live at Alterna
BECOMING A MEMBER OF ALTERNA
Alterna is a Christian missional community comprised of U.S. citizens and Latin American immigrants and is committed to welcoming the stranger via acts of accompaniment, advocacy, and hospitality.
SINGLES AND COUPLES WHO FEEL they may be called to a life in Christian community and, in particular, a life at Alterna, are encouraged to visit Alterna in order to experience firsthand something of the life of the community. Multi-day visits are encouraged as a part of this process.
After such a visit, petitioners may then apply for acceptance as intentional neighbors, the first stage in the process of membership. Occasionally, Alterna may also be able to accept residential volunteers.
Intentional neighbors live in the Hillside neighborhood where Alterna is located. It is encouraged that intentional neighbors live as close to the Alterna homes as possible. Alterna will assist intentional neighbors in finding housing but any rent, utilities and other living expenses are the sole responsibility of the intentional neighbor(s). Some intentional neighbors may be able to raise support directly through Alterna but those opportunities will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Intentional neighbors commit to actively participate in Alterna’s common life activities including but not limited to table fellowship, prayer, advocacy and hospitality. Intentional neighbors are also offered formal and informal opportunities for spiritual formation. Such activities may include readings, discussions, guest speakers, field visits, experiential learning (i.e., activism, service, etc.) on themes of theology and spirituality; expressions of Christian community; the Scriptures; justice; and immigration.
Recognizing that most applicants will be seeking a short-term formation experience, we do accept short-term intentional neighbors.
The intentional neighbor phase requires a minimum commitment of three months and must be renewed every three months for a limit of two years. After six months as an intentional neighbor the person or couple may petition the core members of Alterna for acceptance as a novice in the community.
Occasionally, Alterna may invite persons to join the vocational work of Alterna – accompanying immigrants in crisis, advocating for immigrants rights, and offering hospitality – in a deeper, more focused manner. These volunteers commit to a certain amount of hours per week of related service under the supervision of Alterna co-founder, Anton Flores-Maisonet. Residential volunteers are offered housing, a modest stipend, and mileage reimbursement for approved service-related travel.
Aside from the distinctions described about, residential interns/volunteers follow the same process towards membership as do intentional neighbors.
If the petition is accepted, a date is set for the individual or couple’s entry into the novitiate, usually about six months from the time of the petition, and the novice is then referred to as a candidate. Candidates and novices continue in sharing in the common life of the community but are now paired with a core member with whom they meet with on a regular basis for the purpose of discernment and spiritual direction and working through the important stages of spiritual growth in community.
Novices confess Jesus Christ is Lord and demonstrate a life that is complementary to the values of Alterna, namely, the values of relocation, generous simplicity, hospitality, reconciliation, community, environmental stewardship, nonviolence, and the balanced spiritual life.
The novitiate phase lasts six months to three years and is reviewed every six months. After one year as a novice the person or couple may petition the core members of Alterna for acceptance into the core of Alterna.
If the petition is accepted, a ceremony is planned marking the individual or couple’s entry into the core of Alterna. Core members commit to be a part of Alterna for as long as the community and individual or couple together discern that to be God’s will, however, the expectation at this level is that there is now a deep sense of call to a life of stability and commitment to the people and place called Alterna.
Core members are the heart of Alterna and this is where decision-making and vision-casting for the community is shared.
While core members are still afforded a great amount of autonomy, core members also display a mature and undeniable commitment to interdependency. Core members of Alterna also commit to financial interdependence with the expectation that core members not only ensure that no one among us is in need but that together we are demonstrably showing our support for the missional values of Alterna with our generous financial contributions.
COVENANT CORE MEMBERS
The final phase of membership at Alterna has not yet been expressed for it requires at least two households willing to live as Covenant Core members. Covenant core members will experiment with radical economic sharing, be it a common purse or proportionate tithing to a common fund. Alterna longs for the day when this level of interdependency is experienced by some of our members.
INDIVIDUALS AND COUPLES of at least 21 years of age who are interested in learning more about life at Alterna should contact Alterna at, P.O. Box 4043, LaGrange, GA 30241; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; tel – (706) 882-9661.