In 2007, a small group of Mountainsiders began to dream about the possibility of forming an intentional living community in Monrovia. The idea was to have a home owned or rented by Mountainside and inhabited by a small group of people who were committed to developing relationships and creating hospitality within their neighborhood. We began to call this the Neighborhood House. Over the next two years we met regularly praying together and studying scripture. We looked at properties, brainstormed about practical ideas for connecting with neighbors, investigated grant writing, and visited an existing intentional living community. We developed the following mission statement, which helped guide us: Neighborhood House is a physical space where Mountainside Communion is gathered by the Spirit to follow Jesus, hospitably loving God and neighbor.
After an incredible amount of work and energy invested, we began to realize the idea in our present context was not a sustainable one. We looked to our mission statement and we looked to one another and we continued to pray and wonder about what God might be calling us to. Within a few months, members of the group began to live out this mission statement in various ways. One member of the group invited others to move in with his family, where they began to live with intentionality, finding ways to create a supportive environment for one another. Others began to look for individual living spaces within Monrovia and worked with the Neighborhood House group as they considered different neighborhoods and homes and how each location would encourage hospitality and connection. A short time later, several of us found ourselves living within a couple of miles of one another, our paths intersecting daily as we began to invest in our local community. Not living in the same house, but still living in communion with a strong commitment to the work of God in this city. It was not what we originally imagined together, but it was the way that we were gathered by the Spirit to follow Jesus, striving to hospitably love God and neighbor.