Life at St Hilda’s
Every community looks different, depending on the character of its members and the particular relationships that develop. There are, however, some constants to life in community at St Hilda’s.
The frequency of community meals shifts from year to year, but it’s a fact of Hildan life that they’ll be there in one form or another. They allow members of the community to appreciate each other’s cooking skills, whether they be first time chefs or *seasoned* pros (cough-cough), and they bring everyone together over food. Highlights of past years have included combined Thanksgiving/Christmas feasts, ‘stuff-in-a-pot’, Sunday roasts, traditional Southern food to celebrate Mardi Gras, homemade dumplings to celebrate Chinese New Year, and pizza quesadilla.
Instead of going to their worksites on Fridays, Hildans attend Didactics and Spiritual Direction. Didactics help to develop the ways we understand and express different aspects Christian faith. They take a variety of forms, from discussions centering on the Bible to explorations of the place of music in Christian life. They are usually led by guest speakers, but Hildans are also given the opportunity to lead as well if they wish to. Spiritual direction, meanwhile, helps Hildans to develop their prayer practices by exploring and practicing aspects of many different spiritual traditions.
House meetings are a structured part of the Hildan week where the whole community gathers to check in, discuss the goings on of the past week, and get to know each other better through both structured activities and general discussion. Early house meetings tend to focus on developing a community covenant, including how things such as chores will be allocated over the course of the year. As the year goes on the focus of meetings tends towards better understanding and appreciating how individuals differ in community.
Though attending house meetings might sound like a chore, in practice they provide the stable back-bone which gives structure to community life. House meetings are a time during which community members can support each other and (perhaps most importantly) enjoy properly listening to each other.
Life and work at St Hilda’s can require a lot of energy. So at various points throughout the year St. Hilda’s goes on retreat to allow time for both reflection and relaxation. The structure of retreats varies depending on the particular needs of the particular community at the particular time, but they aim strike a good balance between structured reflection and genuine down-time. Retreats allow communities to forge bonds which hold throughout the year. They also allow Hildans to enjoy the benefits of open fires and the countryside.
Life Beyond the House
There’s also plenty to do in New Haven beyond the house, whether it be live music at Toad’s Place, Pecha Kucha, Barn Dances or excursions to East Rock or Sleeping Giant.