Edina Morningside Community Church
There’s a powerful community ministry in Nashville, Tennessee that I heard about some years ago. It’s called Magdalene, and it is for women recovering from life on the street as prostitutes. Many of them have been addicted to one thing or another, and all of them suffer from a history of abuse. Started by an Episcopal priest and supported by local churches, Magdalene provides a safe space for these women to break free of addiction and face the traumas that haunt them. For up to two years, residents share a communal house that is their home. Lena House, as it’s called, offers the women a place with hot showers, plenty of food, real dishes and fresh linens. They each get a house key and come and go as they please, growing in trust, confidence, security and freedom. But the women who live in Lena House don’t find it an easy place, according to one article that describes their challenge, and what a woman named Carolyn has learned from it:
As with any community, often the hardest part is living with other people. Carolyn says that humbling herself to live in community is one of the most important parts of her recovery now. Conflict comes from the way that other women clean the bathroom or where they leave their things or how loud they talk. But remaining committed is crucial to her. [Carolyn says] “It would be easy to walk away now. I have a home. I got married on Valentine’s Day. I’m sober. But I’ve never finished anything in my life… “And I’ve tried doing things my way. That don’t work. You have to be humble.”
For Carolyn, living in community is a daunting challenge. Yet she knows that by sharing food, home and space with others, she gains humility and concern for those beyond herself.
Continue reading “Peace Offerings: Justice, Mercy and Humility”