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Lay Intentional Community

Living in Lay Intentional Community at JST

JST offers lay students the opportunity to live in lay intentional community. This is a living community of lay students whose studies and formation are enriched through companionship, mutual support, prayer and a shared communal life.  Community members come together at least once a week for a shared meal, prayer, and reflection, and participate in a retreat with each other once each semester. Each community member resides in her/his own bedroom and shares the kitchen and common areas along with household responsibilities. Lay students who would like to live in lay intentional community are required to complete an application and participate in an interview process with the JST Assistant Dean of Students.  In the interview, the Assistant Dean will describe any further steps in the application process.

To learn more about lay intentional community at JST, please see below, “Expectations for Living in JST Lay Intentional Community.”  If you wish to apply for this opportunity, please reflect on the following questions, and prepare written responses.   If possible, please give examples from previous experience of communal living.  We suggest a one-paragraph response to each question:

  • Describe previous experience you have had of living in an intentional community.   Name one thing you most enjoyed and appreciated, as well as one challenging dimension of this.  Describe what you learned from your experience.  If you do not have previous experience of living in intentional community, describe any relevant experience of living with others in a communal setting.
  • How would you define intentional community?  What do you consider to be the essential elements of intentional community?
  • Why do you desire to live in an intentional community? What expectations do you have about this type of living experience?
  • What would you contribute to an intentional community?
  • What would be potential challenges faced in intentional communities and how would you address these if you were a member of a community facing such challenges? 

Application Process:

1) Submit your answers to the above questions as an e-mail attachment to Paul Kircher, Assistant Dean of Students, at and copy Mary Beth Lamb, Senior Administrative Assistant, at

2) Upon receipt of your written application, the Assistant Dean of Students will schedule a phone interview.

3) At the conclusion of the interview process, the Assistant Dean of Students will inform you whether you have been selected for lay intentional community.


Expectations for living in JST Intentional Lay Community*

  • Community members will participate in a weekly "community night."  This includes dinner followed by an activity once a week.
  • Community members will have a general openness to communal prayer.
  • Community members will participate in a community retreat once per semester.
  • Community members will be intentional about checking in with each other.  The goal of this is to bring about a true spirit of community - to be more than housemates.
  • Community members will respect common and private spaces within the community house.
  • Community members will take part in household chores.
  • Community members will be open to sharing household food and supplies.
  • Community members will be open to being “conscious consumers” in terms of purchasing food and other household supplies, whenever possible. (e.g. organic/local/fair trade foods)
  • Community members will be open to hosting a few social gatherings per year for the school community (Labor Day Party and Halloween Party, for example).
  • Should conflict arise, community members will address each other in a respectful manner.  They will have an openness to allowing a member of the school administration (Assistant Dean of Students or designee of the Assistant Dean) to serve as a mediator.
  • Community members will be hospitable - they will embody a welcoming spirit to all visitors.
  • Community members will be open to a simple lifestyle.
  • Community members will exhibit mature communication with each other. 

*Each year communities will review and revise these expectations as needed.  Each community will formulate its own mission statement and come to consensus on expectations for community life.

Jean Donovoan, or JDC, is JST's lay intentional community in Berkeley. Learn more about JDC here.