Hospitality, Rectory Stories, Three Rivers

just give the biker a vegan sandwich.

My first blog post.
This is Johnathan- I’ve been here in Three Rivers since May 31st, and days here are beginning to feel familiar and rhythmic. It has taken some time to reach that point, partly because we interns have all moved here at different times, but also because projects take time to develop. The vision of a task and of the collective has to come into focus before a path can be set. So, I am getting comfortable. That feels nice.
One interesting event that seemed to mark the start of my establishment here happened just last week. Paul already mentioned the four cyclists barreling through St. Joseph county, stumbling across us in hopes to find a space to sleep. Well, not only were these four women fun to be around and adventurous as all get-out (cycling from D.C.? oook.), they were a beautiful reminder of how enriching being spontaneously open can be. Having just moved from a community in Grand Rapids where strangers couch-surfed often and the door was always unlocked, I had grown accustomed to a quick (and random) hospitality. Being able to function as a community, responding to immediate opportunities at the drop of a hat, was something I was good at and really enjoyed.
So, it meant a lot to me last week when Paul, Jared, and I were able to function together in offering what we had to these travelers. It christened the house in a way. It proved we could pull together vegan meals, clean towels, and pillows for random people with no notice.
I have confidence in us now. I’m here now.

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Three Rivers, Video

Video: Moving in

We shot the footage for this video over a month ago now, but I finally got around to editing it this morning. On May 27, with the help of board member Tim Raakman and his moving truck, we moved three of our interns down from Grand Rapids to their new home in Three Rivers (the Rectory of Trinity Episcopal Church). Enjoy!

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*cino Work, Rectory Stories, Three Rivers

Settled, just.

Welcome to this new space for us lovely *cino interns to let you know what we’re up to while we’re hiding down (or up, I guess) in Three Rivers, MI.
Currently there are 4 of us here: Myself, Johnathan Loritsch, Liz Wroughton, and Jared Renaud – all recent Calvin grads.
Why are we here? All of us know Rob and Kirstin slightly different ways, but all through Calvin, and generally speaking through their (awesome) work in the SAO.
But why are we here? I’ll save that for later – we can all explain our own reasons!
Where are we? Three Rivers is a little over an hour south of Grand Rapids, and not far north of the Indiana border. Three Rivers (or ThrEHrivers as it is pronounced here) has population 7,500 (ish), and an interesting mix of vacant downtown storefronts and funky places you wouldn’t expect outside a larger city (including World Fare, a fair trade store that Rob and Kirstin started, and the Riviera Theater, a recently renovated movie theater that shows great movies and has frequent concerts, and most impressively, Lowry’s book store, an intimidatingly large [3 store fronts] space with a mammoth collection of used and new books).
And where are WE? The interns are living in the rectory of the close-by Trinity Episcopal Church (a.k.a. the Insurrectory, a.a.k.a. the Resurrectory). We’re allowed to stay here rent-free for the moment – which is super.
We arrived 3 and a half weeks ago, and at this point we’re pretty settled. Liz, Johnathan and I arrived first, aided by local (and sole) Three Rivers CRC pastor Tim Raakman, whose lovely church I finally got to visit yesterday. Tim has his own moving truck, which helped a lot in getting things down here, and has since helped immensely in moving furniture into our house.
We’ve been blessed by the generosity of *cino’s Three Rivers community in furnishing the house. We moved into what was an unfurnished house that hadn’t been lived in for around 4 years. After extended periods of cleaning and organizing, the house (wallpaper aside) is spacious and a great place to live. Rob and Kirstin had sent out requests for furniture and appliances and kitchenware, and within a very short period of time everything we could have needed was provided. With the help of the aforementioned moving truck, we filled the house with chests, beds, mattresses, linens, utensils, and a ridiculous tv harvested from the Huss School building.
In the time after the three of us arrived, there has been a lot of moving around. I was gone for a week travelling, and Liz also left fairly soon after. Marian Mooi, another Calvin grad, was here for 2 weeks, and Johnathan has also been away for 10 days. As July now approaches, we have been joined by Jared, and now that Liz has returned from Texas we will have a full house for a full month!
What has been going on in the first month? Some highlights include….

  • all of us working shifts in the World Fare store
  • looooots of work at the Huss School (cleaning, moving, breaking, fixing, roofs, organizing, throwing out)
  • eating meals on our huge front porch
  • watching lightning storms on our huge front porch
  • dishes by candlelight during a power outage
  • watching Anne of Green Gables
  • playing loud music
  • discovering a good dumpster (food costs have plummeted)

One recent highlight worth a brief narrative is the visit of a band (flock? drove? herd?) of 4 cyclists riding across the country. Rob heard about these happy four from Lowry’s books, where they had been asking about a place to pitch tents. These four women, all who attended the same college in Florida, were biking across the country, starting from Washington D.C., and had arrived for the night in Three Rivers. We offered them the intern house to stay at, which was a nice break from the outdoors. It was a Thursday, which is the weekly time that the interns host Rob and Kirstin for dinner, and so a large meal gathering was already planned, and it was fun to bring our group up to 9 people from 5. We had a good time hanging out with the cyclists, who ended up staying a second night (they were very welcome, after cooking dumpster hash browns for us their first morning), and hope to host more friends and randoms while we’re living here.
What are we each doing? I leave this until last so that others can give their own accounts. I myself am working on grant research at the moment. At the same time, we are all looking ahead to July 24, a big fund-raising event at the school, and are all pitching in to get the space ready. Johnathan will be able to say more about that event, since he’s working mainly on preparation for it.

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