By Rev. Rebecca Ragland
One of the realities of life in early adulthood is transitoriness. Relationships change, where one lives or works often changes too. This is partly why the Benedictine practice of stability is valuable for Deaconess Anne House Corps Members. As young adults, they’ve already navigated many changes. For them, stability is living together under a shared rule and faith practice regardless of the challenges. So far, this year's members have experienced significant instability. They began their year in St Louis just days after the shooting death of Mike Brown. They were in Ferguson joining the protests soon after their arrival. The stability of their common life strengthened them during that time of crisis and transition.
As fall turned to winter, the corps members worked at their nonprofit placements, connected with the neighborhood and continued to engage in protests. Then, more challenges arrived. The Rev. Jon Stratton, founding director, took a new call at Trinity Episcopal Church, Central West End. After a few weeks, with The Rev. Mike Angell serving as interim, The Rev. Rebecca Ragland became director. The community maintained stability by faithfulness to each other and to the practices of the Daily Office. Then one of the Corps Members, Alex Herbertson, decided it was time for her to leave the program. Again, the community experienced instability and change. It was hard to say goodbye to Alex, just as it was hard to say goodbye to Jon.
For the community, stability continues to center around daily Morning Prayer, community meals, Monday night Eucharist, our love for each other, and our shared commitment to social justice. We have also found stability in our beautiful Deaconess Anne House, the generous care of our sponsor parishes, and the ongoing vision of the Diocese.
As we move into the final summer semester of our program, the Corps Members continue to be invested in the Diocese, their placements, and the Old North neighborhood. Before next year's Corps Members arrive, this year’s group is making a legacy in film and print for them to inherit. Tune in for more in our newsletter!
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As the Spring finally graces us at the Deaconess Anne House, we decide to hold our Monday Night Eucharist outside. Despite the challenges of a wayward wind, we appreciated how the sanctity of the service carried over outside the confines of a church building.
Old North is a small neighborhood, but a very storied place. In the short time we've been living here, bits and bobs of our community have stood out to us. Some places are historic, some are saddening, but all are part of the unique character of the neighborhood.
As per of the tradition of the house, we hosted a Stations of the Cross tour of Old North for Good Friday. Each one of us selected two different locations, and prepared a reflection touching on the history and meaning of the location. This is in tradition with the fourteen traditional stations, all of them recounting the harrowing march, and eventual death, of Christ to the cross.
We are people of the Resurrection, and the Stations of the Cross is a powerful way to name the places of death and hope around us.