Response to “Friendship House welcome Divinity students and individuals with disabilities”
As active participants in Reality Ministries and frequenters of the Friendship House, we were delighted to see these communities recognized by The Chronicle. To further understanding of these unique communities, we felt the need to expand on a few things from our own experiences.
On the night before the Duke-UNC men’s basketball game in Cameron Indoor Stadium, Coach K lauded the University because of its willingness to learn from students, and not simply its academic prestige. Similarly, the Friendship House thrives because members of the community recognize not only their ability to give, but also their need to receive.
At the Friendship House, each resident sets a goal (such as hospitality) at the beginning of the year, and the Divinity students and friend-residents work together throughout the year to reach that goal. But to characterize the relationship between Divinity student and friend-residents as simply that of a “teacher” and “student” would be to overlook the reciprocity of these relationships. The Friendship House seeks to be a community that learns and grows together, in a type of mutuality that we call friendship.
While spending time at Reality Ministries and in the Friendship Houses, we realized that we craved friendship that can be hard to find at Duke: friendship that is unconditional and sincere. Once we recognized our own need, we began to really know and learn from people like Alex Furiness, a Friendship House resident mentioned in the recent Chronicle article.
When we asked Alex what he’s taught his Divinity School roommates, he hesitated for a second—after all, he's quite humble—then responded, “Ahhh, yes. I'd probably say the nice things I do for them. I care for people.” And care for people he does. Alex shares contagious joy with everyone he meets, whether he is volunteering at the Divinity School Library, encouraging friends through letters and texts or wowing audiences with his flawless recitations of scenes from all eight Harry Potter movies—but he's not bragging.
Loren Roth, Trinity ’16
Lisa Touhey, Trinity ’16
Quinn Holmquist, Trinity ’16