On Monday, Sept 5, after a few quiet weeks following our summer tenancy program, 13 new students moved into the Act Five residence to launch our fourth gap year cohort. In addition to the students, our Residency Program is underway with 7 wonderful young adults, who are working or studying around the city, living in the home, and participating in community rhythms at Act Five.
We’re also excited to have Josh and Jess joining us as Resident Leaders and the newest members of our staff team. They have been hard at work preparing for this past week and the year ahead and we’re very grateful to have them with us.
The Blake Street home is full of life once again!
During this time of newness and beginnings, we remember our alumni, who are off pursuing their own next steps all across the country, and some even around the world. We are so proud of them—many have stayed in touch with us over the summer and will continue to do so into the year ahead.
This week, our new students have had a full schedule! On Tuesday, they woke up early and paddled across Hamilton Harbour to Carol’s Point, where they had their first class on the shores of Lake Ontario—in good Act Five fashion. The rest of the week has been filled with lots of time spent getting to know each other and the neighbourhood: soccer at Gage Park, Willard’s Ice Cream, grocery shopping trips, the first House Meeting, Storytelling, Spaghetti Wednesday, thrifting and preparing for the canoe trip, and finally a city biking tour and scavenger hunt.
The first week of Act Five is always an adjustment, with students from different parts of the country coming together in one house, jumping into a liturgical lifestyle with morning prayers, evening prayers, quiet times, and a September technology fast all woven into the schedule. Many of us coming from towns and rural areas also need to adjust to life in a big city; getting to know new people and a new place all at once. It’s a lot to take in, but we’ve seen how the challenges and joys of this first week lead into shaping the rest of the year in some really beautiful ways.
As I write this, the program is en route to Russet House Farm, where they will spend 3 days learning together before heading up to Camp Norland. From there, on Tuesday, they’ll move on to Temagami in canoes for ten days. I’m brimming with excitement for them and all they will encounter and experience over the next two weeks.
As we look to the year ahead, we are eager to discover what it will hold. We are confident in the plans we have made, yet we remain open-handed and prepared to be flexible according to the Spirit’s movements among us. In our preparations for the year, our staff team reflected on Psalm 1:
[The person whose delight is in the Creator God, the Lord, the person of Jesus who is the Word from the beginning] is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.
We long to be people who are rooted in the good places this year, by streams of water that bring life to all we do and all we are. In this, we have seen the connections between Act Five and the plants growing in our backyard at Blake Street.
If you’ve never visited the backyard before, it is a unique gathering space filled with native plants, veggie gardens, and pollinator gardens. We’ve seen three full growing seasons now, and the plants are rooted, established, and becoming more and more who they were meant to be with each passing month. They are becoming more at home in the soil, more comfortable with their surroundings, more able to withstand the challenges of the local ecosystem and environment.
And so is Act Five. As we enter our fourth year of operations, we are beginning to see this. We’ve been planted in healthy soil. We’re getting used to the conditions and limitations of our environment and are learning to be and grow well within it. Our roots are established and we are becoming at home here. We are stable, and growing, simultaneously.
With that, if you’re a praying person, we ask that you would pray for us and with us. We long for wisdom to navigate the months ahead, and for love to fill our home and our spirits as we live in community and pursue the mystery and goodness of God in our life together.
To all our supporters—thank you. Cheers to a new year!
We would love it if you can support us in continuing to live out our ever-growing mission—both in discipling young adults and in growing our faithful presence on Blake Street and in Hamilton. Here is how you might support us: