As a Bon Secours ministry volunteer, your daily life will settle into a pattern that combines your own routine with the rhythm of the volunteer community. There is a mix of independence and intentionality, of both having and letting go of control, of structure and spontaneity! Though you’ll realize that not much about our year of ministry is “normal” compared to what has come before or what might come after, here’s a look at what you might call a normal day.
6:45am: Rise & shine, if you aren’t one of the housemates who snuck out for an early morning run. Some volunteers take space in the mornings to cultivate new prayer practices, exploring Scripture, spiritual readings, journaling, yoga, and other meditative prayer.
7:45am: After some breakfast to sustain you, head off to your placement site for the day! Be it the mobile health clinic, the middle/high school classroom, the community hospital, or the senior housing complex, you’ll likely have a day of relationship building, laughter, challenges, creativity, perseverance, and presence.
12:30pm: Take your lunch break with coworkers, who will inevitably ask every few weeks about what you and your community mates like to cook, what you’re eating, and how you’re managing on your stipend! Before long, you’ll be eager to share recipes and grocery budgeting ideas.
4:30pm: Arrive back at home for downtime, decompressing, trash pick-up, and/or dinner duty. Every few nights, you’ll be the community member responsible for cooking. Don’t worry– many people start out with little kitchen experience. If that’s the case, you’ll learn together and from each other! If you’re not cooking, you’re out with some community mates in your neighborhood picking up trash as a daily practice to beautify the space around you, honor the dignity of your neighbors, and practice justice on your block.
6:00pm: Nightly dinner together is described by many former volunteers as a highlight of community life. It is a chance to process, to share, to joke, and to journey together without an agenda, and rarely with activities or anything else to rush to next. This shared time together is a sacred “break” from the pace of the world!
6:30pm: Community gathering time, in the form of Community Life nights (or, Morning Reflection), are when prayer and the pillars of the program are in full focus. A staff member helps guide everyone through
reflection and discussion, and you might find yourself talking through a social justice article, leading a worship song, watching a racial equity documentary, or reading from a prayer collection. Some gatherings are focused on dynamics of community life and learning together as a household how to prioritize living in solidarity with each other and with those who have less resources.
8:30pm: The night is yours to unwind in ways most meaningful to you, whether reading, socializing, exercising, etc. Cultivating new prayer practices is expected at some point in your day and often volunteers like to conclude their evenings with this.
And what about weekends and other “nonwork” time during the year?
You and your fellow volunteers will have the gift of mostly unscheduled weekends and the excitement of exploring and engaging with your city (often in creative and low cost ways). From farmers markets to pick-up soccer games, college alumni club gatherings to seasonal festivals, congregation events to public parks, past volunteers have found ample opportunities to meet new people and build networks all over town.
The volunteer houses in both Baltimore and Richmond are close to downtown and allow for easy access to many city amenities, like concerts, sporting events, museums, and more. Your community also has a van and if nature calls, you will not need to go far to find adventure on the trails or along the water. You’ll get used to sharing the experiences of your new city with community mates, and will certainly never run out of things to do.
Volunteers are expected to take space each week to practice Sabbath, which includes rest, worship, and resistance, and opens the way for more gratitude, peace, and love. Sabbath practices can include creative expression, solitude, and corporate worship. We work together – as a community – to practice in ways that enrich individual growth and strengthen the community’s ability to experience compassion, healing, and liberation.
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