Beloved in the Desert wonders what occurs when Christian Expressions interact with current methods of Community Organizing, Social Justice, and Intersectionality. Our work together is guided by five notes, or expectations. Community: participants develop a common rhythm of life to maintain a true Christian Community in mutual love and service. Liberty: participants nurture their individual talents and come to a deeper expression of self while maintaining their life in community. Grounding: participants set aside time each day as individuals and a community for prayer, meditation, and reflection. Searching: participants prepare to be curious and resilient in their time together and their work in community. Joy: participants regularly make thanksgiving for God’s love striving for such to be spontaneous and perpetual.
Beloved participants should be prepared for a daily experience of worshiping within the Episcopal/Anglican tradition and encountering passages from both Hebrew Scripture as well as the Greek New Testament specific to Christianity. The program welcomes a wide variety of questions, comments, and even hate mail regarding these experiences. Beloved in the Desert seeks to situate itself within the tradition of Liberation Theology and understands the reality of religious trauma and the need to deconstruct the faith we have inherited. We value relationship with the past 2000 years of Christian Witness while longing to learn from the Proclamation of Christ Crucified by LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and other historically marginalized communities.
Sundays begin with worship and formation at St. Phillips and conclude with a sunset an al fresco eucharist curated by the Episcopal Campus Ministry at the University of Arizona. On Wednesdays we gather for Mosaic, an intergenerational community, for conversations about life and faith. Friday mornings are set aside for Chapter and Formation when Beloved Participants gather to reflect upon their week, learn new skills, and celebrate the eucharist. The other days of the week are dedicated to their work in the community and personal development and recreation. Every day participants are asked to pray together, generally in the form of one of the daily offices, and to keep a practice of regular common meals.
Over ten months there is about 1,250 hours of volunteer work at site placements expected from Beloved participants. Our program involves four day work weeks and regularly scheduled retreats and vacations. When we begin to add up housing, utilities, healthcare, formation, coaching, spiritual direction and other benefits we project that a Beloved participant would need a budget of ~$20,000 to replicate what the program provides. Every month each participant receives a food stipend of ~$115 dollars, with an exception that beloved participants work together to stock a common kitchen. Each month participants also receive a personal stipend of ~$100 to use as they wish. These two cash stipends are supplemented in a variety of ways by other resources from the community and supporters of the program.
Welcome to Tucson: A metropolitan area that prides itself on having more grit than gloss and that always puts substance over sheen. Tucson was built on the unceded lands of the Tohono O’odham and Pascua Yaqui people and those communities are a vital part of our life and culture. There are only 49 UNESCO Cities of Gastronomy in the world, two in the USA… and we are one of them. Tucson has over fifty years of celebrating the LGBTQ+ community, passed one of our nation’s first anti-discrimination ordinances, and continues to be a national leader in LGBTQ+ healthcare. Our public transportation is workable, especially when aided by a bicycle, and the entire city is build on an easy to navigate grid system.
Every place has some trial one has to pass to be considered a “local”, in Tucson as long as you love the desert you are home.
Learn more about Beloved in the Desert.