Expectations for volunteers

It’s not a job but a way of life. You are not expected to work all the time you are in the house, but we hope you will want to share your life in community with those around you including our house guests and local people.

What live-in volunteers can expect

  • You can expect to live and work in a context of community, hospitality, resistance, discipleship and sharing, where we are all flawed and striving to grow in the way of community, and where you will be stretched, inspired and valued.
  • You can expect to be listened to and to listen to others, and to be involved in decision making within the existing framework of our work and the Catholic Worker philosophy.
  • You can expect to be part of wider movements and structures of peace, justice and activism.
  • You can expect to have a Spiritual Companion or mentor (who is outside the community) and lots of inspiring books to read from our collection.
  • You can expect to share responsibility in supporting our guests – befriending, listening, offering counsel, playing with children, letter writing, accompanying to appointments etc. (You will receive help with this)
  • You can expect to be supported in ensuring you have a healthy balance of work, rest and fun including the equivalent of two days off per week and holiday time during your stay.
  • You can expect about 40 hours of structured work a week.
  • You can expect to have your basic needs supplied.
  • You can expect to have a nice, comfortable bedroom to yourself or shared with another volunteer.
  • You can expect to live simply and eat donated and simple foods as well as produce from the garden in season.
  • You can expect to have use of a bike. There are also local buses and we can sometimes offer a lift if going in that direction
  • We hope this experience will help you to deepen and live out your faith. We hope to grow together in learning to “act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with God” (Micah 6:8)

Our normal routine is:

Monday – Friday:
8.00am: Old and New Testament Readings from the Weekday Missal, Prayer and Meditation, followed by time for Discussion and Planning.
9.00am: Breakfast
9.30am – 5.00pm: Working in the garden, on maintenance, fund raising or other tasks.
12.30am: Lunch break
6.00pm: Dinner

Saturday:
9.00am: Same as above
9.30am: Community meeting including “checking-­in” and “Consensus Decision Making”
11.30am-1.30pm: Working in the garden etc.
1.30pm onwards: Free time which constitutes half a day off

Sunday:
Day off (local churches available)

  • The first Wednesday evening of the month is a house meeting which includes all our guests. All other Wednesdays are “Fun Night” where we enjoy games, crafts, pamper nights, yoga, baking etc. together with our guests
  • The first Tuesday of the month is a roundtable discussion where we invite experts from outside the community to share with us
  • We also organise or take part in vigils, non-violent direct actions or protests on a regular weekly basis
  • It is good to note that no two weeks are the same; we have a varied and busy programme so it helps to have a relaxed and flexible approach!
  • Volunteers can also take an extra half day off per week

What is expected of volunteers

    

  • Commitment to, or at least support of, the Catholic Worker “Aims and Means” and the specific work of the London Catholic Worker and The Catholic Worker Farm in particular, characterised by the themes of hospitality, community and resistance, sustainability and ‘voluntary poverty’
  • An interest in the life, work and writings of Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, and a willingness to learn more, and learn from them
  • To value community: – that you will value time spent with others in the house, both community members and guests, and the extended LCW community. We usually expect a minimum of 5 nights a week to be spent sleeping in the house (except if you are away on holiday etc.)
  • To be committed to relating positively with our house guests, who are usually asylum seekers / refugees
  • To take part in daily prayer which is part of our shared life and a source of insight and strength for our work
  • Cleaning and Shared Living: this is a busy house: it needs to be kept clean and tidy to function well. You will be expected to take your share of all household chores and be sensitive to and aware of others needs
  • Voluntary Poverty: What we provide will be enough to live simply and most of our food is simple and/or donated
  • To be willing to engage in physical labour such as gardening and to have a a helpful and flexible attitude where possible
  • To be committed to communicating effectively with the whole community, to be willing to consider other people’s perspectives and make compromises, and to work through any problems together
  • Non-violence: to take part in vigils or protesting. You should be supportive of or at least open to civil disobedience but you will NOT be expected to participate in any arrestable non-violent direct action.
  • Dealing with problems: problems should usually be raised with the individual concerned, or at the weekly meetings. The CWF may decide to ask volunteers to leave in extreme circumstances. For your own sake, you will be required to have either enough money for a return ticket home, or an actual ticket (if coming from abroad) before you come, and a permanent address you can return to if you have to leave sooner than planned.

BOTTOM LINE COMMITMENTS

  1. I agree that I am happy with the mutual “Expectations” as outlined above.
  2. Actions which can result in being asked to leave immediately include – use of non-prescription drugs – bringing pornography into the house, or viewing it on or downloading it from the internet – physical or verbal violence – stealing
  3. Notice to leave: in normal circumstances, after the trial period had finished: volunteers should give and would be given one week’s notice of leaving: community members should and would be given one month’s notice of leaving

Last updated: August 2012

Specific details may vary but we hope this serves as a good guide as to what you can expect.

Download document »