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A Faith-Based Social Justice Fellowship seeks to build Beloved Community in the Desert

 Beloved in the Desert is a young adult intentional Christian community in Tucson, Arizona. Its inaugural year is ongoing, from late July through the end of May 2020. You may see updates about the work of Beloved in the Desert in our e-news, and you can get to know them through several formation opportunities they will be leading in 2019-2020.

If you are interested in joining Beloved in the Desert in 2020-2021, please look out for an application to the Episcopal Service Corps in December 2020. Learn more about the Episcopal Service Corps, here.

Beloved in the Desert is made up of young adults between the ages of 21 and 29. As a volunteer with Beloved in the Desert, one joins a nationwide network known as the Episcopal Service Corps. The Corps members serve in local non-profits working to end homelessness, hunger, and poverty in Tucson, live together in intentional community, and pray together and with the community in Southern Arizona.  Through their efforts they do the work of justice while being grounded in the liturgy and support of the Church, and they gain the spiritual skills to live in intentional community.  This opportunity for emerging professionals offers time for vocational discernment and the opportunity to seek and serve Christ in Tucson through service and community.

The Corps members may be serving at an Episcopal Church supporting Young Adult and Campus Ministry, or in organizations like the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, Interfaith Community Services, Imago Dei Middle School, Habitat for Humanity, or another community non-profit. Depending on what one’s vocational experience and vocational callings are, the Partner Agencies and the Beloved in the Desert team pair the applicant with Agencies with which to interview.  Each agency is interested in the Corps Member exercising his or her gifts and stretching and strengthening one for service or for next steps in education or work. As a volunteer one commits to serve 32 hours per week at a partner site, with Friday’s reserved for community formation and Sundays for Church.

In Tucson the borders and boundaries of the US and of our communities are lively, and this is the place to engage "the stranger" today.   Beloved in the Deserts investigate the beauty and difficulty of being a border community, and will work to build the Beloved Community across borders of our experiences and hearts.

Come see what God is revealing in the desert!

If you are someone you know would be interested in this opportunity, please connect them to Taylor Devine, or  520-299-6421x44.

Why intentional community?

There is a movement of the Spirit, toward a New Monasticism, a claiming of Christian life in bold ways. Our culture can lead to loneliness and isolation that comes with each stage of life in different ways, and we recognize we need the witness of Jesus’ compassion and suffering.

Beloved in the Desert is a program of the Episcopal Service Corps, a network in the Episcopal Church that invites an intentional community of young adults to serve people and promote justice to gather in various cities. After some time in intentional community there is an element of confidence that becomes clear-it’s not self-reliance, but other-reliance, and an understanding of priorities and hopes that are borne out in community.

Here are some examples:

What’s with the name?

The Beloved part comes from the belief and commitment to sharing the Love of God that is already within and surrounding each person and most perfectly available in the person of Christ, and a commitment to following Him through acts and practices of justice. We plan to use the Beloved Community Curriculum from the National Church for some of our programming with a focus on racial reconciliation. As a Border community the realities of intercultural life that demands a reckoning with privilege and race, and this community would be at work on the edge of several margins. Like the Desert Mothers and Fathers, the community will come to the edge, to the boundary of what is known to them to commit to prayer, work and study. Their lives will be changed, as will those of our Parish community, and we want to recognize the importance of context in our work, and the title “Beloved in the Desert” is our attempt to do so.

"Throughout our Judeo-Christian history, the desert has been a place of encounter, a place in which the unfathomable mystery of God meets our creaturely selves. From the Israelite sojourn of forty years to Jesus' temptation in the wilderness, scripture gives us the precedent of desert revelation. Moses looks at the bush, and it burns without being consumed. The angels minister to Jesus amid the rocky wilds. The stories tell us this: in a sparse landscape, it is hard to fool ourselves. In an empty natural setting, we come face to face with our own limitations and mortality and with the fact of our creaturely dependence. The desert spaces help us strip away illusions and lies. In that empty space, the voice of God that thunders over the waters may thunder inside the human soul."
(The Desert Mothers, Mary C. Earle, p.83)

Who participates?

Young adults between 21 and 29 years old who have either completed their Bachelor's or other secondary education or who have other significant experience (completed by June, so that includes recent grads and gap years for some). The volunteers must be willing to commit for the full timeline of the 10.5 months (July 22, 2020-May 31, 2021).

The applicants must either be Baptized in a Christian tradition, or seeking Baptism and commitment to Christ.

Saint Philip’s and Beloved in the Desert are LGBTQ+ affirming, and people from diverse backgrounds are most welcome to apply, assured of a welcome that takes your human dignity seriously.

If you are wondering about our beliefs, do not be ashamed to include those questions in your application or other communications. We’re not looking for experts, but people who are invested in the hard work of community building, justice making, listening and transformation in the name of Love.

Saint Philip’s, the first partner in bringing this community together, is working in partnership with Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Campus Ministry at the University of Arizona.  In this partnership we see the Holy Spirit hard at work inspiring the sharing of talents, resources, and relationships to create a place for young leaders to grow in faith as they cross borders of all kinds and discern the various callings on their lives in his place and beyond.

What does a week in the life look like?

Morning: Attend and serve at Saint Philip’s in some form: acolyte, choir, hospitality, teaching, catechist, etc.
Afternoon: Rest, free
Evening: Attend or serve at Episcopal Campus Ministry, followed by Compline

7am Morning Prayer
~8-5 Volunteer Site
Community meal
9pm Compline or Evening Prayer at home

7am Morning Prayer
~8-5 Volunteer Site
Community meal and community conversation
9pm Compline or Evening Prayer at home

7am Morning Prayer
~8-5 Volunteer Site
Mosaic Dinner: Evening Prayer, Parish dinner, intergenerational Faith Formation

7am Morning Prayer
~8-5 Volunteer Site
Community meal
9pm Compline or Evening Prayer at home

9-11 Processing work, guest speaker, community work, integration of work, faith, life
11 Eucharist
11:45 Community meal
12:30-3 Study, teaching together, based on curriculum for the year
From 3 on, free


Unstructured rest and recreation, except for monthly service projects or events with your volunteer site

How will I live out my faith?

Q: What is the mission of the Church?
A: The mission of the Church is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.

Q: How does the Church pursue its mission?
A: The Church pursues its mission as it prays and worships, proclaims the Gospel,and promotes justice, peace, and love.

Q: Through whom does the Church carry out its mission?
A: The Church carries out its mission through the ministry of all its members.
– An Outline of the Faith (Book of Common Prayer, p. 855)

As a part of this Church community and as a volunteer in a local justice-oriented non-profit organization, Beloved in the Desert walks with the two feet of charity and justice in your prayer, service and study.

What kind of volunteering would I be doing?

As a volunteer you may be working at an Episcopal Church in the work of Mission and Outreach, Young Adult and Campus Ministry, Evangelism, or in organizations like the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, Interfaith Community Services, El Rio Community Health, Old Pueblo Community Services, or another community non-profit. Depending on what your vocational experience and vocational callings are the Partner Agencies the Beloved in the Desert team will pair you with three with which to interview in the Winter. Each agency is interested in you exercising your gifts and stretching and strengthening you for service or for your next steps in education or work. As a volunteer you commit to serve 32 hours per week at a partner site.

As a volunteer what kind of compensation will I receive?

The volunteers live together in intentional Christian cohousing in Tucson, with rent, utilities and internet covered. The volunteers share a food budget and cooking responsibilities. A modest personal stipend is provided monthly, and transportation stipend equivalent to a monthly bus pass is provided.

The transformative work of Intentional Christian community also includes Christian formation and education, two retreats, deepened relationships, monthly Spiritual Direction, and mentoring, space and place to encounter God in Christ in community, room to discern vocation to all kinds of callings, and a Church and community to support you in your next steps as a Christian. Valuable experience in a social justice organization. Access to an amazing city’s resources in language, culture, food, and a social justice center.

What is Episcopal Service Corps?
Core tenets:
-Intentional Christian Community
-Service of others in solidarity, promoting justice through community
-Deepening of spiritual awareness and vocational discernment
-Simple Living
-Relationship with an Episcopal entity

Our focus along with these tenets comes from striving to be the Beloved Community:
Telling the truth
-Proclaiming the dream
-Repairing the Breach
-Practicing the Way

How will we live out this in Beloved in the Desert:

-Racial Reconciliation
-Borderlands Justice
-Prayerful service rooted in the inherent shared dignity of God’s image

Winter 2019-Spring 2020: Applications are available on this site:
December 2019-February 2020: Phone/Video Chat Interviews with Beloved in the Desert and Volunteer sites
February 2: First Offer Friday
February-March 2019: Rolling acceptances
July 22-31, 2020: On-Boarding Institute
August 1, 2020-May 31, 2021: Commissioned to live and serve as Intentional Community, praying, volunteering in local social justice agencies, and studying together to grow as disciples

Connect with us:
Instagram: Beloved_Tucson


What can I do to help?

If you are a member of Saint Philip's or a community member, we would love to partner with you to support the work of Beloved in the Desert. Part of the program year for Beloved in the Desert will be the offering of a range of learning opportunities from the heart of Tucson, so if you want to share a workshop, open your home as a Parish Parent once a month for dinner, donate furnishings for the Beloved in the Desert residence, contribute financially to our sustainability, or to pray with us, you are most welcome! Join us for Morning Prayer, Monday through Thursday at 7am, Friday Eucharist at noon, or at one of the monthly Action: Reflection service projects hosted at the Corps Member’s Volunteer sites. If you think your organization might be a good candidate for partnership with us, be in touch!