Jubilee House was wicked (in the Bostonian sense)

Before we begin posting on our wild adventures in New York we wanted to explain a little more about what Jubilee House was like.

Bill and Sue Dunigan are majors for the Salvation Army and back in 1993 were given the opportunity to start this little community.  Their heart for the Jubilee House is to be missional, a place to build and send while at the same time having a core group of believers who live in the house and are committed to the Dorchester neighborhood in day to day living.  Over the past 15 years they have seen many faces come and go.  Each semester, Gordon College sends a small group of students to enter in the community at Jubilee House, providing an opportunity to taste community and urban ministry, an urban plunge if you will.  Some of them catch the vision, others take it as a good experience and many walk away unphased by it all.

There are others who live and serve at the Jubilee House because they love it there and have been changed by the Light that shines from it.  These people, along with Bill and Sue’s family, would be the core residents.

Dorchester is kind of like a district of Boston, just south of the city and has been labeled a “high crime” area.  Many of the streets in Dorchester are filled with HUGE beautiful houses, dating back to the late 1800’s fully equipped with “carriage houses” in the back yards, priced at millions of dollars.  Wealth and poverty are placed together but there is a huge division in communities.  We rarely saw the wealthy outside their homes but we were constantly talking and walking the streets with the poor and homeless.

The Jubilee House was a holy combination of both- big, beautiful house with all kinds of people welcome to eat, live and fellowship together.  And none of them claim to have it all together. They are doing the best they can and praising the name of Jesus, knowing all things are possible with God.

We worshipped together on Sunday.  Bill did the speaking, Sue led singing and worship.  It was a novel idea — a “small group” of people “living life together.”  I know mega churches are all the rage these days, I have a theory on that — people don’t have to talk to anyone if they don’t want to, it’s less obtrusive, it doesn’t draw you out into transparency and eventual growth.  That is why life groups are pushed so hard, and I am witness to them being effective to growing closer to Christ and to fellow believers.  But the Jubilee House was already a small group of about 20 people who came together, knowing full well their own brokeness (ourselves included) and shared their troubles, their struggles, and their praises.  The only difference is that on this Sunday you knew you would see the same people Monday – Saturday, each probing deeper and asking how you were, if you’d seen the doctor, or how your sister was — all the struggles and praises you brought up on Sunday.  For first time guests, rather than have a coffee bar, couches and a bookstore to make you “feel at home,” you were asked to introduce yourself, and then when the church broke into groups of 3-4 you had the opportunity to pray for someone, as well as be prayed for — how many mega churches do you have the opportunity to do that on your first visit.  Community forces transparency!  The Jubilee House showed us just one more slice of the Community of God.

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