Below is a white paper on how we might establish something of a modern day convent that will serve the needs of single Godly women in our congregation who currently struggle to make ends meet every day and are burdened with many worries. It also addresses the need for workers in our church! I am offering it up to our congregation for prayerful consideration! Any and all ideas for how we might improve on this idea will be welcome. As well, if you have concerns please voice them!
THE PEACEABLE HOUSE
PREFACE: We have come to a difficult time in our nation. Even as rich and blessed as we are (taken as a whole) there are many problems and difficulties. The primary tragedy is that, as a nation, we are falling away from the worship of, and devotion to, the Lord. The congregation of God’s people are continually distracted by the world and its cares. We forget that we are called, gathered, and enlightened by the Holy Spirit to walk in His ways and be the Light of the world. When tragedy strikes we look around surprised, and in shock we wonder why we are so troubled. Of course we should not be so confused. But instead we should be convicted of our sins by God’s law, and embrace His unlimited Grace and the fact that he loves us yet and desires much better for us. He continually holds out his Word and invites us to trust Him in every aspect of our lives. This is easy to say. It is much more difficult to accomplish. It takes MUCH faith!
And what are just some of the principles of Christian life together that the Lord invites us to trust Him in?
+ Charity. True charity. Self sacrificial charity which can come only from the heart of God. Charity that does not demand anything in return.
+ Community. True Community. Honest and purposeful community (recognizing that we are created to BE in community!) Self sacrificial community that can come only from the heart of God.
+ Humility. True humility. Humility that is based on the fact that we are ALL exceptionally poor and miserable sinners. Humility that engenders gentleness and kindness toward others, as well as the ability to take direction and constructive criticism from others.
+ Love. True Love. Love that comes from the heart of God. The kind of Love that covers over a multitude of sins. The kind of Love that concerns itself with others.
+ Forgiveness. True Forgiveness. Forgiveness that comes straight from the cross of Christ – the kind of forgiveness that overcomes hate and every evil and proves the forgiveness that we receive from the Lord.
+ The Word. True Words from God that are meditated on day and night. This Word gives us wisdom for life in this world – and makes us wise for salvation!
THE PROBLEM SPECIFICALLY ADDRESSED BY THE PEACEABLE HOUSE: THE POVERTY OF OUR WOMEN AND THE LACK OF DEACONS (SERVANTS) IN THE CHURCH.
Currently we have two problems in our church community which are quite dire:
+ A certain kind of poverty that is often unaddressed by our government programs that makes certain of our members unable to, by themselves, adequately address their every-day needs.
+ Even as the world around us crumbles under the weight of its sin, there is a terrible lack of dedicated servants of the Lord that would help address the great needs of our church and community.
THE PROPOSED HELP: THE PEACEABLE HOUSE
The Peaceable House would be established so that those Godly women among our congregation might find a home together. In this home they would combine their resources and help each other so that they might lead more healthy and fulfilling lives, as well as enabling them to be devoted in serving the Lord in the church and the community. This would be something akin to a modern day convent: a purposeful life together in the Lord and for His glory.
Some further notes:
+ Unlike monastic life, there would be no life long vows. However, the residents of The Peaceable House would agree, as long as they were residents of the home, to abide by the rules of the house:
+ Spiritual Disciplines: daily devotions and prayers together to begin and end each day. As well, attendance at all congregational worship services is expected.
+ Sharing of the household tasks and the caring for each other: Every resident will have gifts to share in the upkeep of the house. Some will be more capable than others at times, but everyone should be diligent to the best of their abilities in their agreed upon duties.
+ Works of Charity: Each resident will be diligent in their works of charity in the church and community each day (except for two days off a week and other requested vacation time with family, etc.). Each resident would receive the office of “Deaconess” in the church and be considered staff members of the congregation.
+ Financial Responsibilities: Each resident will undergo a complete financial assessment and will come to an agreement per their contribution to the rent and general upkeep of the household. From the combined resources of the residents the rent will be paid and the groceries bought and the utilities paid. The residents would also have the opportunity to share a vehicle together.
Although it is expected that the residents of the house might work together peaceably, spiritual authority and dispute resolution mechanisms are to be maintained by the Peace Lutheran Church Elders and the Pastor (who might assign someone else – perhaps a spiritual woman of the congregation who is not a resident of the house – to work in their stead.)
If there is a continued and disruptive failure of a resident to abide by the disciplines of The Peaceable House, it might be necessary for the Church Elders to make a decision as to whether that individual can remain a resident of the house, or not.
HOW THIS MIGHT HAPPEN:
Peace Lutheran Church would buy and manage the upkeep of an appropriate house in the vicinity of the church. The church would receive back rent from the residents to pay the mortgage and hire a groundskeeper. In the event that there would not be a sufficient number of residents to sustain the house, the church could possibly decide to close down The Peaceable House and rent it out otherwise, or simply sell the property.