Raise your hand if you think Bethlehem Farm should continue to exist!
Happy Spring! At the Farm, the peach and apple trees have blossomed, the birds are singing, and the chickens have been moved to their warm weather scratching grounds. The winter was not too harsh, but we went back and forth between winter and spring for quite a while, and now we are happy to see Spring here to stay.
This winter has been a time of other transitions on the Farm as well. Below you'll see that we said goodbye to three Caretakers and welcomed two new members to our community, including filling the new Project Director position. We also have great news in our transition to renewable energy on the Farm, as we received the support of the Wheaton Illinois Franciscan Sisters to make great strides in our journey of sustainability. We can embark on those goals with confidence thanks to a generous donor's matching challenge that helped us pay off the remaining Caretaker Residence debt and thanks to a successful Chicago Benefit event.
As always, we are grateful for the larger Bethlehem Farm community and all the ways that you make this mission happen. We are thankful that you stay with us through your transitions and we hope to welcome you home soon.
Colleen and the Caretakers
DONATE and help support our mission!
Go In Peace to Love and Serve the Lord
Tim Shovlin: The Caretakers sent off
Tim Shovlin after the Chicago Benefit this December, following another
successful silent auction orchestrated by him. Tim has been a part of the farm
for years, having started his journey with us in 2010 as a Walsh Jesuit high
school volunteer, then five years as a summer servant and regular visitor, and
then almost a year and a half as a Caretaker. Tim shouldered the responsibility
of Project Coordinator as soon as he arrived as a Caretaker and always stepped
up to do what was needed. He will continue to be a hero and special friend to
Miriam, Isaiah, and Clare for years to come as well as to all the homeowners,
caretakers, summer servants, and volunteers that he impacted through his time
with us. We expect to continue seeing Tim around here in various capacities -
whether as tool & safety guest star, weekend visitor, or occasional soccer
coach. We can't wait to celebrate with him and his fiancee Alyssa at their
wedding in October!
Shannon O'Toole: Shannon moved back
to her native Baltimore at the end of February. Like Tim, Shannon got to know
us first as a volunteer (with Villanova), then returned as a Summer Servant,
and then became a Caretaker after graduation. Shannon served at the Farm as a
worksite leader, newsletter editor, storehouse manager, and eventually office
manager, among many other tasks. She could strike up a conversation with anyone
and had many deep talks with volunteers. She is now working in the Baltimore
area as a youth minister and we hope to see her soon, maybe as a chaperone!
Jarusha Lang: Known variously as
Jarusha (by most), Jarusala (by some), or Joo-sha (by baby Clare), Jarusha
returned to live near her family in Wheaton, Illinois in mid-March. Jarusha
came to the Farm first as a chaperone and then transitioned to Caretaker. Her
warm, welcoming personality shone while working with homeowners and volunteers,
whether as site leader, hiring coordinator, or volunteer coordinator. She
faithfully kept an eye on important maintenance tasks around the Farm and
improved many areas of the office and Farmhouse through her stellar
organizational skills. We continue to tap her expertise even after she has left
the Farm, and we have a feeling that she'll be a frequent visitor.
Thank you, Tim, Shannon, and
Jarusha, for all the ways you helped this mission thrive!
Spread the love out all year long
Monthly giving is an easy way to support the Farm each
month, without having to plan for a large annual donation. If you are
interested in joining the Monthly Giving Circle at Bethlehem Farm, then
Some monthly donors set up
an auto-monthly bill pay to Bethlehem Farm in their online checking (to firstname.lastname@example.org or to “Bethlehem Farm, PO BOX 415, TALCOTT, WV 24981.”)
Other monthly donors
choose to write a check monthly and mail it in to the above address
Monthly donors give between $5 and $250 each month. In
FY2017, the monthly giving circle contributed over $23,000, which was over 16%
of all donations.
Why would you choose
to be a monthly donor?
Some reasons that our donors choose to give monthly:
We decided that we needed to prioritize our faith not only in
our time and actions, but also in our budget
Each time we visit Bethlehem Farm and see the life-changing
work that is going on there, we are inspired to give a donation
This way our gift is an expense that is already factored into
our spending, and prioritized above those extra dinners, cups of coffee
and other luxuries
We can't be at Bethlehem Farm participating in the mission
daily, but we can live out our vocation in our own lives while still
supporting and being a part of the work of Bethlehem Farm through our
Giving this way makes it easy for me to not
sense of continued connection to our special experience at Bethlehem Farm
and our desire to assist in affording the opportunity of that experience to
others. The work done at the Farm is true evangelization.
Because I believe the farm is an apostolic
community, living out the gospel message, as authentically as possible
Because we feel that Bethlehem Farm is an
authentic way to propagate the gospel and because we have seen just how
far they can stretch resources towards living the gospel. $100 at
Bethlehem Farm seems to go SO much further than we'd be able to stretch it
I understand how real and alive the Spirit
is working in the community
Because of the speech Eric
gives at the end of each group week about the importance of tithing and
how he and Colleen started this practice as newly-wed grad students making
next to nothing. And the Farm touched me so deeply in so many ways,
and was such a huge part of my life discernment, that I want to make sure
I am doing my part to help it continue to exist.
I see how the experience of the Farm
continues to affect and form my students into active, passionate, and
engaged citizens and activists
Because I believe in the
mission. As a volunteer, I fell in love with the community and as a Summer
Servant, I was challenged in my faith. The decisions I make today - as a
Catholic and as a teacher - are influenced by the
Gospel cornerstones I learned to live at Bethlehem Farm.
As a way to tend to my
spiritual garden, which does not get enough attention otherwise.
It’s a monthly checkup of sorts for us to
see how we are living the cornerstones where we live. Additionally we feel its very important for
the Caretakers to know they are not
alone in their work, that they have partners in their mission that they can count on each and every
month to help support them, even in
a small way.
like to become a monthly donor! CLICK HERE
sounds nice, I can’t commit now, but here’s a one-time gift. CLICK HERE
Commitment is key!
Your monthly commitment assures us that we will have the
resources we need to hire staff, make promises to low-income families, and
undertake sustainable upgrades around the Farm and out in the community. We’ll
keep you posted each month on recent happenings and we can share prayer
intentions with each other.
Thank you and Happy Spring,
Bethlehem Farm Caretakers and Board Members