Welcoming New & Old Friends to a Summer at Act Five

Summer has begun at Act Five with a house full of new and returning residents, and we have 3 months to come!

Rieneke Helder is an Act Five Gap Year alumni who found her way back to Act Five for a summer before she gets married and Brent Geertsema is a returning resident. Both reflect on their return to Act Five and are looking forward to what is to come.

From Rieneke:

“If I’m being honest, I needed somewhere convenient to live for 2 months before I get married in July, so living at Act Five made perfect sense. As soon as I got here, however, I remembered that when I graduated from Act Five 3 years ago, I had hoped that God would put me back in this community somehow.

Being back at Act Five has been a bit like finding an old, familiar sweater in my closet that I forgot I had. The rhythm of life here—liturgies for dish-washing taped up above the sinks, neighbours in our home for dinners, long silence in our prayers together—is one that feels easy to slip back into. I am consistently surprised at how much of this place is stored in the back of my mind still, and feeling comforted by that has been a huge gift in this season of change for me.”

From Brent:

“Summer at Blake St is a time of transitions. After 8 months of being a home to students and residents, mostly everything is packed up and moved out (or forgotten in an ever increasing pile in the sunroom of more “lost” than “found” items) and a new group moves in to call Blakely home for the summer months. 

This is my third year coming into a community of young adults for four months at Blake St. and already I am struck by how much things change and how much they stay the same. 

Since my first summer in the home (2022), many rhythms and traditions remain. Popcorn & movie nights in the basement, weekly trips to Willard’s to ward off the heat, and complaints as the temperature rises in the home. Yet the heat also brings the eager anticipation of strawberry plants in the backyard and the regular sharing of meals together both within the home and with the greater community that surrounds us.  

New traditions also begin. Sunday breakfasts, nights at the Corktown pub, and trips to Rooney’s, the new coffee shop a block over, (are you sensing a pattern to community yet?) have all become regular places to see the short-lived summer community flourish. 

The house changes to. There is new art left by the students, a tree planted in the front yard, a homemade board game added to the collection, and a didgeridoo can sometimes be heard when someone gets up the courage to give it a shot (and usually make a fool of themselves). But some things never change. We have one “new” summer resident, and a gap-year alumni, who mentioned that she instinctively knew to pull the one drawer in the kitchen a little to the left to get it out the first time you try it. 

It can feel daunting to try and list what all needs to fit in a summer yet. More than half of the summer crew spends evenings wedding planning. Others are already looking past summer jobs for what new unknowns await in September. Just when we think we might get into a solid swing of things here, three more people are on their way in, with room for more. The intensity and overall short length of summers at Blake St. can feel chaotic. In between festivals, Art Crawls, impromptu bike rides to the beach or Bayfront park and of course, lots and lots of food, the summer community of Act Five can feel like a flash in the pan. As anyone who has cooked in one of the Blake St. kitchens can attest though, pans tend to get things stuck on them, and as someone who keeps coming back I know this summer of interwoven lives will leave an impact on us, the house and Blakely for years to come.”

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