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.

With Kevin and June Mears Driedger joining Naomi and David Wenger as residential staff, we plan to build a house to accommodate them. This will be 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.

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!

Read more on how you can financially support Cultivating Community.

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.

Activity Update

March 2020 – As a result of the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, work on the house is delayed. We look forward to resuming this work as soon as we can.

March 3, 2020 – The excavator has arrived!excavator digging


Nov. 8, 2019 – Check our our blog for the latest house building update.

Sept. 12, 2019 – Due to building schedule limitations we have decided to postpone starting construction until the spring of 2020. We anticipate we will need plenty of volunteer help during the last two weeks of May, although there will be many other opportunities at other times.

Aug. 12, 2019 – With the assistance of some professionals we removed the trees from the building site, and the entrance for the driveway.

Clearing trees at building site

Aug. 3, 2019 – After a long, long wait we were thrilled to finally break ground on the new house during the Feast of the Transfiguration retreat day. Building will begin soon with plans to get the walls and roof up before winter.

man shoveling soil as others circle around

Nov. 26, 2018 – We received the property/elevation survey which our architect is using to create his plans. Once those are approved by the board they will be need to approved by local zoning and building commissions.

Nov. 10, 2019 – The chapel is now protected with a metal roof, and the door is hung. It is awaiting installation of windows and siding.

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