Program or Partner
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Ayava House (an acronym for Austin Young Adult Volunteer and AmeriCorps) recognizes the growing desire of many young people to engage and transform their world through a deep commitment to service. Austin Seminary desires to offer its resources to young adults working through faith-based programs as well as our national service corps. We recognize that both programs engage young people who will serve in ministry and leadership capacities in their faith traditions as well as their communities of residence.
Participants will examine their individual call to a life of service and how this influences their larger vocational direction, exploring these questions through active citizenship in the seminary community, the city of Austin, and the expansive and expanding kingdom of God. Austin Seminary recognizes the value of preparing these individuals by providing them with tools of discernment and theological reflection, as well as helping them to establish networks of colleagues in ministry and service that will nurture them for a lifetime.
Potential sites include service in the areas of:
- Homeless services
- Education and support for developmentally disabled children, youth, and adults
- Campus ministries/college outreach
- Early childhood intervention and family support
- Immigration and refugee services; advocacy and policy support; ESL classes
- AIDS/Cancer Care teams
- Citizen engagement through grassroots advocacy and activist training
Each volunteer will live in community with two to five other volunteers for the year. Housing is on the Austin Seminary campus in 3 bedroom duplexes.
Intentional Community Aspects
Volunteers will be asked to commit two hours per week to an ongoing exploration of faith and discernment as a community. During this time, we will gather together and check in with one another, share progress or setbacks on the spiritual work we are undertaking individually each day, and work together through a curriculum established by the group, under the direction of the site coordinator.
Volunteers will engage in one “family activity” per week that is wholly experiential in nature and will foster a sense of camaraderie and fellowship. These activities may be as simple as setting a menu, preparing and enjoying a meal together, or may involve exploring or enjoying one of the many rich cultural opportunities offered in Austin: watching a play, visiting a farmer’s market, touring the open artist studios on the East Austin Studio Tour.
To supplement our weekly activities, we will schedule opportunities for participants to engage with Austin Seminary faculty in a meaningful manner by structuring monthly gatherings for a faculty member to interact with the group over dinner or dessert. When faculty are not available, we will invite local clergy or Seminary graduates to discuss the intersection of faith and vocation in their lives, and elaborate on their own concept of “call” as it relates to our personal and professional lives.
Education: college degree desirable
Other: applicants should have a desire to engage in the Austin Seminary community of faculty, staff, and students, both programmatically and informally
Martha Lynn Coon