The past few months for the Epworth Project have been a full experience. Back in May, the spiritual formation team who oversees Epworth sat down and revamped the application process for bringing people into the houses. This process included bringing new aspects of discernment into the interviewing process and once the new residents were welcomed into the home. During the summer, the staff had the pleasure of interviewing and accepting ten new residents into our houses!
In order to prepare our house leaders, the house stewards, for the new residents, we had our first training with all the house stewards in August. The house stewards reflected on how they understood the role of house steward, sharing answers like "a facilitator, cultivator, empowerer of community, a gardener of people, and story-teller." Stewards also shared the practices that their homes were living into. This gathering provided an opportunity for the new house stewards to hear and learn from the experience of longer tenured house stewards and for all the houses to gain ideas to take home to their communities.
In early September, after most of the new residents had moved in, Cochran House in Dallas hosted the All Epworth Retreat, a gathering of all of the houses. During this time, new and old residents were oriented to the Epworth Project and our vision for the year. The participants also took time to practice a contemplative noticing activity where they paid attention to the gifts around them. Finally, houses took time to cast their household vision for the year, shared it with the group, and then all the houses and house members were prayed for and blessed.
We are beyond grateful to have over twenty people living in our dispersed community this year. We are inspired by the amazing things each house is doing and cannot wait to share more about them in the year to come.