The Birth Story

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Here’s a brief history of the Restoration Project Community so far.

Several years ago: members began dreaming about community. No one knew each other.

May 2008: Five of us meet at a gathering to explore the idea of an ecumenical order for peace. This happened at a Tucson community called Sitting Tree. We resonated with what each other said and afterward sifted through the crowd to talk to each other more.

A week later: The five of us have supper at the Howard House. Whipped cream was made by hand in a jar. We sang at the end of the evening. And had a great time together. We decide to do it again the following week.

Summer of 2008: We continue to meet on a mostly weekly basis. And invite others to the conversation of community and what that might look like. We swam. Ate each other’s great vegetarian cooking and sang.

September of 2008: We are now 7. Three future members live in the Howard House together with another just down the road. It is fun. We wish we could all live this close.

October 2008: We go on a weekend retreat to Triangle L ranch in Oracle. It is lovely. We dream and draw our mission, sing, hike, and share spiritual autobiographies.

Early Winter 2008: We sit in silence discerning next steps. We continue meeting weekly for a meal We check in about the popsicles and poopsicles of the week. In religious terms this is called the examen. We talk about food and hospitality. We sing. We consider where we will live and what that might be like.

January 2009: We start looking at places to rent or buy (not that we could afford it, but hey, why not). It seems daunting. What part of the city is best? What can we afford? What do we need? What do we want? What about the members that own houses already? We do not see how this will work very easily or soon.

January 29, 2009: A member goes to her volunteer cooking gig, where the chef says, “I had an epiphany last night. I sat up in bed, and said, “AHA!” the community should live in my house.” It is a nearly 100 year old boarding house that railroad workers once lived in. 7 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, a big back porch. “Let’s go see it,” she says. And they leave the kitchen and, wow. It is wow. Much more beautiful than she could have imagined. But how could they ever pay the rent!

January 31, 2009: All seven members are miraculously free on a Saturday afternoon to see the potential community house. Wide eyes abound. “I always imagined this house as a great place for a monastic community,” the owner says.

February 1, 2009: We meet near the chicken coop of one of the members house. We decide to move in. In a month! Are we crazy? A little bit. But, as one couple who was moving out of a house that they owned said, “The Spirit’s work is so evident in all of this, we just have to try it and see what happens.”

This blog is the story of what happens next.

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