Volunteer Spotlight

Not a week goes by here at Lydia’s House that we don’t see our friend, supporter, board member, and volunteer Rick Boydston.  Alright, who are we kidding?  Hardly a day goes by.  Rick has been here since the beginning, back in the spring of 2012.  When this white house and all it stands for was no more than a crazy idea shared between Mary Ellen and Meridith, Rick said yes to being a board member and yes to this vision of simple hospitality.  I don’t think it’s overstating it to say that Lydia’s House would not exist without the sometimes ordinary  and regular efforts of this extraordinary man.  Saying thanks just isn’t enough.

I suppose I could list all that Rick does for the guests and core volunteers, but the better way to put it is to explain what he doesn’t do.  He doesn’t even ask whether we need the lawn mowed each week – it’s simply done.  He doesn’t get scared off by an abandoned backyard filled with poison ivy.  Instead, he puts on his gear and gets to pulling.  He doesn’t hesitate to drop off fresh kale, okra, and arugula from his garden, and thank goodness he doesn’t mind staying for dinner to help us eat it all.  He never misses monthly worship, and he never is too busy to read books to Annie and Sam or anyone else.


As a successful practicing attorney, he provides Lydia’s House legal counsel, as well as much-needed wisdom in the day-to-day.  He has accompanied guests to court, joined them for birthdays, and checked in on them if they’ve had a hard week.  We have called Rick at all hours with the most ridiculous questions, and his support has been unwavering through it all.  He opens his home up for board meetings and his heart up to each guest who walks through our doors.

As I write this post, it is the week of his birthday, which is just one more reason to pray for him with gratitude for all he’s done and for all he is to the Lydia’s House community.  Thank you, Rick, for reminding us through your work that this house is way beyond any one of us.  It is the work of many hands, not the least of which are yours.

Summer in Review at Lydia’s House

It’s hard to believe that school is already starting and that summer is coming to an end.  For Lydia’s House, summer has been a time of joy, challenges, and community.  We are grateful for summer’s bounty.  Here’s a peek into some of the highlights.

On May 1, new resident volunteer Elizabeth Coyle commits to joining Lydia’s House.  Mary Ellen and Meridith send her this photo, with the caption: “Your room is ready for you.  It’s the one with the light on.”  Since then, she’s made herself at home!

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June is a busy month.  We celebrate a double birthday with over 50 friends and family members.

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Norwood friends and Bellarmine Chapel supporters host a neighborhood carnival for families.

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We are sad to say goodbye to our dear intern Hilary Wolken, and we still pray for her regularly as she continues to serve the homeless in Boston.  Thanks for your great work, Hilary!

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At the end of June, we welcome Taffany Duggins and Sarah Ochieng to join us in short-term volunteer internships.  We are so grateful for all their good work and for the ways that they bring joy and laughter into our lives.  We celebrate July 4 together, eat countless meals, and hold regular movie nights as a community.

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Members of our community go to the zoo, play the piano, pray together, and even go to Dairy Queen.


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We enjoy the delicious fresh produce of our farm share and garden each Monday with families in the neighborhood, led by urban farmer Erin Lockridge.

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In August, Elizabeth starts teaching a donation-based ballet class for Norwood, and Annie declares it “the day she had been waiting for her whole life.”  Even Sam tries to join in!

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The Lydia’s House community of guests, interns, and core volunteers go on retreat at the Transfiguration Spirituality Center.  One guest even meets a nun for the first time!

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We say goodbye to our summer volunteer Sarah but are delighted that she’ll serve alongside three other Xavier students every Monday night this fall through their X-Change program.

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And finally, we celebrate Mass for the Feast of St. Lydia on August 24.  Just one year ago, our monthly worship began in the same living room, though it looks much different today!  We have over 60 people join us, yet another example of God’s bounty and goodness in our lives.  Praise be to God!

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Does It Make a Difference to Know the Poor?

This article, from U.S. Catholic, is good food for thought about the ways we are all called to accompany the poor and marginalized.  In working to build a “culture of encounter,” as the article suggests, Lydia’s House will partner with Xavier University students throughout the year, participating in a program called X-Change through the Center for Faith and Justice.  We’re excited to have Xavier students and Lydia’s House guests sit down to dinner together each Monday night and await their arrival near the end of September.

Know the Poor

With Gratitude for This Community of Faith

Lydia’s House is a community of faithful Christians, striving together towards our vision of being a demonstration plot of God’s beloved community, a home where people of all walks of life can grow toward wholeness.  One way we live out this vision is through monthly worship with friends, supporters, guests, and core community members.  Thanks be to God!  We welcome you to please join us for the next month’s worship on Sunday, August 24 at 5 pm at Lydia’s House.  We will celebrate the Feast of St. Lydia (Acts 16) with a Catholic Mass.  Fr. Dan Hartnett, S.J., will preside.  Bellarmine Chapel’s young adult group, Poco a Poco, will help host this event and also graciously provide music.

Here’s a look back at some of the highlights of worship in our community in 2014.

In January we celebrated the Episcopal feast of St. Lydia as a joyful celebration of God’s grace in moving Lydia’s House towards readiness for guests.  We were at Calvary Church in Clifton.


In March, we celebrated our House Dedication in preparation for the first guests who moved in during the month of April.  Josh Stoxen, pastor at Vineyard Central, led us in prayer.  What a powerful time of thanksgiving for the blessings and bounty that make Lydia’s House possible!

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In April we celebrated a Catholic Mass with the Bellarmine community.  Together, we celebrated the liturgical season of Easter and had a bountiful potluck in the backyard afterward.

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In May we celebrated Mothers Day outside with a prayer of thanksgiving for our mothers and our earth, as the Lydia’s House garden was installed with the leadership of Erin Lockridge.  Lately, we have been enjoying summer’s bounty from this fruitful garden: radishes, basil, and onions all made it into dinner last night!

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In June we celebrated ends and beginnings with a  Service of Blessing and Communal Sending.  Board member Rev. Jane Gersden presided over this prayer and Agape meal.  Core community member Elizabeth Coyle professed publicly her commitment to Lydia’s House, and the whole community gave their blessings and prayers to former board member Andrea Bardelmeier and former Floral House intern Hillary Wolkan as both moved on and away from Cincinnati.

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In July we celebrated the Feast of Mary Magdalene with our friends from the Resurrection Community, with Rev. Debra Meyers leading our prayer service.  Attendance was upwards of 40 people, and we prayed in gratitude for the witness of Mary Magdalene, the Apostle to the Apostles and a woman who has historically been misunderstood and marginalized.

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Looking forward to seeing you at the August worship!  If you have questions about our monthly worship, contact Elizabeth at elizabeth@stlydiashouse.org