Archive for August, 2010

Chiara House: An Exciting Announcement

Friday, August 27th, 2010

The following is the exciting new vision that we are beginning to pursue at Little Flowers Community.  We need people to join us in making this happen.  If you are interested, please drop me a line at info@littleflowers.ca

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Chiara House will be an extension of the ministry of Little Flowers Community & YWAM Urban Ministries Winnipeg. The values of these ministries shape & define the values & practices of Chiara House. While some core members will be part of these communities, such involvement will not be required of all those participating in Chiara House.  It will not be a shelter, detox program, food bank, etc. Rather it is a group of people called to love God & their neighbours together in the context of shared life & community.

Chiara House residents will be represented in three general groups:

  • Long Term Members
    Long term members will be people with a commitment to specific Rule of Life and code of conduct, willing to commit to a specific time frame and function as servant-leaders in the community house.  These members can include, but are the restricted to, member of Little Flowers Community/YWAM.  All members will be employed outside of the house.
  • Transitional Members
    The house will also welcome short-term, goal-oriented transitional housing for locals facing specific challenges. These members will be drawn through relationship and/or referral from other ministries or social agencies. A clear & legal application process would be in place to screen applicants for appropriate fit in the program.
  • Internship Members
    A missional formation internship, with both short & long-term options, will also be made available, through the model of a missional-monastic order. These members will be primarily focused on young single adults, such as university students, who are seeking community and missional formation while studying, working, etc. in their own context.

(A clear Rule of Life will be articulated for long-term members, with an appropriate covenant commitment for interns, and a Code of Conduct for all residents.)

The nature of the building Chiara House ends up in inevitably shape the nature of the housing, but the following is a general overview of the ideal setting for such a community. Chiara House would ideally be set in a multi-storied (3+) building. Each floor would have controlled access.

On the main level would be a more open community space for shared programs, community gatherings, worship, training, etc. Ultimately it would be set up like a “community living room”, with access to public bathrooms, a kitchen and possibly a small hospitality room for short-term guests or emergency housing.

The second floor would be broken into group community units housing 4-6 people per unit. They would share access to the living room, dining room & bathrooms (expanded to accommodate larger numbers), but would have secured individual or roommates space for sleeping. These spaces would be designed for long-term members to share life with transitional housing members (ideally 50/50).

The third floor of the building would be designed similarly to second floor model, but would be dedicated to shared life with the missional formation members, with at least one long-term member as well. They would have relationship and shared activity with the transitional housing members, but due to the shorter-term nature of their involvement, would have to apply for living in that portion of the house.

Depending on the size of the building, every (or selected or one floor) could also have traditional apartment suites designed for families, allowing the security & space for family life, while allowing families to share life with the singles in Chiara House. The option of a family unit for transitional housing is also an option to consider.

Every member would contribute equally to the room & board of the community, though some members may be given a reduction for fulfilling certain duties (i.e caretaker, etc.). The long-term members, along with the Little Flowers Community/YWAM UMW leadership, will function as the servant-leadership team of Chiara House. However, whenever possible, all members will be encouraged to participate in shared responsibility & community leadership.

Prayers For Living Into God’s World

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

After years of doing spiritual & missional formation with college age Christians, one of the trends that stands out is the struggle many have with communal prayer.  While I still affirm times of open group prayer, I have also noticed that many struggle with performing their prayers, while others remained silent for lack of “inspiration” or because they felt their prayers inadequate compared to the more eloquent prayers.  These and other reasons contributed to a difficult challenge in our community.

It was while we were exploring these challenges a few years ago that Christine Sine contacted me about reading an early draft of her new book “Light for the Journey: Morning & Evening Prayers for Living into God’s World”.  This collection of morning & evening prayers, laid out to cover a full week, take us through different emphases of faith in reflective and creative ways.  With her permission, we adapted the prayers for use in our community as an experiment.  Since then, they have become a fixed part of our community life, as well as for many of our personal times of private prayer.  It was and is a real gift to us.

I was excited to learn that “Light for the Journey” is now available for order through Mustard Seed Associates.  I highly recommend this resource to you and to your communities.  Born out of their own life in share community, the tested authenticity of the material is clear throughout.  Christine briefly explains each theme (from the introduction):

Sunday’s theme begins the week with the celebration of Sabbath and anticipation of God’s eternal shalom world. We rejoice in this vision of wholeness and abundance which will one day be completely fulfilled in Christ.

On Monday we focus on our restored relationship to God our Creator and the call to be stewards of God’s creation. The gospel always comes to us in the midst of the created world, which was made through Jesus Christ and is being recreated through him.

On Tuesday our focus shifts to Christ our Savior and what it means to carry his incarnational presence into our world. As Christ’s followers, we are called to live out the claims of the gospel.

Wednesday focuses on the in-dwelling Holy Spirit who equips us with the gifts and abilities to carry out the gospel call as God’s servants and proclaimers of God’s resurrection- created world.

On Thursday our reflections turn towards community and what it means to be part of God’s eternal family from every tribe and nation, rich and poor, male and female.

Friday reflects on the Cross and the wholeness achieved through repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

We conclude the week on Saturday with a focus on the kingdom of God and the clouds of witnesses who have gone before us.

Phyllis Tickle, author of “The Great Emergence”, had this to say about the book:

“In the history of Christian formation literature, it has consistently been the small volume that has conveyed the greatest worth. That principle nowhere holds more true than it does here. Like the light which its title references, this manual, in its succinctness, travels broadly and illumines perfectly. Presenting both assigned prayers for each day of the week and also rich instruction in how the Christian forms a life of prayer, Sine speaks to us gently, but authoritatively. There is, in all of this, a kind of poignancy as well. We understand that Sine is writing to us not about some theory, but out of experience and about the sure knowledge of a life of prayer fully lived. Like every wise Christian teacher before her, Christine Sine understands—and persuades us—that it is in community that Christians pray most formatively and in community that we must seek to pray.”

Head over to Mustard Seed Associates and order a copy (or 10!) today.  It is well worth it.

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