March Letter from Executive Director Kelsey Rice Bogdan

For better or worse, I’ve grown accustomed to spending life on the move; bouncing off emails on the subway between tightly-packed meetings, or squeezing in a last-minute phone call with a fellow in that hour I had planned to sit down and draft a proposal. If I’m being honest, I’m writing these very words on my phone, riding the Orange Line subway between Assembly and Sullivan Square stations!

Yet I’m doing all this in the midst of the liturgical season of Lent, with Holy Week just around the corner: a time when Christians are called to go slower, slower, slower, until stopping at the stark silence of the cross. In the seasons of my own life, too, as I prepare to welcome an imminent new member of my own family in the next week or two, my body is slowing down in preparation for the work ahead. And the past six months have been a time for Life Together itself to resist the rhythms of urgency that sometimes show up in our work culture, making space instead to reflect on the deeper purpose that grounds all our activity. In that slowing down, a variety of new things are emerging.

First, we are excited to share some shifts in next year’s cohort that we hope will enhance our capacity to invest more deeply in the spiritual formation and leadership development of each fellow. We are reducing the size of our overall cohort next year to 18 fellows in the greater Boston area and Lawrence, and at the same time expanding the number of second-year Emmaus fellowships we offer to between six and eight. The shift will allow us to concentrate our staffing and financial resources on more intensive formation for a slightly smaller group, in which up to half of fellows are returning for a second year. This is the first step toward our vision of Life Together becoming a two-year fellowship for most young adults we serve: two years in which fellows can grow in their own leadership and strengthen the capacity of our host site partners. Our Emmaus and Esperanza alumni have already demonstrated the powerful impact of a second Life Together year, and we want to focus our resources on expanding that experience to all our fellows.

We are also shifting the format of our annual celebration and fundraiser, Love Matters, from a single event to a series of house parties across greater Boston in May. Be on the lookout for that invitation next week! We look forward to friends coming together in smaller, more intimate settings to build deeper relationships and share stories of the powerful work being done in and through this amazing community.

Finally, I wanted to share with you that I will be going on maternity leave shortly, and will be on leave through the end of June. As I prepare to depart, I am excited to introduce to you our new Bridge Program Coordinator, Dominique Bocanegra, who will be supporting our staff and fellows part-time through June 22nd. Dominique’s role will help us end the year well by supporting both fellows and host sites through our regular transition activities and evaluations. An alumna from the 2015-2016 cohort, Dominique brings a deep understanding of our community, strong administrative skills, and a passion for the fellows to this work. Welcome, Dominique!

Like the search to define and understand “right relationship” that fellow Caroline Weeks describes in this newsletter, and the stable groundedness and connection of hygge that alumna Eva Englert-Jessen explores, Life Together is in the process of reimagining the ways we can build a more just world while anchoring ourselves in our core values. As we look toward Easter, I am excited for all the new life that is emerging from this season.