ST. JAMES HOUSE, a ministry of Saint John Orthodox Cathedral in Eagle River, Alaska, provides a one-year residential program where young, single people live in an extended-family setting and become better prepared to live in the world as faithful Orthodox Christian men and women. This is accomplished primarily through evening studies, household work projects, and participation in the liturgical and community life of St. John Cathedral, as well as their daily interaction with one another. The household itself is run by a resident family whose goal is to mentor the program's participants in facing everyday challenges responsibly and with faith in God. The pastor and clergy of St. John Orthodox Cathedral also oversee the program by providing instruction and spiritual direction.
"Young people need to know they can marry, raise a family, and still be all-out Orthodox Christians. Our parishes urgently need such young people to become pillars of the Church." - Fr. Marc Dunaway, Pastor of St. John Cathedral
The St. James House program begins September 1 and finishes the end of June every year. There are separate dormitory-style accommodations for up to five men and five women. Household members are usually expected to have jobs or attend college. (The University of Alaska, Anchorage is less than a half-hour away.) The normal fee for room and board is $500 per month. Residents are also expected to participate in group teachings, activities, and service projects, in addition to attending church services.
Living at the Saint James House means living in an intentional way that helps us grow in community with God and one another. The program is primarily an evening one of shared suppers, evening studies, and gatherings of all sorts, where honest questions can be asked and real conversations can happen. The schedule revolves around the liturgical life of the Orthodox Church year, and service to the community and each other. Each week, residents share three evening meals plus Sunday brunch, in addition to a parish family meal shared once a week on most Wednesdays. Twice a week, residents have an evening get-together for study, discussions, or fun. Weekends are free for personal pursuits such as exploring Alaska, hiking, skiing, and so on.