DioCal Interns

San Francisco, CA

Why come to California? Let’s not kid ourselves, we know that the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the most exciting urban environments in the country and location is a big draw. Participants have convenient access to Berkeley, Oakland (chosen #5 of places to see in 2012 by the New York Times) and the incomparable city of San Francisco but the allure of the area should not distract from the very real gifts and challenges provided by this environment. The Bay Area is justly celebrated for its acceptance of all cultures and openness to the LGBTQ community yet sees daily the impacts of illegal immigration enforcement, climate change and the impact of the economic collapse on the poorest in our society. Applicants must be prepared for a community of great joy and simultaneous challenge.

The DioCal interns program is not just another internship, it is a year to pioneer for the church and the world a way of living into spiritual adulthood. There is an expectation of work in a non-profit agency. This work serves as an alternative to the employment model that mirrors the consumer and desire based drive of modern life, however, the great work of the year is found in living together. By living in a single house “semi-monastic” context, participants demonstrate a way of life in Christian community that is an alternative to the economic and ecologically unsustainable practices of our society. Centuries old practices of prayer, hospitality and study form interns as leaders grounded in the ancient wisdom of Jesus – the incarnate Word. By serving the community participants live out a witness of love beyond attachments and through joy the DioCal interns show that Christianity is always a faith of hope.

Key components of this program are:

  • Living in community, including daily morning prayer.
  • 32 hours of week in a local non-profit agency.
  • Connection through Sunday worship with one of the parishes in the diocese.
  • Participation in the Thursday campus and young adult community night in Berkeley and the monthly “extreme” Theology on Tap.
  • Weekly formation time consisting of Bible study, theological formation, principles of community and reflection on the spirituality of the arts.
  • Meeting with a spiritual advisor, a priest selected from within the diocese.
  • Hosting weekly hospitality events with other program participants.

Although the temptation might be to view this as “giving up a year of your life to service” the truth is this is a year to grow into a reality of faith, service and community. The weekly work hours represent a Christian theology of employment in which labor does not contribute to the ills of the world. The life together is the great work of the program, however, as corps members discover.

Before his death in Nazi Germany, Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote: “What do a church, a community, a sermon, a liturgy, a Christian life mean in a religionless world?” At the DioCal interns program we don’t promise an answer to that question – instead we commit to living the question.

Why California? Again, Pastor Bonhoeffer: “By living completely in this world one learns to have faith, I mean living unreservedly in life’s duties, problems, successes, experiences and perplexities. In so doing we throw ourselves completely into the arms of God.”