Raise your hand if you think Bethlehem Farm should continue to exist!

Dear Jo,

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!

Monthly Giving: 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 caretakers@bethlehemfarm.net 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 consistent giving
  • Giving this way makes it easy for me to not forget
  • Our 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 ourselves.
  • 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.

Yes, I’d like to become a monthly donor! CLICK HERE

That 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

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