Neighborhood Service Center: A dream for an urban community

I have for the past three decades wanted to live in community. I continue to hold this vision, although it has changed quite a bit over the years. Here is my current vision:

I am looking for other people to join me in finding a large house in Fayetteville which can serve as a model “Neighbor Service Center”. Here we will live and help each other live out the teachings of Jesus and, and reach out to the neighborhood to help it become a thriving, self-reliant community. I would love to find other followers of Jesus who are in alignment with the following guidelines. I would also enjoy hearing any suggestions of places that would be available for free, trade, or inexpensively priced for creating this place. Those who live here will have the opportunity to connect with my family on our land near Kingston which we call Wellspring Eco-village-in-formation. I sure look forward to hearing from you!

We who live together in the Neighborhood Service Center (name can be changed) desire to commit to serving Life Eternal through love for Wisdom from The Heavens and serving Earth with loving stewardship of our resources we are given…loving our bodies as The Temple of The Almighty… and loving each-other as we love our-selves… loving our neighbor as ourselves.

We encourage each other in deepening our relationship with Jesus, Father, and Holy Spirit, and being lead by the Holy Spirit every moment.
You are the potter…we are the clay.

Simplicity — We are committed to love, which demands simplicity… Striving to live with only what one needs, not wants…

Non-violence — Driven by love which does not express itself in violence towards people… absolute community and individual commitment to not use violence…

Spirituality — The community shares a common desire for spirituality, meaning that life is lived form the inside out… not the other way around. This is supported through such practices as meditation (being still and listening) and prayer, stretching, praise with our voices to The Almighty… testimonies of good things, encouragement, Truth studies through the Bible and other respected Faiths of Peace… expressing this through our work and sharing of the sacraments.
Worship to the Almighty is doing all these things as unto the Lord…

Relationships — Commitment to balance time inside the intentional community as well as building relationships outside of the intentional community … balance between inner personal growth and growth with relationship to others…

Jobs — Commitment to balance work inside and outside of The Neighborhood Service Center… Striving to create jobs in alignment with our values… ie. Communal working together, including Gardening, Plant Nursery, life-long learning center, volley ball coaching, parenting coaching, simple living consulting

Kingdom of God — Commitment to building the Kingdom of God at hand by inspiring people to Live in Harmony with Gods laws of the Earth through tending the garden and depending on our health through this which nourishes… Mind, Body, Spirit to sustain us through Eternal Life (7 generations in peace)… On Earth as in The Heavens.

Together – We will strives to work with, not for, people — allowing the people most affected by problems to lead the way in the struggle for their solutions.

Healing — We are all broken. And we are all on a journey towards wholeness. This healing is individual, communal, and social.

Accountability — Community members are held accountable to one another by love. With open permission and intentional commitment to actively hold one another accountable, we work toward loving God and loving people. We use tried and true methods such as Nonviolent communication (Marshall Rosenberg’s model) in order to tell the truth in love, dialogue about differences, and find win-win solutions that are lead by the holy spirit.

Local assembly — The community worships with and builds relationships with local congregations.

Structure — The community recognizes the necessity and danger of structure, and establishes structures not as a prescription for community but as a description of how the body and family function, often driven by individual roles rather than systematic delegation. We see the structure as similar to the banks of a river. The banks make it possible for the river, or the holy spirit—to flow. We also see structure as a way to create a soil where we as seeds can be planted to be nurtured by the will of God as the sun and the rain. We build healthy soil to grow healthy plants.

The creative and performing arts — We recognize that we are created Imago Dei to be creators. Each individual has unique and special creative abilities that add to communal “art”. Also, we value the role that art has in getting kingdom messages to people who might otherwise not be receptive. Our spirits are fed when we express our creativity, and our children benefit as well.

Projects — The community may find projects to do as a Body and family, which all persons commit themselves to (in different capacities), and individuals initiate personal projects with the community involvement in mind. All projects are born out of love, not out of the desire for programs. We encourage each other with ideas, resources, prayers and networking even if we are not actively involved in a project. We find ways to tie all the projects together so that they support each other and our values. Before taking on a major project, we consult with the household so that we can be accountable to each other in terms of how time is used and how it will impact the household.

Growth — The nature of love is to grow. There are both opportunities and dangers in growth. Everyone is invited to “come and see”. Anyone desiring to join the community or start another Neighborhood Service Center must first have a journey with the existing community members.

Balance — The community will continue to struggle for transformation both on the systematic (in the macro and micro) level and on the personal level… small things with great love, great things with great love.

Play — The community is committed to playing… creating foolishness as we dance together; never forgetting to cry and always remembering to laugh.

Rest — Action must be accompanied by reflection, and reflection by action. Rest is done as a community and as individuals, distinct from playing.

Justice- Reap what we sow…and sow what we want to reap…

Hope- for the best, while preparing for worst…

Beauty- is reflected in the heart and character of individuals and common-unity of a group… We plant flowers and have simple ways of beautifying our environment.

Functionality (what it really looks like each day)

Decision making- Decisions which are related to usage of the house and community guidelines and values are made by our home. The council can add people as they prove themselves trustworthy. The council makes decisions based on consensus, always receiving counsel from people that the decision affects. Right now, Patricia is the only member of the counsel. She is looking for an elder who can be a mentor.

Order- Place for everything, everything in its place. Cleanliness is next to godliness. But if it gets messy sometimes–no condemnation.

Money –Residents share living expenses of the community including rent, food, upkeep and utilities. We find creative ways to keep our expenses down, including barter, joining the local; Time Bank, being so valuable and serviceful that people want to support us financially and in other ways. People are responsible for their own other expenses, and we will help each other as much as possible.

Drugs – No illegal substances are allowed in the house under any circumstance.

Relationships: Single people are celibate until making a commitment to marriage… Support each-other in finding ways to avoid promiscuity and remain pure. We do not allow ourselves to be alone with people we will potentially be attracted to. As relationships develop, we encourage members to be accountable to the community in relationship to how deep the relationship goes. Since we are family, and will be affected by these relationships, with people potentially wanting to marry and thus join the community, we want to be able offer counsel and feedback.

Communication: We completely and unequivocally refrain from gossip about other members. We speak positively about each other, and go directly to a person if we have issues. If necessary, we bring a brother or sister into the conversation. If this does not work, we bring the conflict before the whole community for resolution and counsel

Children- We treat children with the same respect as we treat adults. We non-coercive methods to help them to grow in discipline and love depending on their age…

Alcohol – We recognize that some people have issues with alcohol, and we do not want to tempt them. We will only have alcohol in the house at specific times and when consensus is reached.

Weapons — No weapons of death allowed.

Donations – As we host gatherings, classes and other activities, including other people hosting approved events, we gratefully receive donations.

Guests — there are several levels of commitment for guests. Initially, we generally invite anyone to visit anytime. Any overnight visits are decided as a community. If individuals want to become permanent community members, this is to be discussed after previously visiting. They must commit to Loving God, Loving People and Following Jesus, and to the vision, commitments, Foundation, and Functionality of the community. A trial period may be instituted as necessary.

Non-violent civil disobedience — There are times when we must choose to stand in solidarity with the oppressed rather than follow the law of the world. We choose non-violence because the powers of the world choose violence to do so. Our resistance is always born out of relationships where the people most affected are in leadership…

House meetings — Mandatory, once a week…”points” meetings designed to connect with information, dates, ideas, struggles.
Prayer — Sometimes scheduled, sometimes not… highly suggested, not mandatory even when scheduled.

Family Dinners — Mandatory, bi-weekly… scheduled dinner time for the family to check-in with one another and be together.

Meals: Community members often share meals together outside this scheduled time. Our goal is to have shared meals as often as possible with people signing up for preparing meals

Types of Foods- We prefer vegetarian meals while looking forward to eating 80% raw foods… and we discourage processed foods while encouraging whole foods in bulk and locally grown vegetables. Meat eating can be discussed if this is an important thing to potential members.

Roundtables (guest dinners) — Bi-weekly dinners, often inviting guests… for the purpose of discussion or special activities (i.e. visiting communities)…

Re-Evaluation — Times of reflection to keep connected as individuals and as a family, often scheduled when a new day is also set aside as a Sabbath, typically Sunday. The community rests (as well as routine activities).

Emergency — Must be willing to be flexible and sacrifice when there are special needs requiring a meeting, discussion, or simply bonding. Looking into place of shelter and need when things may get hairy… Peace be with us all…

All of above can be changed with the approval of the counsel as lead by the Holy Spirit.


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