Agape’s Vision and Values Integrated Into Daily Life
“We live in the urgencies of the 21st century. At Agape we seek to create and preserve a morally coherent life in fidelity to our faith and to the calling of people of all faiths. While grounded in the practice of our Catholic Christianity, we experience an affinity and connectedness with sisters and brothers from other faith traditions, and those who follow no particular faith tradition, learning from them and seeking to live in harmony with them.”
Agape is dedicated to a teaching ministry in nonviolence, sustainability practices (see below), retreats at the community, internships for undergraduates and graduates, rural immersion weeks, and five annual events, including an annual St. Francis Day which has attracted hundreds of people.
Values of Agape
Agape is ecumenical and interfaith in outreach and practice
Includes focus on daily prayer and singing as a community
Evangelical simplicity, eco-spirituality, sustainability (organic garden, electric car, straw bale house, compost toilet, solar energy, wood stoves for cooking and heat)
Nonviolent living and witness in the world
Livelihood, personal growth and development- including ministry possibilities of teaching at the community’s many educational events, including theology and spirituality of nonviolence, as well as program development and teaching within the Agape’s ministry throughout the US
Located on 34 acres of land in the bucolic town of Hardwick, MA, Agape offers easy access to Boston and other cities in New England, as well as an opportunity to experience rural community life.
Daily Life Rhythm at Agape
Daily prayer at 7:30 am and a noonday reflection & silence before lunch, with an optional evening prayer
Work/homesteading periods from 9 am until 12 noon and after lunch from1 pm to 4 pm. Evening meals, free time and optional evening prayers bring the day to a close.
During work periods, community residents are engaged in a variety of tasks:
-homesteading: working the land, preparing the garden for spring planting, wood gathering
-hospitality: involvement with groups, college, parish, peace groups who come for experiences of prayer/action/education at Agape
-assisting with individual visitors on retreat in Agape’s hermitage or at the main residence, Francis House.
– food/garden prep: learning to work on Agape’s large community garden (with college groups who come for rural immersions) from soil prep, to seed planting, tending the garden, harvesting, steaming, canning and freezing vegetables for community and guest use throughout the year.
-vegetarian meal prep with interns (people, usually of undergrad college age who come to Agape for the summer or during the year for short periods of time) as well as sharing planning and preparation of meals
-ministry program assistance: Agape hosts five events a year which require phone calls, e-mails and other outreach, as well as preparation for the events themselves.
-outreach to colleges: ministry and presentations on community mission/vision, with training provided
-program/ministry development: utilizing the gifts and input of residents in ministry
-Agape Community Outreach and Assistance, serving families and individuals in need