Companionship, the word we use at Haywood Street for our volunteers is a word that embodies what it means to hold relationship above all else. One of my favorite story tellers and poets, Wendell Berry says: “A community is the mental and spiritual condition of knowing that the place is shared, and that the people who share the place define and limit the possibilities of each other’s lives. It is the knowledge that people have of each other, their concern for each other, their trust in each other, the freedom with which they come and go among themselves.”
It is the relationships of companions and friends old and new, regular and irregular that help create a space of abundant hospitality at Haywood Street Congregation. Our priority in the companion ministry is to make it possible for everyone, especially our friends who are not often given the opportunity to serve, a place to feel welcome to serve as companions in every capacity they may feel called to. With this in mind it became apparent to me that there may be a need for more than just one way to become a companion. The goal of the companion orientations has always been to give a clear view of who we are as a church community. It is far less about the details and tasks needing completion, and more about sharing an authentic view of life in and with this community of Holy Chaos.
There are some “official changes” in the new year related to companion ministry that I am excited to share with you! Many of these changes have evolved organically over time with the help and guidance of people who continue to find themselves cultivating true connections in the midst of the holy chaos. As you know, change at Haywood Street is inevitable, it is something we welcome often and encourage, and it’s one of the things I love most about my job!
What I have noticed over the last year is more and more folks get used to passing by and seeing the masses gather throughout the week, or they have heard about us through friends and family and just desire to know more. Starting in January of 2020 we will be hosting Haywood Street information sessions on the first Monday of each odd month at 5:00pm. These will be an informal hour long session for folks who are curious and interested in being more involved community members. I will attend each of these sessions and offer time to chat individually as folks consider companionship. On even months, we will offer companion orientation and training sessions for folks who are ready to commit to the ministry of companionship.