The Life Together young adult fellowship program in the diocese is currently recruiting for its next cohort of fellows, and, after what has been, for many, a year of isolation, living in intentional community with other people may be exactly what some need.
Life Together fellowships give young adults ages 21-32 the opportunity to live together in intentional community and work at site placements to discern vocations in ministry, nonprofit management and education. Due to the pandemic, fellows this past year have spent even more time together than usual, something that ended up being a blessing in many ways, according to the new associate director of training and recruitment for Life Together, Jocelyn Collen.
“In these times, all of our fellows except one have been working from home, and so they spend all their time together and they really have been able to rely on each other for all kinds of things,” Collen said in a recent interview. “It’s not just roommates; they’re building something. They’re living and working together by the pandemic, not by design. They’ve done a great job of supporting each other through some really hard things, and they’ve been so grateful to have company.”
Life Together hopes to have its next cohort of fellows selected and accepted by mid-June, in order to begin the new program year together in mid-August with an orientation. Collen emphasized the hope that the program will be able to return to having more in-person aspects.
“We hope that this next year will be different, but we’re equipped and we can have another full year remotely if we need to,” Collen said. Either way, she said, "we can have a meaningful year, with fellows working with many meaningful organizations.”
In addition to working at their site placements, Life Together fellows engage together in spiritual practices, social justice and leadership training and community building. In recruiting for new fellows, Collen said, the program is looking to form an eclectic community with all kinds of gifts and graces from all different kinds of people--with or without a college degree, Episcopalian or without any faith tradition at all.
“Our fellows pray and worship together, so we are just asking people to be open to spirituality in whatever form that means something to them, and to be open to exploring other forms,” Collen said.
“We don’t have the ideal candidate because we want to be as inclusive as possible geographically, racially, ethnically, sexual orientation. Our community is committed to being queer, trans and non-binary affirming and also to dismantling white supremacy,” Collen said. “So in order to do this really hard work, we need to have people from all over the place with all different stories and all different backgrounds to come together.”
Collen is happy to talk to anyone who has questions about the program or who might be interested to any degree, she said. “I’m excited to see who we find,” Collen said.
--Bridget K. Wood
Life Together will host an online fundraising event on June 5, “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made: An evening of resilient joy with Life Together.” To learn more about Life Together, visit www.lifetogethercommunity.org.
Interested applicants can apply to Life Together or one of its sibling Episcopal Service Corps programs across the country here. Life Together applications are accepted on a rolling basis until the August 2021 cohort has been selected.
Hear directly from current Life Together fellows in their reflections over the past year here:
Preparing the Way by Allison Lewis from February 26, 2021
For the past year, every time I pictured what the future would look like, I’ve been wrong. (Remember when we all thought a global pandemic would blow over in a few months?) The world is so unpredictable, and planning often feels pointless. Still, I’ve been thinking about the future a lot lately. Both mine and Life Together’s. Read full reflection here.
Turning Through the Years: A Reflection on the Insurrection on January 6 by Freddie Swindal from January 28, 2021
When seeing the news in the past few years, depressingly enough, a song from Les Miserables comes to mind. The song “Turning” is performed in the second act, as women in the street mourn the deaths of the revolutionaries, speaking of how much hope in a new world they had as they were killed in the street. The bridge of this song includes a haunting melody with the words “Nothing changes” in a round, as we continue “turning through the years.” Read full reflection here.
December is Here by Joyce Chae from December 18, 2020
The holidays feel a lot like the experience of opening a bunch of presents. Some you’ll feel uncomfortable with, some you loath getting again, and others turn out to be the thing you never knew you wanted. Not to mention it being the COVID remix version, I’m anticipating this holiday track to be a rough one because this is always the time that I have to be with my family in Korea. Read full reflection here.
Comfort by Corinne Sigmund from November 24, 2020
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about comfort, and how we all seem to be needing a little extra these days. I find it sort of embarrassing to admit I want to be comforted— I don’t think any adult really welcomes suddenly feeling like a small child again. But unease with the vulnerability of needing to be cared for doesn’t make that need disappear. And really, seeking out comfort is a beautiful thing. Showing people that we need them, though it can be scary, deepens our relationships. Read full reflection here.
Guideposts by Andrea Albamonte from October 30, 2020
The Hill House library has been a blessing. You can tell a lot about a person by the books on their shelf, and the Hill House collection is a reflection of the people who have lived here. It’s been a great comfort to me to sit in the corner next to the books, in a comfy chair I shoved by the bookshelf, flipping through the titles and wondering about the amazing people who left these great gifts here for me to find. I’ve pulled at least 6 off the shelf to add to my reading list. The fact that so many of these books are interesting to me is very comforting; other people in this program have had similar thoughts, dreamed similar dreams, and found books on similar topics. The books are a physical reminder that I’m in the right place, despite the difficulties. Read full reflection here.
God is With Us by Eva Dalzell from September 30, 2020
One Friday last winter, after an in-person training, I went with a few other Micah fellows to Japonaise Bakery and Cafe on Beacon Street. While we sat there, enjoying our pastries in the late-afternoon sunshine, we talked about our plans for next year: who was going to graduate school, who was looking for a job, and who was hoping to stay for an Emmaus year. I remember the sense of freedom, of possibility, when thinking about the future. Most of all, I remember the excitement of imagining a second year with Life Together, strengthening these new friendships and building new communities with another cohort of Micah fellows. Needless to say, when we imagined the beginning of our Emmaus year, we didn’t expect anything like this. Read full reflection here.
Still, We Celebrate by Sky Gavis-Hughson from April 29, 2020
Four weeks ago, I labored down the sidewalk on Beacon Street under the weight of a full backpack, a heavy, bulky cardboard box, and two stuffed paper grocery bags somehow grasped in one overstretched hand. Normally I’d take the T home from a big grocery run, but the eerily empty train cars still didn’t make me feel safe taking public transit when there was an option to walk. Read full reflection here.
Life Happens Together by Tomoni Mwamunga from March 25, 2020
The story of the hermit disavowing society for some distant forest or cave has been one of fascination for me. At one point and time, I determined to become what I saw as the legendary recluse seeking some inner awakening with constant seated, silent meditations and otherwise belting the Beatles’ “Fool on the Hill” as my anthem. To me, the world had gone astray and it would take us few reaching enlightenment to share profound wisdom that would lead to a collective “aha!” that would irrevocably get the many back to the proper direction. Read full reflection here.