Formation at Saint Hilda's House
Friends and family may wonder why you are thinking of committing yourself to a year of service and "poverty" instead of just heading into the job market! Leadership is more than skills (though you will learn some) and it is more than starting in on the ground floor of the place you want to work for in the future. Christian leadership is marked by faithful integrity, vision, joy, and abiding strength as we grow in witness to the love of God in Christ.
Formation at Saint Hilda's is a multi-part discernment that takes into account the whole person. Our goal is to provide a head, heart, hands approach to the faith. Undergirding all of this is a regular life of prayer which we commit to do daily together. We encounter God in manifold ways in our lives all parts of ourselves are needed to continually deepen that encounter with God.
Much of your formation here - and perhaps the most lasting - will take place in the lived daily experience of being in community. Prayerfully sharing space, time, and resources makes us more creative, grateful, and forgiving in all of our relationships.
Each aspect of the community's life needs to point toward one thing – hearing God's call to us. More important than what God is calling us to do is who God is calling us to be. This is the heart of any discernment. Our goal is to help you more deeply know who God is calling you to be and begin the work of discerning how to live into that call – we provide a range of ways to do vocational discernment so as to find ways to live authentically and serve joyfully.
FROM OUR INTERNS
Here are a couple of reflections from interns on formation at Saint Hilda's:
Through our partnerships with Berkeley Divinity School at Yale and our location in the heart of Yale's campus, we have friendships with some of the foremost scholars in their fields.
Each week, on Friday mornings, we gather for a reading reflection group focusing on some aspect of theology, spirituality, social justice, and more. We often welcome guests who come to talk about their area of expertise or some reading that was key to their own spiritual growth.
Some examples of these include:
Bishop Ian Douglas on the changing face of mission
Professor Dale Martin on Interpreting Scripture
Professor Willis Jenkins on Environment and Theology
Professor Miroslav Volf on the Problem of Evil
Mother Amanda Gott on Beauty and Theology
Fr Bob Griffith on Authenticity and Ministry
Professor Kathryn Tanner on the Economy and Theology
Bishop Mano Rumalshah on Interfaith Dialogue in Pakistan
We have many more guests in addition to the ones listed above. All of our guests, together with the assigned readings help shape our year.
We believe that a key part of the Christian life is to continually challenge ourselves to think in new ways about how God is shaping our lives and the world.
Intellectual engagement with the faith must also involve the turning of our hearts to God as well. Our hope is to help our interns find new ways to see God at work in their lives through prayer and community.
To help guide this process we have several components:
- Group Spiritual Direction with a trained spiritual director from Yale Divinity School's Annand Program
- Individual spiritual direction for those who desire it
- House meetings with the house chaplain (the sub-dean of Berkeley Divinity School) to process how the community is taking shape and growing
- Regular mentoring meetings with a program mentor
- Prayer partner meetings in which you and another community member meet to talk about how God is at work in your life and work and what you most need prayers for and seek to know how to best pray for a community member
- Regular worship together in morning prayer, Friday community mass, Sunday worship, and Wednesday community Eucharists at Berkeley Divinity School
- Therapy as needed offered as part of the program
- Regular retreats through the year and individual retreats offered as well
When young adults commit to a service year, they are committing to a year of self-giving in which they can work to make a difference in the lives of those they serve even as their own lives are being changed by the experience. At Saint Hilda's, we view the service work as part of overall experience of formation. We have many great worksite partners and work hard to find sites that make a difference and that need each and every intern we place with them.
Interns work in their sites Monday-Thursday (with Friday as a community day) and will find those sites challenging in many ways, a source of both frustration and joy as they are places where we see both the deep needs of the world around us but also the grace and promise of simple kindness and presence.
In addition to work sites, interns often take on some work around the Church or around our mission in the Hill neighborhood, Ascension. Sometimes interns will help organize community events like the Hill neighborhood Christmas tree lighting, participate in community meetings with the neighborhood, help with our Midnight Run outreach ministry, or find some other way to be part of the life of service and witness of the place.
We place our interns by sending those admitted a questionairre that asks them several questions about their preferences, skills, and experience and asks them to list the three sites they would most like to serve with and why. Once we have those in, we talk with our worksites to hear their needs and preferences and then we work to make a match. We almost always have great success in making matches and will work quickly to address any apparent mismatches that might happen.
We work hard to make sure that there is a real connection and match between the site and the intern.
Our goal in site placements, and in all other aspects of the community's life, is to make this one part of a dialogue and conversation between the program, the sites, our supporters, and the interns so that we can shape your experience and time in a positive and life-giving way.
The Annand Program
The James E. Annand Program for Spiritual Formation allows students from the whole Yale Divinity School community to discover the fundamentals of prayer and Christian discipleship from seasoned clergy and lay teachers. Saint Hilda's House interns take part in spiritual direction offered through the Annand Program.