Cultivate Community

Cultivating Community at The Hermitage

As The Hermitage marks its thirty-third year, we are entering into an exciting new season of the journey, anchored by familiar rhythms of contemplative practice.

Consoled by the daily manifestations of the Spirit’s work among us, the board and staff of The Hermitage extend our gratitude to you: When you support The Hermitage you make contemplative encounters with God possible! Thank you!

The Cultivating Community Campaign

We write now to ask for your continued support in a special way: We are launching the Cultivating Community Campaign with the specific goal of building a new residence for long-term staff.

This summer, Kevin and June Mears Driedger joined Naomi and David Wenger as residential staff, and we plan to build a house to accommodate them, a place where they, as well as generations of staff to come, might make their home as they serve The Hermitage’s mission of providing a contemplative place and way to pray.

Aligned with The Hermitage’s commitments to simplicity and sustainability, the proposed new dwelling will use ecologically sound and biologically compatible materials. The house will be built in a simliar style and structure as an EcoNest house. Already, Hermitage board members and volunteers have been learning straw and clay construction techniques and plan to take an active role in building the new house, along with skilled construction crews and other laborers who are eager to learn and help.

To achieve our construction goal, The Her mitage board and staff are in the process of raising $270,000 to fund the building cost, campaign expenses, furniture and fixtures, landscaping, and a three-year maintenance allowance for the new structure and operating income offset for two years. As of December 31, 2017, The Hermitage board designated $85,000 of liquid assets toward the project, funds raised in 2012 to sustain The Hermitage community. Through the course of 2018, we have raised an additional $106,750 in pledges to date, giving us a current total of $191,750 for the project.

The main objective of the campaign is to raise the remaining $78,250 needed to meet the total project goal of $270,000 and to begin construction in spring 2019.

We invite you to discern prayerfully the possibility of giving or pledging to the Cultivating Community Campaign. Your gift is most welcome and necessary, be it $100 or $1,000.

You can give or pledge securely online.

Or mail your gift to:
The Hermitage
11321 Dutch Settlement Rd.
Three Rivers, MI 49093

As we embark on the Cultivating Community Campaign, we are mindful that the community we seek to nurture extends to all who have sojourned at The Hermitage over three decades, as well as all who will find spiritual nourishment here in the future. It includes our neighbors, the land and all its inhabitants, as well as the whole ecosystem of which we are part.

As The Hermitage enters this new season of growth rooted in longstanding practices of contemplative presence, please join us in giving thanks for all those who have shaped it into a sacred, beloved, and contemplative space. And let us hold one another in prayer, that we may discern clearly together the Holy Spirit’s promptings.

Volunteer to Help Build the Home

We also invite you to consider contributing to this effort by volunteering your labor in helping to build the new home. Whatever your skill level, you are welcome, and there is a role for everyone, from preparing meals for the construction crew, to mixing clay and straw, to holding the project and the whole Hermitage community in prayer throughout the process. If you would like to participate, please contact David Wenger or 269-244-8696.

We are currently building a small chapel using the materials and techniques we’ll use in the new house.

This chapel will have 6 in. thick stray and clay filled walls. The new house will have 12 in. thick walls.

Architects rendering of new house exterior

Architect’s rendering of new house exterior

An option for the ground level floor plan