In May, three of us CoC alums including Molly, my husband Thomas, and I, moved into an old, dusty, cluttered unused building owned by the Port Ministries. As we have transformed the Hope House from a dank and dirty place to an intentional community, we have also been transformed by Hope. From the physical needs of the House, to the interpersonal relationships, I am learning to open up to trust God in every facet of life at the Hope House.
When we moved into the Hope House, we were immediately faced with the building’s serious repair needs. From faulty plumbing, to rodents, to asbestos in the basement, and a $0 budget, we have been forced to generate creative solutions to all sorts of wild problems. And, solutions have unfolded in many surprising ways. Almost every day we have been greeted by a friend, neighbor, or stranger who is willing to assist us or link us to resources. Service groups have come into the house and transformed us room by room. As we found ourselves saying over and over this past summer, we see miracles happen daily! And daily, we are reminded that the Spirit is working alongside us, opening doors for us and leading us toward transformation.
I have also been transformed by the relationships that we have fostered as a community. When we began this endeavor, I found myself wondering how it would work to live in community as a married couple. Honestly, there are times when I wish Tom and I had our own apartment. But, the relationships I have been privileged to forge in the Hope House and in the wider community have enriched my life. We have truly become a community of Hope. We have spent long days bonding over the sanitization of our kitchen which, when we moved in, was covered in mouse droppings. We have laughed together as we worked with groups to clear impossible amounts of junk out of the basement. We have sat at the dining room table together sobered by the reality of violence in our own back yard. Together, we have learned that Hope is a communal project. I could not have done any of this alone.
As we look to the future, we see Hope in abundance. Every Hope House resident is committed to providing the Port Ministries with 20 volunteer hours per month. This means that each resident has been working on some pretty awesome projects at the Port. Molly has been critical to revamping the coordination of volunteers at the Port’s Free Clinic. Kevin has put his energy into initiating an open gym outreach, and Shanu is helping to start up a People’s School model at the Port where neighbors can share their skills with one another in workshops. As we work and live together with the common goal of service and prayer, we see a hopeful future for the Port. We envision the Port as a place where Hope overflows into the wider community and transformation thrives.
Hope is a House you can live in, if you dare to be transformed!
Want to find a way to live out your faith? Are you passionate about social justice? Would you like to serve an under-served community in Chicago?Join us at the Hope House! The Hope House is an intentional community that serves Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood in conjunction with the Port Ministries. Community members pay modest rent to live at the Hope House and provide 20 volunteer hours per month to one of the Port Ministries’ programs.
Our structure is set up so that residents can have full time jobs of their own and live together with the common goal of service and prayer. Alongside the 20 volunteer hours per month, Hope House residents make a commitment to prayer twice a week, Franciscan mass once a week, and weekly community meetings. We are looking for future Hope House community members who are dedicated to living simply, serving the Back of the Yards, and sharing their faith.
Applications to move in to the Hope House January 1st, 2016 are due October 19th, 2015. For more info and to request an application, please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org