF THE SEMESTER PRAYER SERVICE AND POTLUCK: We’re grateful for everyone who has contributed to making the GCW work this semester, and we’re holding an “end of the semester” prayer service and potluck dinner to say thank you. The prayer service will begin at 6pm, with the potluck dinner to follow. We especially want to encourage you to attend if you are graduating or moving out of the Gainesville after the semester. We’d like to say a personal thank you to all of those who have helped and especially those who will be moving on to new things in their life. We’ll also be saying a special thanks and giving a special blessing to Daniel Loya who has spent the past semester living with us at the GCW and serving as a member of the live-in community. Come hear and share stories about Daniel! Bring a dish to share if you can!
That’s all for now folks. This is the penultimate week of the Fall 2011 semester at the GCW, so come and help out while we’re still open. We’ll be taking a break during the holidays starting December 19.
DOUBLE DOSE OF ART: First, the Green House Knitters are in full swing on Monday evenings, 7:30-9:30pm. Come and work on a project of your own, create something for our friends who live on the street (especially for when the weather turns cold), or learn how to knit and crochet. Plus, the Knitters are gearing up for a new project to begin Monday, October 3rd–making amazing rugs out of old t-shirts. THEN… On Saturday, October 1st we are double-booked with artists for Art for All. Fiber artists Mary Peer and Linda Gardner will be teaching “urban flower”-making – creating sweet flowers from salvaged fabric to use as pins or hair decor. And UF Arts major Brittany Acocelli will be starting a painting project. Try to arrive right at 1 to learn to create something beautiful with paint. Flower-creating will be ongoing between 1 and 3:30.
LEARN HOW TO COOK LIKE A GCW CHEF! We’re in need of chefs-in-training for Dorothy’s Farmers Market Cafe on Wednesdays. If you would like to learn to bake delicious bread and create tasty meals form local produce, consider volunteering to be an assistant cafe chef during the month of October. Chefs must be able to start at 9:30am and stay till at least 11:30am on Wednesdays. Contact Kelli with questions or to sign on!
MARK IT DOWN ON YOUR SCHEDULE: We’re very excited to announce our Roundtable for October! Roundtables are happening on the first Thursday of each month this semester, from 6:30-8pm, and include a potluck dinner. University of Florida professor Whitney Sanford and graduate student in religion Vickie Machado (our very own) will be co-leading a roundtable discussion on “Mindful Living”, Thursday, October 6th at the Gainesville Catholic Worker House. They will lead the conversation with Dr. Sanford’s current work with Gandhian intentional communities as well as Vickie’s summer experience with the environmental faith group, EcoStewards. Hope you mark it down for next week and join us!
READY FOR SOME MORE FOOTBALL? We’ll be showing the Gators versus Alabama at 8pm on Saturday night for any guests and friends who want to join us. We’re really grateful to TiAnna and the youth group at Holy Faith Catholic Church for providing some of the food and joining us for the festivities!
Thanks to all of you for your care and support of the Green House. We couldn’t do this work without you. For a list of needs or to make a contribution to hep keep the work going, just drop by or email us. We’re a little stretched right now and welcome any way you can help!
Earlier this morning, I had a lot of fun talking with a group of about 100 or so parishioners at Holy Faith Catholic Church about “Scripture as Story.” For the folks who were there, I mentioned that I would make sure that I made it easy to find a link to my short general overview to our approach at studying Scripture at the GCW. If you want to read that short overview which includes a little bit about the power of story and a concise list of things to consider as you study Scripture, click here.
Additionally, I had to leave out one section of the talk this morning in the interest of time. I’ve pasted below a version of that section in case you’re interested. Thanks!
A Clash of Stories
Walter Brueggemann, a favorite Scripture scholar of mine, wrote: “The contemporary American church is so largely enculturated to the American ethos of consumerism that it has little power to believe or act… Our consciousness has been claimed by false fields of perception and idolatrous systems of language and rhetoric…”
In essence, this is Brueggemann’s fancy way of saying that for the great majority of folks in our churches, we have in fact (perhaps unwittingly) chosen to worship other gods than God, and to build our lives around other stories than the stories of our Scripture. Call those gods what you will: status, money, success, political ideologies, and so on. And those gods are mediated to us by their own priests, whether it be the folks who weave stories for us from Madison Avenue, or Wall Street, or from the media, or from political parties… They understand how to tell us stories which capture our allegiance, and we end up giving our worship to these false gods and organizing our lives based on what they have told us is important, essential, necessary to our fulfillment and happiness.
The one false religion Brueggemann names in particular, “consumerism,” is rampant in our culture. Brueggemann goes on to call consumerism “an ethos that depreciates memory” (meaning it cultivates in its adherents ignorance and disregard for the past), and that it “ridicules hope” (meaning that it encourages a lack of care or consideration of the future). What it tells us is that all that matters is now, and me, and what’s mine.
Brueggemann goes on to say that “the church will not have the power to act or believe until it recovers its stories…”
What he asserts is that we have lost our stories, and with it, we have lost our memory of what truly matters, of who we truly are, and what our purpose is here on this earth. And until we re-remember those stories, until we start to let them get inside us and work on us and recapture our allegiance to the real God, we will remain defenseless against the snares and lures of the false idols prevalent in our culture. We will remain prone and vulnerable to the manipulation of stories which purport to offer us happiness or fulfillment when what they really offer is our enslavement.
Our scriptural stories offer us a different Word than the dominant stories of the culture in which we live. Our scriptures serve as a counter, reminding us who we are and who God is and what our relationship is to each other and God. More often than not, they go against what passes for conventional wisdom; indeed they are often critical of conventional wisdom.
Like our ancestors in the early church, our scriptures invite us to be “different” — the Bible uses a word that is often translated as “peculiar” — in the world. Soren Kierkegaard, the great 18th century Christian philosopher once wrote: “There was a time when one could almost be afraid to call himself a disciple of Christ, because it meant so much. Now one can do it with complete ease, because it means nothing at all.” Even 200 years ago, Kierkegaard was recognizing that people who follow Christ had ceased to look different in the world, that they looked, talked and led their lives just like everyone else–that they were no longer witnesses to a different reality but rather accommodated to the culture in which they found themselves.
But our ancestors have been motivated and transformed by the stories in Scripture all throughout history–from those in the early church who lived out their faith despite persecution to St. Francis and his wandering band of itinerant monastics; from members of the Confessing Church in Germany during WWII who resisted the will of Hitler and the laws of the Nazis to the leaders of the civil rights movement here in America who understood themselves as people with dignity bestowed on them by God. These folks, and many others, mined the stories of Scripture to empower them to be the people who God created them to be, no matter the risks, and to witness to that reality which Jesus called the kingdom of God–a kingdom not fully here but breaking in wherever people chose to live it into reality through their words, actions and choices…
GCW ANNIVERSARY PARTY ON OCTOBER 4: Each October, we celebrate the beginning of the Gainesville Catholic Worker community. We started 9 years ago, October 2000, in a little house (Jeremiah House) just two blocks from our current home. We feel it is important to give thanks and celebrate with all of our friends and supporters who have been essential to keep this house going. Whether you are near of far, we invite you to join us for food, music, some speakers, and more from 1-4pm, Sunday, October 4. We’re excited to have the JustFaith group from San Juan Del Rio
Church over near Jacksonville join us that day and provide much of the hospitality, but we also want to encourage everyone who can to try and bring some food or drink, potluck-style. We are so hopeful that many of you will join us.! So mark it down: Sunday, October 4, 1-4pm.
EDUCATION ROUNDTABLE: This Thursday, from 6-7:30pm, we’re happy to have with us Diedre Houchen, good friend to the GCW, mother, teacher and activist. Diedre has a background in education, anti-racism work, sustainability and community-building. Diedre will be addressing issues around education, our educational system and how race and class factor into our educational policies and priorities. We hope you can join us! It is a potluck dinner so bring something to share if you can!
NEW TRUCK FOR THE GCW: Just over a year ago, our old truck gave out. We made do with the Pathfinder, but frankly, for so much of the work we do–hauling garden equipment, picking up food from the farmers’ market, moving people into apartments and so on–a truck is so, so, so much better. And to our great delight, Jon Meinholz, a regular volunteer with us and parishioner of Holy Faith Catholic Church, donated us his old truck a few weeks back. We are so grateful to Jon and for what this means for our work at the house. Kelli wrote a nice blog entry about Jon, his truck and caring for things last week. You can see the truck and read more by clicking here. Thanks so much Jon!
DAYS OF AWE AND PEACE: Today is officially the International Day of Peace/Prayer for Peace. The organization I work for, Pax Christi USA, is sponsoring actions and prayers and other events to mark this day throughout the country. If possible, we ask everyone to take a moment today and to pray for peace in our world. Also, these next few days are called the “Days of Awe” in the Jewish calendar, marking the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Kelli recently wrote about the connection Jews make between this time of year and the work of “mending the world” – click here to read her post. And to our Muslim friends who just completed the month of Ramadan, we give thanks for your witness!
WE NEED BLANKETS, SOCKS: Even though the weather hasn’t turned yet, we’re in need of a handful of blankets at the GCW. We have folks regularly come by looking for something to cover them for the night, and we’re plum out of blankets to give away right now. Last week we got three requests and were able to find a sheet, old tablecloth and some fabric, but it’s nice to keep a few blankets on hand. If you can donate an old one to the house, it would be much appreciated. AND at St. Augustine Catholic Church and Student Center, the good folks on the Christian Service Committee are collecting socks for us to give out to our guests and visitors to the house. Foot hygiene is a big deal for homeless folks and we’ve instituted a “swap-a-sock” program at the house where people can give us their dirty socks and we’ll give them a clean pair in return. There is a nice bin (courtesy of Kimberly) in the vestibule of the church for folks to drop off new socks for us to hand out.
Hope everyone has a great week and we look forward to seeing you at the house!
(Earlier this month, we received a generous gift from Jon Meinholz, a parishioner at Holy Faith Catholic Church and good friend of the house. We wore out our old truck over a year ago, and we didn’t realize how much we relied on it and how much of a real blessing it was to us until we had to do without it over the past year. Jon remedied that for us a few weeks ago. The following is from Kelli’s blog. You can read the whole post by clicking here.)
One of my horror stories from childhood was having to wash my father’s car every weekend – and cleaning the whitewall tires with a toothbrush. For no pay. That, and never being allowed to eat in the car and having to remove every last tiny bit of trash from it each time we got out, and heaven forbid we put something in the little ashtrays on the door handles. When we started driving, the lectures on removing all traces of sand from the bottom of our shoes, and never wiping the fog off the window or mirror with anything but Windex and a clean rag, and DO NOT LEAVE THE RADIO OR AIR CONDITIONER ON drove my teenager-self crazy. By the time I left home I was in full revolt – in my head at least – condemning my parents for being materialistic control freaks.
On my own, I drove cheap, ugly, trashy cars and happily added my own trash to them. I joked that my car was simply a closet on wheels and that I was not so shallow as to care what the thing looked like.
But time has taken its toll on my disdain, and as an adult – still driving old cars for the most part – I am getting why even a high-minded, self-righteous, non-materialist might deign to take care of one of them. They last longer…
For this week’s schedule at the GCW, click here.
Thanks to everyone who helped out with Friday’s Breakfast Brigade last week, and thanks too to everyone who dropped by to say hello and offer their support for the new semester. We’re excited about seeing old friends and the prospect of bringing new friends into our community as well.
MAKING A REGULAR COMMITMENT TO THE GCW THIS SEMESTER: One of the things that we really count on at the GCW is those volunteers who can make a commitment to one of our projects over the course of the entire semester. We love to have volunteers whenever you might be available, but we ESPECIALLY love to have those volunteers we know we can count on week-in and week-out for certain projects. As you look over your schedules for the next semester, we hope that some of you might be able to make a project at the house part of your regular weekly schedule–be it a regular shift at Dorothy’s Cafe every Wednesday, Friday’s Breakfast Brigade, Thursday evening Roundtables, Tuesday’s Scripture Study, Wednesday Movie Nights, Blue House Pants, garden hours, or so on. If you’re interested, let us know and we’ll pencil you!
FIRST DOROTHY’S CAFE ON WEDNESDAY: This Wednesday will be our first Dorothy’s Cafe of the semester. Typically we can count on between 75 and 125 guests to join us at some point during the day for homemade soup, bread, fresh fruit and a relaxing atmosphere. We need volunteers between 9am and noon to help with prep work, noon and 5pm for serving, and 4:30 to 6pm for clean-up. Let us know if you can join us this week or make a regular commitment throughout the semester!
FIRST THURSDAY MASS/PRAYER SERVICE: The first Thursday of each month, we gather as a community to celebrate in prayer together. Usually Fr. John Phillips, our chaplain and the pastor of Holy Faith Catholic Church, will join us in celebrating Mass. If he is not available, we’ll celebrate with an informal prayer service put together by the house community. Join us this Thursday and stay afterward for a potluck dinner (bring a dish to share if you can).
For more on this week’s schedule, including info on Breakfast Brigade, Wednesday Movie Night and more, click here.
Hope to see you this week!
For a full list of this week’s activities, click here.
CLOSING TIME: This will be our last week of operation until August. We’ll be taking our annual summer sabbatical to rest, rejuvenate and repair the house (and ourselves) from June 20 until the beginning of August. We are so grateful for how so many of you make us a part of your weekly lives: Karen bringing us desserts and various odds and ends regularly, Leah and Vicki faithfully at every cafe, Bob sweating in the garden, Gloria and Dave helming the Breakfast Brigade, and so many more… To all of you, thanks for making our fifth year in the Blue House so wonderful.
2008-09 BY THE NUMBERS: I’m a baseball guy, and therefore statistics are important to me. For the 2008-2009 year, together we shared about 4575 breakfasts during Breakfast Brigade; 5130 lunches/dinners at Dorothy’s Cafe; and we gave overnight hospitality to 29 different guests, a total of 447 days (for an average of about 15 days per each guest). We shared hundreds of more meals (maybe thousands) with friends and visitors outside of Dorothy’s Cafe, received mail for dozens of people, provided a phone or a place to sit and rest to countless to others, and so on. It is a grand undertaking we set out to do each August, and again it is through the generosity of so many friends and volunteers and the kindness of so many guests, visitors and friends that we can keep it all going.
FULL HOUSE: After emptying out for about 10 days, we’re back into the double digits. Three community members are still here, we’ve got two guests, and thru Friday we’re hosting TiAnna and 5 high school students from Holy Faith Catholic Church’s Youth Group, who are doing a week’s retreat with us. If you have a chance to stop by this week and spend a little time working alonside TiAnna and her students, I’m sure they’d love to meet some of our regular volunteers. Keep their group (and us) in your prayers this week.
So if you can, come on by and see us this week. Make your last Dorothy’s Cafe or Breakfast Brigade. And give thanks with us for another wild and interesting year gone by…
Our summer schedule is now set! For the next 6-plus weeks, until we close for our summer sabbatical in mid-June, click here to see what we’ll be doing schedule-wise.
A GOOD FRIEND ASSAULTED, RECOVERING: Many of you know Leroy, a former guest and regular volunteer at the house. On Saturday, Leroy was attacked by someone who mistook him for someone else and wanted money from him. Leory fought off his attacker but was seriously wounded–stabbed in the side and slashed in several places on his hand. He has a nurse call us to let us know that he was in Shands recovering, and after an overnight stay, Johnny picked him up and brought him back to the house to stay for a few days or so as he continues to heal. He has stitches crisscrossing the palm of his hand and it took 15 staples to close his side. We ask that you keep Leroy in your prayers as he recovers.
MONTHLY MASS AT THE GCW: Join us this Thursday, at 6pm, for our monthly Mass with Fr. John Phillips, our chaplain and pastor of Holy Faith Catholic Church. We celebrate this small, home Mass on the first Thursday of each month. Potluck dinner will follow.
VEGGIE POCKETS – aka BLUE HOUSE TO GO: Since the “powers that be” began requiring St. Francis House to stop serving meals after the 130th person has been served each day, we’ve heard lots of stories about the people who’ve been turned away – especially from people stopping by the house during the week asking if we have anything extra. Because this is harvest season, and we have so many vegetables, it seemed like the ideal time to resurrect “veggie pockets.” Kelli used to make these for the HomeVan when it first began and it’s a great way to package up a lot of nutrition without a lot of packaging. We’re serving them Mondays at noon as a “to go” meal. This week, they were made out of kidney beans, greens, yellow squash, onions and garlic stir-fried and wrapped up in our famous bread dough. They’re good! It’s great to be able to meet this need – and Blue House To Go will take the place of Sunday’s cafe at least till fall. If you want to help out, stop by the house between 9 and noon on Monday morning – and bring some cheddar cheese if you want to delight some people.
BLUE HOUSE PANTS: Good news and bad news… The bad news is the diocesan conference where we were going to debut the pants we’ve been making was canceled. The good news is we have more time to build up an inventory before we begin selling – and to test them out. If you would like to purchase some cute little baby pants – sizes 3 mos, 6 mos, and 9 mos, or men’s boxer shorts – small (32), medium (34), or large-ish (36) – or if you need a visual: Mohameds, Patricks, or Johns – all locally-sewn and made with love from recycled fabric, please let us know. They’re $15 and we would love for you to try them out and give us your input!
CHICKEN COOP – Ta da! It’s done and our little chickens are spending their first full day outside (thank goodness!!). For details, see Kelli’s blog.
DOROTHY’S CAFE ON WEDNESDAY: We’ll probably need some extra help this week with the students gone (ditto for Friday’s Breakfast Brigade), so come and help out if you have a chance. Our numbers have increased since St. Francis House stopped serving all the folks who show up there for lunch each week. Prep is between 9:30 and noon, serving between noon and 5, clean-up at 4:30 til 6pm.