Can you believe how fast the year has gone by? Come join us on December 14th or 21st (exact date TBA) for our annual Chicago Benefit at St. Ignatius College Preparatory!
2014 GROUP WEEKS
Send in your registration informationand reserve your spots for 2014! See deadlines below.
High School: September 30, 2013
College: August 15, 2013
THIS ISSUE SPONSORED BY
CARETAKER RESIDENCE PROGRESS REPORT: Sustainable Features Hanging in the Balance
on the Caretaker Residence has been coming along nicely. After hiring
professionals to lay the foundation, pour the slab, and raise the SIPs
frame, we have taken the lead on interior framing, laying block for the
window wells, installing the radiant floor, and preparing the greenhouse
foundation for infilling with topsoil. Caretakers, Summer Servants and
Participants have all had a hand in providing volunteer labor for the
project, which is significantly reducing costs, even as it is adding to
an already busy schedule of summer home repair. It is only through the
dedication of the Caretaker Community, steadfast work from the Summer
Servants, and the leadership of our Construction Manager, Mark Solak,
that the project has been moving ahead at a steady clip. It is an
exciting point in the process!
We have come a long way, but we still have $221,000 to go to fund the Caretaker Residence project. Whether
you contributed to the initial campaign last summer or have not yet
given toward this essential project, we invite you to contribute at this
We need your help - please consider clicking here to send a gift online!
We are still in the process of deciding how far we can go with some of our sustainable features:
- We would like to invest in solar heat for the radiant floor heating system and let the sun pay our heating bill
- We are hoping to include SolaTube passive solar lighting
are determining how much rainwater containment we can afford for
irrigation of the gardens, orchard, and high tunnel greenhouse
- If funding is available, we will also add solar panels to bring the Farm up to 100% solar electricity!
The cool thing about these features is that they will make Bethlehem Farm more resilient and result in lower maintenance and operating costs for the building, if we can afford them.
Click here if you would like to sponsor one of these sustainable design features!
are working diligently to finish the Caretaker Residence sometime this
fall. When it is complete, we will have room for some fun folks who have
been patiently awaiting more space:
- Joe and Julie Tracy-Prieboy (see story below)
- Our 9th Caretaker, Jenna Cucco
- And Baby Fitts #2 (due in September!)
Click here to join us in offering up what you can for this critical project!
WELCOME BACK HOME, JOE AND JULIE!
Bethlehem Farm became a reality, the bishop asked, "Who will be
there?". Eric responded, "Someone will come." One of those someones was
Julie Tracy, a friend of Eric and Colleen from Nazareth Farm. Julie and
Russ held down the fort and hosted the first Bethlehem Farm group weeks
in 2005. After her departure, Julie stayed closely involved as a board
member and most recently, chair of the board.
Joe Prieboy came to the Farm in 2007. He first worked as an Americorps VISTA member at SARA (Southeastern Appalachian Rural Alliance), and then became the Farm's project coordinator
in 2009. Joe and Julie first met each other through their mutual
friendship with Colleen, and began dating after a shared vacation on
Prince Edward Island. In May of 2012, they became Joe and Julie Tracy
Prieboy. They spent their first year of marriage in New Hampshire, while
Julie finished her Master of Social Work and Master of Science in
Outdoor Education degrees, and Joe worked as
a caretaker of a conference center and a personal aide for young adults
with developmental disabilities. AND NOW, THEY ARE BACK! We are
thrilled to welcome home Joe, Julie, and their dog, Gus. Joe returns to
the Farm as a co-project coordinator with Laura, and co-facility and
vehicle maintenance with Katherine and Colleen. Julie is a clinician at
the Greenbrier Academy for Girls, located just down the hill from the
Farm. They currently reside in Hinton. We look forward to the day we can
welcome them home into the caretaker residence!
SUMMER SERVANT STORIES
into his junior year at Xavier University, Taylor Fulkerson signed on
for thirteen weeks with us as a Summer Servant. Taylor had never
been to the Farm before he showed up to live and work here for over
three months, but he trusted the recommendation of two close college
friends who have been Summer Servants in the past. Reflecting on his first six weeks at the Farm, Taylor said bluntly, "That seemingly pretentious part of the Farm's Mission Statement about 'transforming lives'...it's the real deal."
who comes to the Farm (caretakers, Summer Servants, volunteers, guests,
community friends) are all called here for a reason and all of our
reasons are different. I posed the question, "Why are you here?"
to all of our Summer Servants. Most are returning volunteers who
found family and home at the Farm and felt a call to return. Others,
like Taylor and recent Villanova graduate Lauren O'Brien, found
themselves searching for something this summer, and with a little
direction from mutual friends of the Farm ended up in Summers County,
To read more about the journeys of our Summer Servants, click here.
Photo by Danielle DuBois
WHO WE ARE MEANT TO BE
Iafrate, Ph.D. candidate in theology at the University of Toronto,
joined us one June evening for a discussion on the agrarian nature of
the scriptures. Both the old and new testaments were written by and for
agricultural communities. Today, we miss a lot of the original meanings
of these stories because we don't understand the context in which they
passage we delved into was the creation story in Genesis, which was
written during the period of the Babylonian exile. The Hebrew creation
stories depict humans as the pinnacle of God's creative work, made in
the divine image. Humans are called to be stewards of the rest of
creation, while simultaneously being completely dependent upon it for
our sustenance. This text, and the concept of the divine as loving
creator, is juxtaposed with the Babylonian creation myth, in which
humanity emerges from the dead bodies of gods murdered by their own
children. The triumphant gods control the earth, and human beings are
created to serve them. This myth of redemptive violence, of healing and
wholeness emerging from violence and death, is still alive and well in
our culture today - in the form of superheroes, the glorification of war
and violence, and the "might makes right" assumption that celebrates
cut-throat competition and exploitation.
Our faith exposes the myth of redemptive violence for what it is: a myth. Much
of the Hebrew canon is a prophetic critique of the elites' accumulation
of wealth at the expense of the common people. Today, this critique can
be applied to multinational corporations' consolidation of resources.
Jesus' nonviolent resistance to the worldly powers of his time gives us
an example of equality, community, generosity, and detachment from
material things: a vision of the Kingdom of God.
This article is made possible by a grant from the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.
DEBUTING THIS FALL
you catch the reference in the Caretaker Residence article above? If
you didn't, here's the news: Eric and Colleen are expecting their second
child this September! Miriam is very excited to be an older sister, and
we are all looking forward to welcoming a new member into our
community. Congratulations to the Fitts family!
SPECIAL THANKS FOR YOUR GENEROSITY IN 2013
Our Sunday Visitor Institute
Bernard McDonough Foundation
1st and 10 Foundation
Scott and JoAnn Haner
Bob and Pauline Hanich
Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston
Helen Brach Foundation
Dominican Sisters of Springfield, IL
Plum Creek Foundation
Xaverian Brothers High School (Boston, MA)
Our Lady of Grace Church (Noblesville, IN)
Robert Bensen Meyer, Jr. Foundation
Tom and Diane Murray
Andra and Charles Benson
St. Catherine of Siena Church (Ronceverte, WV)
Joe and Emily Donegan
Laura Jones and Sam Leizear
Tom and Diane Slain
Ann and Dan Ruggaber
John and Nicole Weber
THANK YOU TO OUR MONTHLY DONORS
Andrew and Carrie Archual * Sue Augustus * Jay Carney * Anonymous * Patrick
and Jeanne Dignan * Elizabeth Drapa * Katie Feise * Louis Ferrari *
Colleen and Eric Fitts * Bob Gill * John Hannagan *
Lauren LaCoy * Christine and John Marasi * Kera and Scott McNelis * Katie Noonan *
Laura and John O'Donnell * Frederick and Erin Pratt * Julie and Joe Tracy Prieboy *
Andi and Andy Rebollar * Robert and Patricia Rebollar * Sarah and Tom Rooney * Margaret Shaia *
Marc Slain * Howard Spurlock * Jake and Alicen Teitgen * Mary Williams
Click here to become a monthly donor!
you have questions about this newsletter, or would like to submit an
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