Who Are We?
We are a bunch of people who are in love with life and other people! We are tired of the artificial friends of Facebook and we know that a Tweet cannot satisfy our deep need for connection.
You see, we believe what you believe... that it is NOT the ultra-modern, expensive home nor the fancy new car nor the latest electronic gadgets that make a lasting difference in life. But rather it is people. Friends, family, relationships, bonding and community. We once heard someone say, "No one, on their death bed, will say, "I wish I spent more time at the office." We could expand that death-bed scenario and say, "I wish I had gotten the latest iPhone" or "If only I had that shiny new Lexus..." No. Because when we really come down to the inner core of what we believe and who we are understand that it is the people, family and the fulfillment of relationships that really matter.
We want to show you how to unfold your life, as we have, to breathe in the fullness of a life lived with others. We will show you how to make the place where you live to be a source of joy and energy to you, your family and your community.
A big part of what makes our life here at the Joyful Community is FOOD! Charlie has been called a "chef" but he tends to disagree. False humility! As a part of our mission we have taken on the task of teaching others how to engage and entertain over some good food. You're gonna love it!
We will be giving recipes along with some stories of entertaining and some tips on good hospitality. We will share with you the experience and knowledge we have gained from having thousands (literally) sit down at our dinner table.
We are excited to share and grow with you!
Creativity in the Common Place (which sort of makes it Uncommon!)
"Oh, I'm not creative" or "I haven't got an artistic bone in my body." or "I haven't got imagination!" To those statements we say, "Shut yo' mouth!" You were created in the Image of the most Creative Being in the Universe. You are creative. You just need to learn to recognize it and learn how to unleash it. We're not talking Rembrandt or Picasso. But we are talking about making the ordinary moments shine. And making the mundane sparkle with your unique touch.
A few words about the key folks on staff here at City 616.
Charlie and Ruth Jones
In our life time we (between the 2 of us) have been a janitor, salesman, dance instructor, hamburger slinger, nanny, cashier, cosmetic counter girl, street performer, manager, CEO (of a non-profit, sorry), stars, supporting actors, and extras. But most of all we have been Peculiar People. For 25 years we wrote, directed and acted in productions for our touring theatre company, Peculiar People, Inc. During these 25 years our lives had little chance to connect with others as we were travelling constantly. A normal month would find us on the road for 21 days or more. We had little chance to make and establish relationships. But nine years ago, God turned our lives upside down.
Nine years ago, after thousands of miles, 21 countries, gallons of coffee, and hundreds of performances, we finally settled in Greensboro, North Carolina. We had been on the road for so many years and felt a great longing for connection with a community. We began having dinners in our home. Out of that has grown the Greensboro Grub, a community dinner we host every month for 60 people.
As a grassroots community began to sprout out of the Grub we realized how little we knew about growing and sustaining community. We began voraciously reading what we could find about it. A vision began to grow in our hearts of a place where people were nourished and loved, supported and welcomed, where doors were open and conversation was up-lifting. But most of all, we envisioned a space where all the barriers that usually divide us would be obliterated.
And so, City 616 was formed with a mission to bring the diversity of our city together for the advancement of community through the arts, hospitality, education and service.
Last year Darren joined us. Before coming to us he’s been a student, a fisherman, a wrestler and a barista. He was looking for a place where hope still thrived. He has been our right-hand man, our encourager, our friend.
Since graduation from Wheaton College with a degree in philosophy in 2013, Darren has spent time traveling and being involved in various ministries. His main inspirations for the vision of the Art House Fellows have been the time he spent at L’abri in Boston and in the Greensboro Fellows program. Some of his in interests include phenomenology, the philosophy of science, the philosophy of mind, aesthetics and Eastern Orthodox Spirituality.