Beacon Hill Friends House is home to approximately 22 adults at a time who live in intentional community grounded in Quaker values. Residents live in a mix of single and double rooms and share use of two kitchens and our many common areas. Rent per person ranges between $771 and $889 per month. Financial aid (supported by other residents and house alumni) of up to 15% of the above amounts is available for those who need it. All residents also pay $373 per month for Board, which covers all utilities, a fully stocked vegetarian kitchen, and 5 house dinners cooked each week by our Resident Chef.
Beacon Hill Friends House welcomes applications for new members of our diverse community. We review applications on a rolling basis, and as we have known vacancies. To apply, please familiarize yourself with the information on the website, and fill out this online application form.
If you have any questions, please reach out to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
BHFH Residency Program
The Mission of Beacon Hill Friends House is:
To embody the Quaker principles of faith, simplicity, integrity, community and social responsibility in order to nurture and call forth the Light in all of us.
Beacon Hill Friends House is as much a thing one does as a place one lives. The Friends House is a place for people to grow and deepen, whether you attend one public event, or you live here for four years. Our full-time residents have the deepest opportunity for engagement here, and thus the deepest opportunity for growth.
We all arrive at the Friends House at a different point in our lives, and we work together to build a residential community rooted in Quaker values that supports growth, discovery, and reflection. In addition to the life here at the House, we value each individual’s life outside the House, and seek to honor that balance.
Though each experience will be unique, the House provides some structures and support to help residents reflect, grow, and build skills and capacity to live in greater alignment with their values and our shared vision of a just world. Three main areas where the House seeks to offer support are Community and Service, Cooperation and Collaboration, and Personal and Spiritual Growth. Below are some things a resident can expect in their journey here.
Community and Service
Being an “intentional community” is one of the most obvious ways we live into our value of community, and the practice of living intentionally with a diverse group of people offers a wide variety of joys, challenges, and opportunities for growth. We build community here through our shared House dinners five times each week, our House Meetings twice a month, our Retreats twice a year, as well as other opportunities to connect offered formally by our committees and informally by our housemates.
Our sense of community here extends outside just our full-time residents, and includes the Beacon Hill Friends Meeting, guests who come to stay in our two overnight guest rooms, people who attend our public events, and others who use our space. On an institutional level, we support a diverse group of organizers and activists with affordable (often free) use of our space. Residents are exposed to these networks of change in Boston, and often get opportunities to interact and make connections with the folks coming through our space. Additionally, many House residents bring their own social concerns, and the House seeks to support these with educational and service opportunities.
A resident will leave here having shared welcome, hospitality, and fellowship with a wide array of people, and having reflected on and practiced living a life in line with their values.
Cooperation and Collaboration
When a resident first arrives at the Friends House, there is a lot to learn. While all residents work together to support new arrivals, each new resident is assigned a mentor, who helps to orient them to the systems we use to live and work together, from our dish crews, to our chores, to our committee structures.
During a resident’s tenure here, they will serve on various committees, learning group process skills from our Quaker roots, and from the experience of the wide variety of folks they work with. Many residents will take on leadership roles, such as serving as a Clerk (facilitator) for a committee or for House Meeting, or serving on the Board of the non-profit that governs the House.
All residents will participate in collective care for the House by participating in our twice-yearly Work Days. Many residents will also serve on our Building and Grounds committee, which helps with ongoing maintenance and larger building projects.
A resident will leave here with a strong sense of group process and experience with collaborative work, which are skills that extend beyond cooperative living into our personal and professional lives.
Personal and Spiritual Growth
While some residents are Quaker, most are not; we are a diverse community running the spectrum of faith and non-faith backgrounds. Each resident will have different personal and spiritual needs; at the same time, we often grow most when we share in each other’s journeys. Residents participate in a number of programs here designed to facilitate this sharing and growth. During House Meeting and House Retreat, we explore deep topics together. Committees organize events to share their diverse holiday traditions and to create times for reflection. Residents are encouraged to attend and to help create public programming at the House that offers opportunities for spiritual and personal exploration.
In addition to these communal activities, each resident also participates in a personal yearly reflection process, engaging in queries both individually and with others in the community. Throughout their time here, residents are exposed to tools, practices, and guidance from the Quaker faith, including most notably the use of centering silence.
Residency at the Friends House is an opportunity to explore one’s faith, to love, accept, and accompany, and to prepare for whatever comes next in one’s journey. We hope that the lessons and growth someone experiences as a resident stay with them beyond their time at the Friends House.
Life at the Friends House
There is no one word or phrase that neatly describes the people who live at the House. Some of us are students, some are full-time working people, and some are retired. Our fields include art, ministry, accounting, engineering, education, social justice, and many others. We come from a range of spiritual and non-spiritual traditions, but we have a common commitment to living together according to Quaker principles.
The House offers residents a chance to live according to Quaker principles of self-government. The Board governs the House through several committees. Residents choose representatives to serve on most committees and to report to the Board as well. Decisions are reached in committee and Board meetings by the Quaker decision making process, which is similar to a consensus process.
All residents and staff are expected to attend a House meeting held twice monthly. At these meetings residents discuss all issues affecting life in the community from the sublime to the ridiculous. At House meeting, residents plan events (both social and educational) and discuss issues ranging from the use of alcohol to the ways we can improve our hospitality.
In addition to attending House Meeting, residents are expected to help once a week with serving and cleaning up after meals, to complete assigned household chores, to serve on house committees, and to participate in spring and fall work days and retreats. Residents are also encouraged to help plan and attend community events, to help out in emergencies, and to make the Friends House a hospitable place for our many visitors.
Food at the Friends House
The House provides simple, nutritious food for residents. The kitchen manager (who is also a resident) does grocery shopping so that food is available for residents to cook their own breakfast and lunch. The kitchen manager prepares a vegetarian meal five nights each week, with a meat option about once a week. Although we do change our menu and shopping lists based on the desires of each group of residents, we are not able to accommodate every special request. We provide limited storage space for residents who purchase special food items of their own.
A shared dinner, served every night but Friday and Saturday, is an important part of community life. No one is expected to be at every dinner, but applicants who anticipate having a schedule which would keep them away from dinner more than two nights a week should discuss that during the interview.
It is difficult to capture the essence of community in action through mere words. The spirit and atmosphere of such a living experience can only be understood by participating in the life of the group. A more complete picture of the expectations and rules for life at Beacon Hill Friends House may be obtained by reading the Resident Handbook. The contents of the Handbook are constantly being modified to reflect the changes in the individuals and society over the years. For a link to the current version of the Handbook, click here.