We are currently taking a break from our Saint James House program for young people as we evaluate how to adapt this program to better serve its purpose in the future. Questions about this program can still be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. - December, 2016
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.
ABRAHAM & ANNA LABRADA are the host couple for this year’s program. Abraham was born in Mexico City and became a student at Saint Tikhon Seminary in 2007. He is an iconographer and also works in translation. Anna grew up in Indiana, has a teaching degree, and has taught at St. John's Orthodox Christian School for three years. They have been married for two years and welcomed their first child last summer. They look forward to spending this year at the St. James House.
FR. HAROLD AND BARBARA DUNAWAY purchased the Saint James House in 1972. Through their ministry and that of other married couples who followed them, the “Big House," as it was called for many years, became a place of growth and encouragement for many young people. The living room, with its spectacular view and warm fireplace, became the center of many teaching sessions and meetings. The community of St. John Cathedral eventually grew out of this ministry and in 1987 became a parish within the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese. The ST. JAMES HOUSE aims to build on this legacy in such a way that the young people who participate in this program will look back on this experience as one of the best times of their life.
The patron saint of the house is St. James the Brother of St. John the Evangelist and Theologian. For more information on St. James, click here.