House Dinners--about once a month, the House community gathers for a meal together with special guests as Disciple leaders, faculty in a less formal setting, and others.
Ministry Lunches--in alternate weeks, we gather for a brown bag lunch and casual conversation about the practices of ministry. Ministers (often our graduates) lead the conversation: how do you shape good Disciple worship? How do you discern a call? What about ministerial ethics? How do you lead change in a church?
Opening Retreat--a newer part of the life of the Disciples House community is the Opening Retreat, held at Bethany Hills church camp just outside Nashville each August before new student orientation at Vanderbilt Divinity School. The purposes are to get to know one another and the diverse gifts we bring, to worship and build community among residents and non-resident Disciples, to facilitate harmonious living and learning together among Disciple and non-Disciple residents, and to consider our place in our vocational paths and the role of School and House in it.
Becoming and living in hospitable community is among the highest of Christian virtues, but it is also among the most difficult. How do we live together with grace and integrity? How do we manage difference? How do we seek God in the middle of books, dishes, and washing machines? The opening retreat is about as mandatory as we can make it, since the practice of living in community at this place is a real distinctive and something we take very seriously.
The Graduation Celebration--It's become a House tradition: just before Commencement, the Disciples House community gathers to share a meal and to celebrate the accomplishments of its graduates as they complete their work at VDS. Families of the graduates attend, and everyone enjoys a send-off that includes dinner, roasting by Housemates, concluding remarks, and a blessing and benediction. It's an evening filled with tears and so many laughs and hugs and love that it can't be captured in words.