Intentional community is one of the core tenants of the YAV program. During the first week of orientation, we were given this description for what it might look like and what it might mean to live intentionally with the other YAVs at our sites:
YAVs explore what it means to be a Christian community with one another and their neighbors. While some will live in housing together and others spread throughout their country, all YAVs will reflect together on their service and explore their relationship with God, the church, and their ministry in a broken world.
On November 3rd, we started our week-long border delegation to Tucson, Arizona and Agua Prieta, México to learn about the realities of broken and oppressive systems in the shadow of the physical border than exists between the United States and Mexico.
On the first night of the trip, the ABQ YAVs stayed at an intentional community called Sitting Tree in Tucson, Arizona. Co-founded by Rick Ufford-Chase, one of the orientation leaders that led our bible studies at Stony Point in August, Sitting Tree is an intentional community made up of a diverse population of families that have committed to living, struggling, and sharing together. While each family has their own living space or apartment, the community as a whole shares a meal each week and meets twice a month to coordinate issues that come up regarding common spaces, budgeting, etc… as they live in such close proximity.
I continue to be amazed at the incredible love, awareness, and sense of solidarity that I felt during our one night stay with these families. Below is a reflection that I wrote surrounding these feelings while the families were getting ready to share a meal together:
Sitting at the picnic table that overlooks the common yard at Sitting Tree, I feel like this place is the intersection of so many places I’ve been and of so many people I’ve met.
Maybe it’s not where I’m supposed to be next or what I’m supposed to do next, but who I’m supposed to meet and love and learn from next. That makes the most sense of anything to me.
Strung up lights, reverse osmosis water, line-dried clothes, the smell of community dinner on the stove. It’s humble, but enough. It’s a little chaotic, but restful and at peace.
I sit in this place and I jump back and forth in my mind to the conversations and places and people who have ultimately led me here – right here.
I think about organic hospitality and the conversations I had with Chuck Bailey and Craig Cera at Wednesday night bible study. Pienso en Don Juan y nuestras conversaciones sobre las maneras que vemos a Dios y el temor que la gente tiene para el uno del otro. I think about cul-de-sacs and the ways in which Rick Ufford-Chase challenged my perspectives. Pienso en Doña Marta y el descubrimiento del tigre del hambre y de la humildad. I think about the sense of strength and resilience and joy that I felt during the “Thanksgiving dinner” that I ate with my family in August before I left for this year of transformation.
I don’t know much about this space or much about the people who live here, but I know that it is a sacred space. And that God is very close here.
I thank God for the intentional community that I have here in Albuquerque, New Mexico this year. For a community with whom I can sit and grieve and figure out my privilege and my complacency and my hopes for this world. To quote Tucson YAV Leah Bishop, “It is so life-giving to be surrounded by people who are willing to and want to challenge white supremacy and all the related systems.”
I hope and pray that I will seek out people, instead of places or jobs, who I can learn and love and grow from next.
Read more from Taylor on her blog.