So Much To Be Thankful For

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Happy Thanksgiving!! We recently celebrated with a feast here at City House, and everyone contributed part of the meal, from the turkey to the cranberry sauce to the stuffing to the 4 types of pies, everything was made from scratch by students in our kitchen. It was delicious! As we sat around the table in the glow of our candles, we shared some of the things we are grateful for. Here is a short list of some of the blessings we are especially thankful for this season:

  • A sense of belonging and being at home
  • Friends and teachers that are full of grace
  • God’s faithfulness and provision for us
  • Ten years of City House, and the community and friendship we experience here
  • God’s grace to us: Love, Kindness, Forgiveness, Joy and Peace
  • Real relationships characterized by the freedom to ask questions and be changed
  • Good cooking, and the blessing of sharing the work of our hands with one another around the table.

It is so good for us to be together as a community and to stop and remember how very much we have to be thankful for. Wishing you and yours a blessed Thanksgiving!

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Student Reflection: Longing for Community

 

Here’s a reflection from City House student Anna Applebee based on a recent class in which we discussed Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Whether we recognize it or not our deepest longing is for this community God has gifted us with. If I have learned anything at all this semester it is this: that just like the rest of the world I too have a deep hunger for community. A hunger that God has placed within me; a deep need to be heard and understood; to share my experiences and triumphs in Christ as well as my failures and short comings. I have come to believe that community is our calling as Christians. I look at so many aspects of the world around me and see the brokenness and hopelessness and feel disheartened. However, I hear people like Noel Castellanos speak and see people like Wendy trying to go out and make an impact no matter how small and I know that not all is lost and community can be the answer; and Jesus; he is the answer too.

On Adventures and Narnia: a Reflection

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about adventure. My reflections on this topic have been mainly inspired by my rereading of The Chronicles of Narnia, and particularly The Silver Chair. In this book, two children, Jill and Eustace, are called by the great lion Aslan into his world of Narnia and sent on a mission to rescue the missing Prince Rillian. They team up with a Marshwiggle named Puddleglum. Jill, unlike the others, is entirely new to adventure. She begins out hopefully, as she and her companions embark on their journey on a fresh, lovely morning on a pleasant moor, observing that perhaps she likes adventure, to which Puddleglum replies, “We haven’t had any yet”. Later in the book, we see Jill wet and cold, hungry and tired, having endured giants hurling boulders at her, and prepared to give up the whole adventure in exchange for hot food, a bed and a bath. This is where we see the real adventure: as often as it is exciting and a bright and shining thing, it is just as often plodding through deep snow and persevering in the quest to which you were called.

The City House experience is a true adventure, full of both joy and difficulty. Like Jill, this year’s students perhaps arrived to the house on that first day full of hopes and the thrill of new beginnings and expectation of realizing the great treasure of Christian community at the end. Like Jill, perhaps they were vaguely aware that challenges would present themselves, but in the moment, they were largely out of sight.

At this point in the semester, we are in the throes of real adventure. Students endure the elements of stress, differences of opinion regarding dishes, busy schedules, and all the heavy weights life can throw at us. Life together is hard and messy but we know that it is worth it, because though the journey is hard, it is the only path by which we arrive at the journey’s end and the joy that awaits us there. Along the way there is yet beauty among the hardship if our eyes are open to see it, and it is in the going that we are transformed. This adventure is not easy, but it is by our Lord and King and Love that we were called to this living-out of Christian community and it is by him that we carry on. Pray for us, friends, for faithfulness to our calling in the fullness of the beautiful and challenging adventure that it is.

-Janelle Almond, Resident Director

Lewis, C. S., and Pauline Baynes. The Silver Chair. New York, NY: HarperTrophy, 1994. Print.

Making Our Marks

This semester our City House class time is focusing on our life together as a Christian community, and we have spent some time looking to other examples of Christian community that we can learn from as we seek to live together and love one another well. One such example is the New Monasticism movement, which subscribes to an agreed-upon set of marks that outline a rule of life for members of the community. As a house community, we set about creating our own set of marks that we agree to endeavor to live by and be about. Here’s the result!

As a household community, we share a common commitment to the following marks:

  1. We are committed to continuous growth (personal and communal) in Christ, helping and encouraging others in the same way.
  2. We will spread the love of Christ in other communities and areas when we’ve moved on from City House
  3. We will become leaders and followers within the community, in our house, at Geneva, and in our neighborhood and city.
  4. We are committed to the neighborhood and community, both Geneva and the greater Beaver Falls community, through acts of service.
  5. We are committed to establishing relationships inside the house based in Christ.
  6. We are mindful of, care about, actively listen to, and serve one another within the house and hold one another’s well-being in highest regard.
  7. We are committed to striving for excellence to the best of our abilities with regards to our household responsibilities (Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”)
  8. We live as one singular unit to the intentionality commended by Christ (John 17:23 “I in them and you in me— so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”)
  9. We are committed to active discipleship (Provers 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another.”)
  10. We have a high regard for academic work, supporting and not interfering with one another’s studies.
  11. We don’t whine with sorrow at a request which benefits the common good of thy brethren. (Philippians 2:14 “Do everything without grumbling or arguing.”)