Nazareth Farm is a Catholic community in rural West Virginia that transforms lives through a service-retreat experience. We are devoted to living out the Gospel message through the cornerstones of community, simplicity, prayer, and service. We serve alongside our neighbors to address substandard housing by providing home repair. We celebrate the richness of Appalachia and experience God by building relationships between our volunteers and the local community.
Our community of staff members serve with volunteers of all ages who come from all parts of the country to work with us for a week. They participate in hands-on homebuilding and a retreat experience focused around the Catholic tradition but open to expressions of all faith backgrounds. We believe that our faith calls us to action through social justice.
We work with, not for our homeowners
The community of Nazareth Farm works with the people of Doddridge county and surrounding areas. We serve alongside our neighbors to address substandard housing by providing home repair. We are prompted to reach out to the families with whom we minister to build relationships and offer home repair. We work with our local homeowners, not for them, recognizing that service is an experience of mutual giving, whether that giving is in the form of physical labor, a cup of hot tea, or a simple conversation. We believe that repairing homes is a crucial step in giving our homeowners economic justice and the dignity due to each person.
The richness of Appalachia
We celebrate the richness of Appalachia and experience God by building relationships between our volunteers and the local community. The Nazareth Farm community immerses itself in the cultural diversity present in the Appalachian Region. By seeking to understand more fully the culture and the issues facing the people of this region, we are better equipped to offer our assistance, to face needs in a meaningful way, and to break down stereotypes by learning firsthand and then becoming teachers for others.
Nazareth Farm is founded upon four cornerstones as the foundation and reason behind everything that we do. Here’s a little more info about our cornerstones of prayer, simplicity, community and service.
On the Farm, we pray to begin the day, before each meal, as we work, and each evening to end the day. We recognize that God has given us all that we have, and we thank the Lord for the many blessings we experience daily. As Christians, we are called to promote a community of peace and prayer.
Too often, our lives get cluttered with the “stuff” of modern life, such as television, radio, and cell phones. The cornerstone of simplicity is all about being in right relationship: with God, with others, and with ourselves. We feel that by giving up things like TV, makeup, cell phones, iPods, etc., we are free to “tune-in” to one another. Conservation is another important part of simplicity, particularly with water. We ask that volunteers take only 3 showers during the week here, and that two of those be with our bucket showers (they use only 5 gallons per shower!) We also encourage volunteers to conserve water by using our outhouses instead of the indoor toilets.
As a community of equals, we eat together, do dishes together, work together, pray together, and spend free time together. During meal time, we ask that volunteers take what they eat, and eat what they take. Rather than play video games or watch TV, we play board games, sing songs, and have good conversations together. On Tuesday nights we invite many of our friends from the community over for supper, prayer, and fellowship. Rather than shop at large stores like Wal-Mart for our food and supplies, we give our support to small and locally-owned businesses. We feel that we are called to be responsible members of our community and use our gifts and talents for others.
We choose to do home repair for people who can’t afford the labor, and or can’t make the repairs themselves. We do repairs for no salary or compensation. We work with people, not for them. We try to recognize when our needs have been filled so that our excess can be used to fill someone else’s needs. The next step is to give of ourselves by truly giving of our need, not just our want. Nazareth Farm is about home repair, but more importantly we are about people. We believe that God loves each of us in the same way and so we strive to give all people the dignity and respect they deserve.