Monthly Archives: September 2009

HOUSE NEWS: Mass/Prayer Service, Party, Socks, and Blankets

To read the full schedule for this week, click here.

MASS/PRAYER SERVICE AND POTLUCK: This Thursday, we’ll either be celebrating mass or having a prayer service depending on whether we can find a replacement for Fr. John.  Either way, we’ll eat together afterwards. It is a potluck dinner so bring something to share if you can! If you can’t, just come anyway. We hope to see you!

GCW ANNIVERSARY PARTY ON OCTOBER 4: Each October, we celebrate the beginning of the Gainesville Catholic Worker community. We started 9 years ago, October 2000, in a little house (Jeremiah House) just two blocks from our current home. We feel it is important to give thanks and celebrate with all of our friends and supporters who have been essential to keep this house going. Whether you are near of far, we invite you to join us for food, music, some speakers, and more from 1-4pm, Sunday, October 4. We’re excited to have the JustFaith group from San Juan Del Rio Church over near Jacksonville join us that day and provide much of the hospitality, but we also want to encourage everyone who can to try and bring some food or drink, potluck-style. We are so hopeful that many of you will join us.!

THANK YOU ENGLISH LANGUAGE INSTITUTE!: ESL students have been faithful volunteers in our garden lately. Last week they planted beans and sowed carrot seeds. They are such a fun group to work with and we appreciate all the energy and enthusiasm they bring to the house. Thank you!

WE NEED BLANKETS, SOCKS: This is supposed to be our first chilly week with weather dipping down into the 50s, although it’s a little hard to imagine as I write…  Already, we have folks regularly come by looking for something to cover them for the night, and we keep running out of blanketes. If you can donate an old one to the house, it would be much appreciated. AND we picked up our first bucket of socks at St. Augustine Catholic Church and Student Center,where the Christian Service Committee are collecting socks for us to give out to our guests and visitors to the house. Foot hygiene is a big deal for homeless folks and we’ve instituted a “swap-a-sock” program at the house where people can give us their dirty socks and we’ll give them a clean pair in return. There is a nice bin (courtesy of Kimberly) in the vestibule of the church for folks to drop off new socks for us to hand out. Or, if you’re over this way, please feel free to drop them off here.

Hope everyone has a great week and we look forward to seeing you at the house!

In peace,
Kelli and John

HOUSE NEWS: GCW anniversary party on Sunday, October 4!

Dear friends,

To read the full schedule for this week, click here.

GCW ANNIVERSARY PARTY ON OCTOBER 4: Each October, we celebrate the beginning of the Gainesville Catholic Worker community. We started 9 years ago, October 2000, in a little house (Jeremiah House) just two blocks from our current home. We feel it is important to give thanks and celebrate with all of our friends and supporters who have been essential to keep this house going. Whether you are near of far, we invite you to join us for food, music, some speakers, and more from 1-4pm, Sunday, October 4. We’re excited to have the JustFaith group from San Juan Del Rio

Past GCW anniversary party!

Past GCW anniversary party!

Church over near Jacksonville join us that day and provide much of the hospitality, but we also want to encourage everyone who can to try and bring some food or drink, potluck-style. We are so hopeful that many of you will join us.! So mark it down: Sunday, October 4, 1-4pm.

EDUCATION ROUNDTABLE: This Thursday, from 6-7:30pm, we’re happy to have with us Diedre Houchen, good friend to the GCW, mother, teacher and activist. Diedre has a background in education, anti-racism work, sustainability and community-building. Diedre will be addressing issues around education, our educational system and how race and class factor into our educational policies and priorities. We hope you can join us! It is a potluck dinner so bring something to share if you can!

NEW TRUCK FOR THE GCW: Just over a year ago, our old truck gave out. We made do with the Pathfinder, but frankly, for so much of the work we do–hauling garden equipment, picking up food from the farmers’ market, moving people into apartments and so on–a truck is so, so, so much better. And to our great delight, Jon Meinholz, a regular volunteer with us and parishioner of Holy Faith Catholic Church, donated us his old truck a few weeks back. We are so grateful to Jon and for what this means for our work at the house. Kelli wrote a nice blog entry about Jon, his truck and caring for things last week. You can see the truck and read more by clicking here. Thanks so much Jon!

DAYS OF AWE AND PEACE: Today is officially the International Day of Peace/Prayer for Peace. The organization I work for, Pax Christi USA, is sponsoring actions and prayers and other events to mark this day throughout the country. If possible, we ask everyone to take a moment today and to pray for peace in our world. Also, these next few days are called the “Days of Awe” in the Jewish calendar, marking the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Kelli recently wrote about the connection Jews make between this time of year and the work of “mending the world” – click here to read her post. And to our Muslim friends who just completed the month of Ramadan, we give thanks for your witness!

WE NEED BLANKETS, SOCKS: Even though the weather hasn’t turned yet, we’re in need of a handful of blankets at the GCW. We have folks regularly come by looking for something to cover them for the night, and we’re plum out of blankets to give away right now. Last week we got three requests and were able to find a sheet, old tablecloth and some fabric, but it’s nice to keep a few blankets on hand. If you can donate an old one to the house, it would be much appreciated. AND at St. Augustine Catholic Church and Student Center, the good folks on the Christian Service Committee are collecting socks for us to give out to our guests and visitors to the house. Foot hygiene is a big deal for homeless folks and we’ve instituted a “swap-a-sock” program at the house where people can give us their dirty socks and we’ll give them a clean pair in return. There is a nice bin (courtesy of Kimberly) in the vestibule of the church for folks to drop off new socks for us to hand out.

Hope everyone has a great week and we look forward to seeing you at the house!

In peace,
John

REFLECTIONS: Mending the world

Kiki and the works of mercy

Kiki and the works of mercy

I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. – E.B. White

In Jewish tradition, these are the Days of Awe – the span of ten days between Rosh Hashanah, the birthday of the creation of the world, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It’s a time to examine one’s life and ways before your fate is sealed.  Sharon Astyk writes just beautifully on this tradition in the context of our environmental crisis in a recent post where she describes how and where she finds hope.

Reading it, I was reminded of another Jewish woman who inspired me a couple years ago with her description of these high holy days. Sharon Brous, a rabbi, was interviewed by Krista Tippett on how she brings this ancient tradition to bear meaning to her young congregation:

This is a moment when we celebrate the possibility of transformation, the possibility that every single one of us can be re-created . . . [a time] in which we identify that we have a real purpose and meaning in the world and that we can redirect our lives so that we’re actually responsively going after those priorities. . . We actually have the capacity to radically transform the way we understand our lives and the world. So really this is a moment of celebration.

To read the rest of this post on Kelli’s blog, click here.

REFLECTIONS: Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without…

(Earlier this month, we received a generous gift from Jon Meinholz, a parishioner at Holy Faith Catholic Church and good friend of the house. We wore out our old truck over a year ago, and we didn’t realize how much we relied on it and how much of a real blessing it was to us until we had to do without it over the past year. Jon remedied that for us a few weeks ago. The following is from Kelli’s blog. You can read the whole post by clicking here.)

One of my horror stories from childhood was having to wash my father’s car every weekend – and cleaning the whitewall tires with a toothbrush. For no pay. That, and never being allowed to eat in the car and having to remove every last tiny bit of trash from it each time we got out, and heaven forbid we put something in the little ashtrays on the door handles. When we started driving, the lectures on removing all traces of sand from the bottom of our shoes, and never wiping the fog off the window or mirror with anything but Windex and a clean rag, and DO NOT LEAVE THE RADIO OR AIR CONDITIONER ON drove my teenager-self crazy. By the time I left home I was in full revolt – in my head at least – condemning my parents for being materialistic control freaks.

On my own, I drove cheap, ugly, trashy cars and happily added my own trash to them. I joked that my car was simply a closet on wheels and that I was not so shallow as to care what the thing looked like.

But time has taken its toll on my disdain, and as an adult – still driving old cars for the most part – I am getting why even a high-minded, self-righteous, non-materialist might deign to take care of one of them. They last longer…

Click here to read the rest of the post.

HOUSE NEWS: Scripture starts, need vols, Roundtable speaker and more

Dear friends,

For a complete schedule for the week, click here.

SCRIPTURE STUDY: This Tuesday, September 15, from 4:30-6pm, we’ll begin our regular weekly Scripture study. We’ll look at the gospel of Luke this fall. We approach scripture a little differently at the GCW then you might be used to

Yoni, Lawrence and Leah at the Cafe

Yoni, Lawrence and Leah at the Cafe

in your churches. For a little overview of what we do, read this.

REGULAR VOLUNTEERS STILL NEEDED FOR CAFE: We have a nice group of regular volunteers for the Wednesday cafe, especially between 9am and noon, and then again after 2pm thru close. We could REALLY use a couple of regular volunteers anytime between 11:30am and about 2:30pm. If you can give an hour or two during this part of the cafe, it would be a great help. Thanks!

…SO MANY ISSUES, SO LITTLE TIME: This Thursday we’re happy to have with us Diane Lopez Hughes, an activist from Springfield, Illinois and national council member with Pax Christi USA. Diane did 45 days in jail for an action of civil disobedience at the School of the Americas 2 years ago and she is very involved with environmental issues. her topic for the evening is: “…So Many Issues, So Little Time: Making sense of all the work of social justice and fitting it care-fully into our finite lives.” We hope you can join us! It is a potluck dinner so bring something to share if you can!

GATOR GAMEDAYS: On football Saturdays, we’re inviting friends who might not have anywhere else to enjoy a game on television or who are looking for company for the game to watch with us the Blue House. We try to provide a little atmosphere for the games, so if you or your group would ever want to help us host, we’d love the help. We’re thinking something like sandwiches or snacks (nachos, etc) and so on. We’re open to ideas so let us know!

NOT COLD YET, BUT WE COULD USE A FEW BLANKETS: Even though the weather hasn’t yet changed, we’re getting a handful of requests for blankets and we’re virtually out. If you have old blankets going unused around your house, feel free to drop them off at the house anytime.

In peace,

John

HOUSE NEWS: Welcome Leroy and Lawrence and volunteer opportunities for families and groups!

Riley and Youssef at the first Cafe of Fall 09

Riley and Youssef at the first Cafe of Fall 09

Dear friends,

To read a full schedule of what is happening this week at the GCW, click here.

Thanks so much to all of the folks who came out to dine or volunteer at Dorothy’s Cafe last Wednesday. We had a great first turnout for the cafe and we’re especially grateful to the folks who let us know that they could commit to regular weekly shifts at the cafe (Julia, Leah, Vickie, Stephen, Rachel… who else am I missing?) And thanks too to Fr. John and Mike from Holy Faith and the others who joined us in celebrating our opening Mass last Thursday! (Click here for photos from the first Cafe and more.)

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES FOR FAMILIES, GROUPS AND OTHERS AT THE GCW: We know how much volunteers have enjoyed our Sunday cafes in the past, but we’re faced with the reality that so many other organizations are serving free meals on Sundays (four at last count) and that our time and energy is best spent elsewhere. But we do understand the desire of families, groups, and individuals who are busy during weekdays to come and help. So here are some other possibilities (including weekend opportunities) we thought folks would like to consider:

  • First Thursday Mass and Dinner – A lovely, diverse group of people join us in worship and thanksgiving on the first Thursday of each month, followed by a potluck dinner. The experience of a home mass or liturgy is quite different than Sunday mass at church and one your family (or group or you) might enjoy and benefit from.
  • Thursday Roundtables - On the remaining Thursdays of the month, we host a potluck and Roundtable where interesting topics of all sorts are presented and discussed. Check out “This Week” for the topic of the week.
  • Breakfast Brigade – Admittedly for the very hardy among you, Breakfast Brigade begins at 4:15am and is finished before 7. There is nothing like meeting folks on their own turf at the labor pools and sharing a simple meal. We have had groups of high schoolers in the past and even younger children join us. If it doesn’t work out for you regularly, perhaps during  Christmas break, spring break, or early summer.
  • Saturday Workdays – We will have garden workdays on an as-needed basis at least once a month throughout the year. Check our weekly schedule for the next one. Let us know if you are coming, and we will be sure to give you some good work to do in our beautiful empty-lot garden. Call or email us if you want to get your group scheduled for one later this semester.
  • Saturday Gamedays – We will be hosting a football game each Saturday during the Fall for our friends who have nowhere else to watch a game and relax. Your family or group is invited to provide sandwiches before or after (depending on the time) and snacks during (popcorn, drinks, nachos, etc.). If you’re watching the game anyway, you’ll enjoy watching it with this enthusiastic crew of football fanatics. Call or email us to schedule a gameday.
  • House projects – We regularly have various construction or upkeep projects that need doing around the house. If you or your group has some skill (plumbing, construction, landscaping, electrical, painting, etc) and would like to volunteer to help with repairs and improvements to the house, we could use the help. Call or email us to find out what needs doing or how we can match your skills to our needs.

WELCOME LEROY AND LAWRENCE THIS THURSDAY: Each Thursday, from 6-7:30pm, we practice “clarification of thought,” an examination and discussion of issues political, religious, economic and cultural over a potluck meal. Started by Peter Maurin, one the co-founders of the Catholic Worker movement, these “roundtables” are a chance to sharpen our minds around the great issues of our day. Typically we have a guest speaker who “breaks open” the topic for us with a 15-20 minute presentation, then the rest of the meal is spent in discussion. The first Roundtable of each semester is reserved for welcoming new community members and reaffirming the mission of the GCW. We’ll be officially welcoming Leroy and Lawrence as live-in members of the community for the semester this Thursday. We hope you can join us! It is a potluck dinner so bring something to share if you can!

LABOR DAY REFLECTION: Lastly, we were musing about Labor Day yesterday, and Kelli decided to write a short reflection sharing some of the origins of Labor Day as well as a little sense of where we are now. To read her short reflection, click here.

Hope to see you this week at the Cafe, Breakfast Brigade, Roundtable, etc! And a special “Happy Birthday” to Arthur, 40 years old as of Sunday! See Arthur, with his better half Jennifer, below from last week’s cafe.

Happy Birthday Arthur! (with Jennifer at last week's cafe)

Happy Birthday Arthur! (with Jennifer at last week's cafe)

In peace,

John

REFLECTIONS: Little helpers…

We’ve got the Bean with us here this week, and he’s “helping” a lot. The enthusiasm a four year-old has! He falls asleep each night happily anticipating the next day’s work. Garden-work, kitchen-work – what some might call drudgery – this boy is all over. I know from experience that the helping phase passes about the same time the competence phase arrives, but I’m still enjoying it, especially on this short-term basis. Even the more so for all the helpees we have around here graciously accepting his offers (or demands: “I wanna help!”) to work with them.

To read the rest of this post from Kelli’s blog, click here.

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