By Rose Ederer and Annie Michalica
This semester we kick-started a new program for Saint Paul’s Outreach New Jersey.
We started a Dorm Household!
Dorm Household started as a way for students on campus to enter into the intentional community life of household – but on campus. Seton Hall is a unique SPO campus in that there are missionaries that live on campus, in addition to the two missionaries who lead the men’s and women’s houses. So, dorm household came out of the desire to build up a core community of students who are already living on campus – students who would pray together, build friendship, share meals, and outreach to the campus community. There are 6 members in our little house. As missionaries, we are the only housemates who actually live in the same dorm room. The other four of our housemates live in other dorms across campus. Because of that, the commitments we have for this household are different than a normal SPO house.
While members of the women’s dorm household community don’t live together, they do pray together three mornings a week and share weekly meals together. These community commitments have challenged the women to become more disciplined in prayer and intentional in relationship with one another. Tara Curry, junior at Seton Hall, describes the impact of dorm household:
“Not only has the dorm household structured my prayer life but it has opened a new door to grow deeper in Christ-centered relationships with the other women in household who strive to live Christ centered lives and provide such a beautiful witness and encouragement for me. The outpouring of support from this group of woman is almost palpable, whether it be keeping one another accountable for Morning Prayer or just seeking advice, I am confident that these women are always there. I am so thankful for the opportunity of dorm household to exemplify the powerful impact a Christ-centered community can have on one’s individual prayer life and ultimately relationship with Christ.”
It’s such a gift for us to witness these gals growing in friendship. On April 1-3, 2016, the six women who make up the Women’s Dorm Household retreated to the woods of New Hampshire for a time to pray together, laugh together, and enjoy intentional sisterhood. We spent time hiking, learning the dance to Beyonce’s “Love on Top,” eating a LOT of food, and growing in sisterhood. We had a powerful time sharing and praying together. God can open our hearts so much when we are vulnerable with trusted friends, stand for each other in prayer, and ask His love and forgiveness to heal our wounds. There was an undeniable hope and mercy in the eyes of our housemates when heading home that weekend. God is so good.
Looking to next year, the vision for dorm household is a group of students that not only will build up the community through intentional friendship but also can serve as the creative energy behind outreach specifically in the dorms. This year, as part of regular dorm outreach, the missionaries hosted bi-weekly dinners and a weekly coffee hour, but these events were mainly missionary-initiated. The hope is to allow the community life of the dorm household to spill over into dorm life across campus. We want to be changing the campus and changing the world, one residence hall at a time!