Blessing the House with the Blue Ridge Service Corps
"Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of the night, no the arrow that flies by day." Psalm 91:1-5
One of the core elements of a year of service with Blue Ridge Service Corps is a focus on intentional community. Our members share a home together at the Folwell House, on the property of La Capilla de Santa Maria, our Spanish Mission Chapel. Here, they spend their days as a household church community, working, praying and resting together. They engage in a rhythm of prayer, intentional community meals, and are deeply committed to their spiritual lives, as they serve our communities in solidarity with our neighbors.
Bishop José was blessed to be able to participate in the Blessing of the House on Monday, September 14th. Though COVID restrictions kept the gathering small, the spirit of the house remained, carried out in our passionate, intelligent corps members. We walked through the house together, blessing each room individually, then gathered outside for a shared meal, engaging in the intentional community that is vital to this program.
"Bless each of these your dear ones living here now, and those who shall live here in years to come, with the restoring comfort of quiet rest and peaceful sleep. Each day and night in this time of transformation, we pray continuing strength for our members, that they will abide gently in your grace, resting in your love."
The Folwell House has a deep history in our diocese, bearing the name of former Bishop Folwell. Located on the property of our Spanish-Mission Chapel and located in Henderson County, our Episcopal Service Corps members are neighbors to the Latinx Community, serving to be actively involved in ministry for those on the margins. During their 9 months of service, corps members are active participants in the diocese and informed members of the community, learning of the Native peoples who lived on this land, the history of racial reconciliation in this diocese, and the work, both past and present, that is being done to bring equity to all. This home is a symbol of these goals: to serve others in solidarity, promote justice in community, deepen spiritual awareness, discern vocation, and live simply.
Thank you, ever-loving God, for all the ways you provide for us and nourish us- body, mind, and spirit. We thank you for this space, and pray it to be a place where our bodies are replenished and relationships are built through shared meals and meaningful conversation. Even in our moments of challenge, we pray for your sustaining hope and transformational Spirit to be amongst us.
Following the blessing, we shared a meal together outside of the house. Together, we shared in food to nourish our bodies, and conversation to nourish our spirits. Sharing in laughter and friendship, the sun slowly set over the mountains as we found solace in community.
The Folwell house will continue to be home to corps members, both present and future. We are so grateful for the contributions of our donors, the hard work of our staff, and dedication of our corps members for making this all possible.
Thank you to our Blue Ridge Service Corps Advisory Board for helping to craft blessings and prayers for this evening together.