Statement of Mission and Purpose: The Open Door Community in Atlanta, Georgia, is a residential community in the Catholic Worker tradition (we’re sometimes called a Protestant Catholic Worker House!). We seek to dismantle racism, sexism and heterosexism, abolish the death penalty, and create the Beloved Community on Earth through a loving relationship with some of the most neglected and outcast of God’s children: the homeless and our sisters and brothers who are in prison.
We serve breakfasts and soup-kitchen lunches, provide showers and changes of clothes, staff a free medical clinic, conduct worship services and meetings for the clarification of thought, and provide a prison ministry, including monthly trips for families to visit loved ones at Hardwick Prison in central Georgia. We also advocate on behalf of the oppressed, homeless and prisoners through nonviolent protests, grassroots organization and the publication of our monthly newspaper, Hospitality.
Expectations/Responsibilities of the Position: Resident Volunteers (RVs) assist with and participate in all activities of the Community. RVs generally serve for a 6 to 12 month period; the Leadership Team of the Open Door will consider exceptions to this on an individual basis.
Qualifications: Living at the Open Door demands tolerance, patience, and an openness to give of ourselves and receive from others without judgment. It requires a willingness to work for change in our social structures and in ourselves. In all our work, we are called to practice hospitality and friendliness. We are not here to simply provide services, but to share God’s love, mercy and compassion with our oppressed brothers and sisters. RVs should be at least 20 years old at the time they begin their RV term.
Working Conditions: All Community residents, including Resident Volunteers, live at the Open Door and work in our ministries six days per week. RVs are placed on the same job rotation schedule as other Community residents, with duties that may include breakfast preparation and cleanup, soup kitchen work, supervision of showers and clothes closet, house cleaning, answering the phone and door, receiving and sorting donations, and supper preparation. As they become more familiar with the operation of the Community, RVs may be asked to take on additional responsibilities, such as leading breakfast or soup kitchen, being in charge of the house during regular hours, or leading daily worship. Dress is very casual, and RVs may obtain any clothes they need from our clothes closet (as do all Community residents). We prefer that RVs not bring personal vehicles to the Open Door; we recommend public transportation for personal travel and will provide tokens for use on days off. The Open Door owns several vehicles that we use primarily in our ministries.
On-Site Supervisor: Each RV is assigned a Pastoral Friend (a member of the Community’s Leadership Team) upon arriving at the Open Door. This person will serve as guide and mentor during the RV’s stay.
Supervision Plan: The RV and her/his Pastoral Friend will interact daily during the course of the Community’s activities, and special meetings can be easily arranged whenever needed.
Application: Each prospective RV should complete a Resident Volunteer application form and submit 3 references. Forms can be obtained from the Open Door by mail or online. A series of interviews will follow, initially by telephone and progressing to a face-to-face interview. We encourage prospective RVs to spend up to a week at the Open Door during their application process.
Preparation: Prior to arriving, RVs should read Sharing the Bread of Life, a book that describes the history and theological foundations of the Open Door Community. We also recommend that potential RVs read the articles listed on our website.
Additional Comments: We welcome all without regard to gender or racial/ethnic background. Housing, three meals daily, and clothing are provided to RVs, along with a weekly stipend of $11.50 (the same amount received by Open Door Partners and members of the Leadership Team). We expect RVs to provide for their transportation to and from Atlanta, but we can assist with this in situations of need.