Richmond Hill is an ecumenical Christian community and covenant fellowship which maintains a retreat center and place of prayer in the historic Monte Maria monastery on Church Hill in the center of metropolitan Richmond. A residential community of 12-15 persons keeps a daily rhythm of prayer and a common life, based on a common Rule of Life. Our covenant fellowship is simply an open-ended group of persons from throughout greater Richmond who covenant to pray for the healing of the metropolitan city. Richmond Hill keeps the monastery and its grounds in trust for the citizens of metropolitan Richmond; the gardens, chapel, and library are open to the public every day of the week except Monday. Retreats and spiritual direction are available for individuals and for groups of up to 40 persons. The Richmond Hill Community exists to provide a long-term and prayerful base for communication and mutual ministry among churches and individuals in metropolitan Richmond, crossing racial, economic, jurisdictional and denominational lines. Prayer services and retreats are offered daily throughout the year, and groups who are holding their own retreats join together in prayer for the city before meals. The Richmond Hill Community and fellowship work to support and develop relationships between churches and other groups, businesses, and governmental entities seeking to make metropolitan Richmond a healthy and just community. The relationships formed at Richmond Hill result in a number of projects in community and social ministry, including particularly ministry in public schools.
Metro Richmond Clergy Convocation
Richmond Hill is a de facto association of clergy and churches throughout Metro Richmond. It maintains a common calendar of prayer, “Metro Richmond at Prayer,” in which participating churches pray in concert for the needs of the entire metropolitan community. It sponsors common activities for clergy and churches, and convenes them periodically. It brokers partnership relationships between churches, and between churches and community needs. In the fall of 2010, it is co-sponsoring the Metro Richmond Clergy Convocation with the School of Theology of Virginia Union University, at which public officials will discuss with clergy the most difficult issues they face. An extended network, and specific information on community needs, are under development. Cash to support communications and staff development needed is $85,000.
Armstrong Leadership Program
Richmond Hill sponsors the Armstrong Leadership Program for 40-50 students in grades 9-12 at Armstrong High School, the most heavily stressed high school in metropolitan Richmond. Armstrong serves the children of six public housing projects, with household incomes in the $10,000 - $13,000 range, who are most in danger of social breakdown and leaving school before completion. The program has developed an extensive mentoring network for a larger percentage of the student body. In the past ten years, all of the ALP students have graduated, all have post-secondary placements, and a significant number have attended four-year colleges on scholarships. Travelers’ Insurance is a major partner offering funding for the program and job shadowing opportunities for students. The program is funded each school year through grants and donations.
Richmond Hill staffs and co-sponsors the Micah Initiative, an association of more than 100 faith communities which work with the elementary schools of Richmond. More than 1000 volunteers provide mentoring, tutoring, classroom assistance, and special projects in cooperation with the principal of 24 schools. A single program director helps to arrange, negotiate and encourage the relationships between the faith communities and the schools. Training is provided by the Virginia Mentoring Partnership and Micah collaborates where possible with Communities in Schools (CIS) to provide a site coordinator/volunteer coordinator. Support is needed for individual site coordinators with CIS. Micah attempts to contribute from $25,000 - $40,000 in a school to match CIS in site coordinator position, which is proven to double or triple the effectiveness of volunteer and community support.
Urban Service Corp.
The Richmond Hill Urban Service Corps is a one-to-two year commitment to live with an intentional Christian community dedicated to the healing of metropolitan Richmond. Beginning August, four servant-leaders will join us in this mission. Richmond Hill has developed the Urban Service Corps to provide adults of any age an opportunity to serve after the example of Christ and participate in God’s healing in the metropolitan City of Richmond. This program provides women and men an opportunity to engage in service within metropolitan Richmond, in initiatives in Richmond Public Schools, mobilizing churches, volunteering in local agencies and non-profits to foster overall improvement in our community. The Corps also provides a rare opportunity to participate in a residential, ecumenical Christian Community and retreat center housed in an historic monastery in the heart of the City. Through this program, Urban Service Corps participants gain an understanding of how the Holy Spirit engages both the people and the social structures of a city, as well as how the life of a Christian community can provide a powerful witness for the possibilities of reconciliation and healing in a metropolitan area.
Spiritual retreats, program, and guidance
Richmond Hill is a basic resource for spiritual retreat for individuals and groups, maintained by a Christian residential community of persons who commit to a common rule of life, maintain a rhythm of prayer, and receive very modest stipends. Open to the public six days a week, Monday-Sunday. 40 overnight rooms for groups, five for individual retreatants. Full program of weekend retreats, and schools of spiritual guidance, healing prayer, pastoral care. Individual spiritual guidance and healing prayer available. Library, garden, chapel, novitiate available for prayer, study, and reflection. Prayer daily at 7am, Noon, and 6pm in the Chapel. Eucharist 5:30pm Tuesday, Taize service 1st Tuesdays 7:30pm, centering prayer Tuesdays 4:30pm and 7:30pm, soaking prayer 4th Thursdays 7:30pm. Available for day and overnight retreats by individuals and groups.