Frequently Asked Questions
Tiffany’s answers are in purple
Jemima’s answers are in pink
1. What exactly is The Family Tree?
The Family Tree is a non-profit organization and ministry which desires to follow in the way of Jesus as we share life with others in our community. We have joined hearts, minds, and voices alongside neighbors in Enderly Park.
The Family Tree is a non-profit organization that is committed to building relationships, learning and growing, and sharing life with our neighbors in West Charlotte.
2. How long have you been in Enderly Park?
3. Did your neighbors receive you well when you first moved into the neighborhood?
Naturally, our neighbors were a little skeptical and uncertain of who we were and what our purpose was at first, but then they showed us great kindness and hospitality. We were inspired, and still are, by the gracious hospitality of our neighbors.
4. How did The Family Tree start?
A few seminary students began having conversations on what life would look like if they were to live together and in common as they followed Jesus and embodied the Spirit in their daily lives.
The Family Tree first started as “Hyaets”; it was formed by two couples after they graduated from theological seminary. They were interested in community living and dedicating their lives to the service of God and neighbor.They hoped to enter into community with residents of the neighborhood, and to work hand in hand with neighbors to defy the hold of poverty, racism, and other injustices. The founding couples recently decided to split the organization so that one couple can continue to serve in West Charlotte, while the other couple serves a rural retreat center/farm in Lincolnton.
5. Why did you choose Charlotte? Enderly Park?
We wanted to live in a place where most would choose to turn and look the other way. A place where our lives would be enriched as we continue to challenge the “American Dream.” – Charlotte continues to grow as a booming city while many within her and outside the margins of the city are being disregarded.
“We” chose Charlotte because it is close to our families and home churches and we chose Enderly Park because of the need that we sensed. We wanted to be of help to the residents, but we were also careful to look for the assets and potential that we knew we would find here. We have been learning a lot from our neighbors in all the time that we have been here.
Shortly before we moved to Enderly Park, we met a group that informed us that they had been praying for the neighborhood, and praying that God would send people to invest in the lives of the residents; they believed that we were the answer to their prayer.
6. Who is a part of The Family Tree?
The Family Tree has a few members who actually live in the neighborhood. There are some who are connected and live outside of the neighborhood. For us, we are all family.
The Family Tree is made up of one founding couple, their two young sons, and interns. We also consider our neighbors, volunteers, supporters, and friends from near and far to be a part of the family!
7. Can I come and visit?
Absolutely! Most definitely! Get your beautiful self here! We’d love to meet you. Just let us know ahead of time so we can take good care of you while you are here.
Yes, YOU can come and visit us. You can e-mail “Helms” or “Greg” ahead of time. We do individual visits, small groups, and large groups. Sometimes we have overnight guests, and we have groups that come to work on projects, such as gardening, renovation, cleaning, and construction, etc.
8. What do you do in your free time?
Play outside and take walks in the parks. Read and watch movies. Dance to “Just Dance” videos as much as possible. Play card games and board games. Create art and garden.
We have a variety of interests and hobbies! During our free time, you’ll find some of us doing crossword puzzles or watching movies or designing artistic crafts, etc. We also enjoy concerts, food truck fridays, pajama parties, reading, and lounging in hammocks.
9. What is an average day like?
Everyone wakes up and slowly joins around the table or in the living room for prayers by 8am. After prayers, the children go to school and the adults go to work. Around noon, we all stop for midday prayers. Sometimes we are together and other times we’re scattered. We typically reconvene at the house between 2 and 4, then have dinner at 5:30. What’s for dinner you ask? Eats for the vegetarians and good wholesome meals. Then we hang out and relax for the evening.
At The Family Tree, we are students of flexibility and spontaneity; we operate knowing that there may be a call or a knock on the door at any minute, and we need to be ready to answer accordingly.
We begin the day with prayer together at 8:00 AM, and we also have midday prayers at noon; if we are not physically in the same space, we make a note to pray individually at the very same time as other members of the group. Most of us have jobs outside of the neighborhood, so we usually spend the first half of the day at work and then return home for the rest of the day. We eat dinner together at about 5:30 PM, and welcome anyone who wishes to join us. At 8:00 PM, we put the young munchkins of The Family Tree to bed.
10. Is the Take Root Internship a paid internship?
No, the Take Root Internship is not a paid position, but your housing and feeding will be taken care of.
If you apply through programs such as Student.Go and Summer Communities of Service, however, you will be sponsored (interviewed, trained, sent, and paid) by the program/organization.
11. What do you do?
Whatever you want really. – There is an array of focus areas for you to be involved in. You commit to living life in the rhythm of create, pray, welcome. Within this rhythm, you take your passions and skills to contribute to life here in West Charlotte.
We run a youth group and plan lots of fun activities for them, such as weekly Bible study, Fall retreat trips, Summer service projects, field trips, etc. We also organize community-wide activities such as regular community meals, Eucharist worship services, Superbowl party, Christmas caroling and gifting, etc.
We always prioritize relationship-building, and we seek to be a place of genuine welcome, prayer, and creativity.
12. How do you build kinfolk relationships with one another?
With patience and love…lots of holy, unrelenting love. With prayer and encouragement along with forgiveness and care.
We strive to build kinfolk relationships by welcoming our neighbors into our home for meals, prayer, conversation, and play. We reach out to our neighbors in order to build relationships with them, listen to their stories, learn from their experiences, and enjoy one another’s company. We think of one another as members of a family and we look out for each other. Rather than thinking of ourselves as the ultimate solution providers or problem solvers, we recognize that we can learn a lot from the wisdom and opinions of our neighbors; we seek to mutually learn, grow, trust, and coexist with our neighbors.
Give me numbers. How many……?
– people do you serve: 80ish
– youth are in your youth group: 25-30
– how many people do you feed: 100
– People do you serve: It is difficult to put a number on this. We serve the kids in our youth group, their families, other families and friends in the neighborhood, and then other individuals who randomly show up at our doorstep. Sometimes, the people who knock on our door are people we have never seen, or people we have not seen in a long time. Lots of people pass through here all the time; familiar and unfamiliar.
– Youth are in your youth group: About 20-25 regulars; although there are others who do not come as often
– People do you feed: We plan for 40-50 for community meals but there are always more than that, and there are other individuals who stop by occasionally to ask for food.
give me some other interesting numbers…..
– knock on your door each day: 5-8