May 12-18 College Week

May 12-18, 2019, College Week: Alvernia University (Reading, PA)

Thanks to the group from Alvernia University, a Franciscan school near Reading, PA, for a great week.

Making a difference serving with Melissa, Teshla, Wellspring, Farmer Rhonda, and on the homefront.

Thanks to these students and their group leader Krista for their selfless love and their graced presence among us.

Thanks also to our Summer Servants for the week: Grace Pallisard, Marty Nocchi, Shannon Loeherer, Frances Rafferty, Robert O’Ryan, and Sarah Reilly

San Damiano Center for Sustainability: Foundation Complete, Part XI

San Damiano Center for Sustainability:
Foundation Complete, Part XI

by Eric Fitts, Director

The crew from Solak Builders was back to make some relief cuts in the slab, begin some block work around the rain water hydrant for the chicken coop, and lay the last 2 courses of block on top of the slab to create a knee wall for the framing to sit upon (so there is no wood at ground level, which will leave it less exposed to rot). The framing kit arrives from Shelter-Kit on May 23rd (20 pallets of materials on a 48-ft flatbed truck!). We’ll epoxy our anchor bolts into the foundation and begin framing!

Meanwhile, we are holding Eric and Jeremy close in prayer, as well as Will & Roni, as each needs us to lift them up a bit this week.

“Rebuild My Church” Capital Campaign

Reflections on 12 years at Bethlehem Farm

12 years ago the day before yesterday, Colleen and I graduated from grad school at WVU. 12 years ago yesterday Colleen and I moved in at Bethlehem Farm, greeted by the sole Caretaker at the time, Russ Plywaczynski. 2 hours later, a group arrived from Illinois State and we met Lauren LaCoy, among others. A week later, Kathleen Brian DeRouen moved in.

Having lived in community with 35 Caretakers and hundreds of Summer Servants, and having hosted thousands of volunteers over 193 service-retreat weeks, adding three little ones to our family (the last one here at home) along the way, there is so much to be thankful for and so many people who have lifted us up.

Some things never change, like planting tomatoes in May on a college week, while so much growth and change has transpired as well. Here’s to many more years!

To borrow from Frost:
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But [we] have promises to keep.
And miles to go before [we] sleep.
And miles to go before [we] sleep.

A photo from the May 2, 2007, board meeting just prior to Eric and Colleen, Brian and Kathleen moving in.

San Damiano Center for Sustainability: foundation in progress, Part X

San Damiano Center for Sustainability:
Foundation in Progress, Part X

by Eric Fitts, Director

The day finally arrived to pour the slab for San Damiano. Vapor barrier was placed down (to protect the contents of the building from rust due to condensation from the ground), forms put up, and we were ready for 4 cement trucks carrying 8 cu yds of concrete each. A “little” left over at the end meant that we could also pave the educational area on the left side.

Many thanks to Eric Franklin and Mark Solak of Solak Builders for setting up the pour and to Steve Amick, Mike and Dillon of SAA Builders of Rainelle for their masterful job pouring and finishing the slab–not easy work, especially on yet another unseasonably warm and sunny day.

Next up: Solak Builders returns to make the relief cuts in the slab, run two more courses of block on top of the slab, and set the bolts for the posts and sill plates.

“Rebuild My Church” Capital Campaign

2020 Calendar Announcement

2020 Calendar Announcement

We are excited to announce our 2020 service-retreat week calendar!

Our 2020 Calendar has been posted and the registration packets are updated for the coming year. The priority registration date for the up-coming group season is Thursday August 15th for colleges and Monday September 16th for high schoolTo assure your chances of getting your spots, be sure to have your paperwork and deposit in by the appropriate date. Our participation fee this year will increase to $350, including the $50 deposit, as noted last year and in order to keep pace with inflation.

Bethlehem Farm is a Catholic community in Appalachia that transforms lives through serving with the local community and teaching sustainable practices. We invite volunteers to join us in living the Gospel cornerstones of service, prayer, simplicity, and community. Please feel free to reach out with any questions!

Links found here:

Registration packets

Calendar

Bethlehem Farm Video

 

Old Garden Tool Shed Demolition complete as we make way for Maintenance Garage

Old Garden Tool Shed Demolition/Salvage:
Demo completed as we prepare site for Maintenance Garage

by Eric Fitts, Director

Solak Builders took over where our Farm crews left off, as they demolished the remainder of the old garden tool shed. All of the locust posts were salvaged, which will be useful around the farm, and all metal was sent to the scrap yard for recycling. Topsoil begins to be removed from the site as it is prepared for the maintenance garage.

“Rebuild My Church” Capital Campaign

San Damiano Center for Sustainability: foundation in progress, Part IX

San Damiano Center for Sustainability:
Foundation in Progress, Part IX

by Eric Fitts, Director

The final course of block before the slab gets poured is in place, corrugated metal has been installed over the composting toilet bins and root cellar for the slab to pour over top of them, and forms have been placed and braced along the back to hold the wet concrete in place until it sets.

“Rebuild My Church” Capital Campaign

Old Garden Tool Shed Demolition/Salvage Progresses as we make way for Maintenance Garage

Old Garden Tool Shed Demolition/Salvage:
Progress made as we prepare site for Maintenance Garage

by Eric Fitts, Director

I worked with morning chore groups and three Farm Crew days over Holy Week and Easter Week to salvage as much material as possible from the Old Garden Tool Shed as we demolish it to prepare the site for the future maintenance garage. The crews from St. Martin de Porres HS (Cleveland), Xaverian Brothers HS ((MA), St. John’s HS (Shrewsbury, MA), Xavier College Prep (Palm Desert, CA), St. Joe’s Collegiate Institute (Buffalo), and Cristo Rey Brooklyn were pretty stoked to be able to take a sledge hammer to a wall or salvage roof metal for recycling, while also being careful to salvage old roughcut boards with finesse. We loaded an entire bay of the supply shed with beautiful old lumber that we’ll use for some finishing touches on the new buildings (as a memorial of sorts) and for other projects around the Farm.

“Rebuild My Church” Capital Campaign