BVS Opens New Intentional Community House in Portland

The Fall 2010 training unit of Brethren Volunteer Service (group photo above) held orientation in Portland, Ore. — the location where the organization has opened its second Intentional Community House. Four current and former BVS volunteers are living in the house, with sponsorship from Peace Church of the Brethren.

In a continued effort to foster intentional Christian community for volunteers, Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) opened its second Intentional Community House this fall. The new BVS house is a partnership with Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren, where the effort was spearheaded by Beth Merrill, a former BVS volunteer.

Four current and former BVS volunteers are living in the house in Portland, paying special attention to life together, spiritual formation, conflict resolution, and being a presence in the neighborhood. The group includes Ben Bear from Nokesville, Va.; Chelsea Goss from Mechanicsville, Va.; Heather Lantz from Harrisonburg, Va.; and Jon Zunkel from Elizabethtown, Pa. Projects connected with the Portland house include On Earth Peace and Snow Cap, a local food bank.

Volunteers who live in BVS Intentional Community Houses agree to be an active part of the life of the sponsoring congregation, in addition to carrying out their fulltime work at project sites. Sponsoring congregations offer spiritual support, fellowship, and Christian community to the volunteers.

The first BVS Intentional Community House opened in the fall of 2009 in partnership with Cincinnati (Ohio) Church of the Brethren, located in the Walnut Hills neighborhood. In addition, the longstanding BVS House in Elgin, Ill., which for decades has housed volunteers working at the Church of the Brethren General Offices, also has become more intentional in its community life in partnership with Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren.

Each of the BVS Intentional Community Houses maintain weekly blogs: Portland , Cincinnati , and Elgin .

— Dana Cassell is Brethren Volunteer Service staff for Vocation and Community Living

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