At a city-wide forum on July 22, Lydia’s House was glad to learn more about a national initiative to end LGBTQ youth and young adult homelessness in Hamilton County.
On this, the Feast Day of Mary Magdalene, we’d like to express our gratitude for Sunday’s prayer service with the Resurrection community and for all those who have supported us recently with monetary donations, volunteer hours, or prayer. Recent donations have funded our washer/dryer and will also go to support a new Women’s Pastoral Ministry Internship this fall. Especially at this time, we are grateful for the faithful witness of Mary Magdalene, apostle to the apostles, and we are grateful for the chance to regularly pray with all those who support our mission of serving homeless women and children. Thank you!
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports on the increase of family homelessness, largely due to budget cuts. It’s clear to us at Lydia’s House that the work we do together is more important than ever.
Hello All. I hope that everyone had a great 4th of July. I know we did here at the house. For those that do not know, I am Taffany Duggins the new summer intern at Lydia’s House. Over the last few months, I had fallen in love with Lydia’s House through my role as a regular House Duty volunteer. I am now very grateful for this more substantial role. I have been able to see some great happenings here at the house over the past few weeks and have had the opportunity to be a part of those events. One of those was our celebration of the 4th of July at Ault Park in Hyde Park. While some of us had to work and others had a day off, it was celebrated with great joy with all of us coming together for a wonderful dinner and then fireworks were watched with great joy.
During the course of the evening, I got to wittiness patriotism firsthand, demonstrated in different ways such as eating dinner that each of us in attendance took part in some way, either cooking or eating. I saw families having picnics together and socializing with neighbors, food vendors selflessly serving others, and musicians playing music for all of us to enjoy. My fellow staff members, volunteers, my kids and our resident all showed their spirit of the 4th of July and their own understanding of patriotism. Jefferson House Government defines patriotism as zealous love for one’s country. It’s like a disease that every man and woman carries. It spreads from one soul to the next like an unstoppable wildfire. There is no cure for such a disease; for this is one of pure determination and pride.
So I really like this definition. Why? Well, as I have volunteered here at Lydia’s House, I have learned a lot of things. One of them is how kind, loving, and nurturing people in our community are and how it is spreading like a wildfire that cannot be put out. These traits among our volunteers are just like a disease, and the people that have come together to make a success out of this house have pure determination and pride in everything they do. Laura gets our CSA every week and shows us how to use it all so that it does not go to waste. Mary Ellen went to an important meeting with me when I really needed someone else there. Elizabeth sat for endless hours at the emergency room with my son and me when he busted his front tooth and lip. We sit down to our community dinners that we have on a nightly basis, and we take time out of our week to stop in and check on Meredith’s old landlord Sally Miracle. One of our house duty volunteers, Anne, asked her mother to make pot holders for the house, and her mother took time out of her vacation to make some that matched our dining room chair colors and our table cloths. Each one of these acts of kindness is a way that each of us takes time out of our busy days to make the next person’s day a little better.
I do not think that patriotism just has to be about country. It can be about community as well, and that is what has been for me here at Lydia’s House. No, I have not been here from the beginning, but in the short time I have been here, I have felt a place of belonging and zealous love, not just for myself but for the women we are serving.
The author of this blog post, Elizabeth Coyle, is a new member of Lydia’s House. She serves as a resident volunteer and has committed to long-term partnership with Meridith and Mary Ellen to sustain life at Lydia’s. She comes to us from the University of San Diego, where she served as a campus minister for the past 3 years. Originally from Nashville, Tennessee, she is a Xavier alum and is happy to be back in Norwood after many years away.
In my three short weeks at Lydia’s House, I have been the recipient of generous hospitality in profound ways. I came into this work thinking that it would be my task to help create a sense of welcome for others. I knew that I wanted to give of myself in ways that put others at ease, invited conversation, and made the stranger feel at home. It has been humbling to realize that, right now, I am the one who is a stranger to be welcomed. Right now, I am the one who is called to receive the kind of welcome that one day I hope to give. This community is my teacher about the kind of volunteer and the kind of Christian I am called to be.
When I first pulled up to the house on a Friday afternoon in June, after 5 days of driving solo from San Diego, California, a homemade lunch was waiting. A committed volunteer was sitting on the porch to greet me, despite the fact I was running very late. That was just the beginning of an outpouring of welcome from what seems to be all of Norwood and beyond. Before I could ask, Ben sanded down my bedroom door so it could close properly. Laura has delivered our CSA vegetables each week and has welcomed me into the routine of morning prayer. Regular volunteer Elizabeth sat on the front porch with me one morning, chatting about life, before later painting bookshelves and moving one all the way up to the third-floor landing. A current guest has regularly invited me to join her for after-dinner walks, which are quickly becoming a tradition in the house. And our summer intern Taffany has made sure that the meals of these past three weeks have been among the best of my life.
Of course, hospitality is about more than good conversation and good food. It also takes a willingness to be vulnerable. It takes trust. In my short time here, guests and volunteers alike have let me in by entrusting me with parts of their stories. In short, I have been invited into joy but also into sorrow. I felt this most profoundly about a week in. During a difficult time for her, in the midst of visible emotion and while overwhelmed by the situation at hand, one member of our community turned to me and said: “Welcome to Lydia’s House.” It was an example to me of the type of hospitality we are each called to share with others. We welcome others into our community, our homes, and our lives when we bring our authentic selves to them, just as we are. This is the daily work of Lydia’s House, not just a house but a home of hospitality and warm welcome. I truly feel blessed to be one small part of this mission and to be one small part of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work in our world. Thanks to each of you who have welcomed me so warmly into this new life. Stop on by some day so I can repay the favor.