Jubilee House is a unique MVS unit in many ways. Started by young people from Prairie Street Mennonite Church in 2007, the Elkhart unit is unusual in that it has the Jubilee Diaspora: 10-15 people and their partners who came to serve at Jubilee and have stayed in the nearby community. MVSers at Jubilee House enjoy the benefit of a community within the house that is enriched by its connections with both supporting churches and the network of former MVSers and their friends. The house is located in a racially and economically diverse neighborhood where black, Latino, and white people are represented roughly in thirds.
Elkhart is a city of about 50,000 people whose economy relies heavily on manufacturing RVs, mobile homes, and other consumer products. It is connected to Goshen via the Maple-Heart bike trail, a 10-mile path that begins near Jubilee House and which can connect you to the Farmers' Market, First Fridays, and Goshen College. Elkhart is also about 40 minutes from Notre Dame University and the South Shore train to Chicago. The Inter-Urban Trolley system is a limited but reliable public bus that travels around Elkhart, to Goshen and to South Bend.
Prairie Street Mennonite Church, next door to Jubilee House, is one of two supporting congregations. The second is Fellowship of Hope Mennonite Church, which is about a mile away. Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary nearby lends itself to church congregations that are prepared to wrestle with tough questions, whether they be scriptural, political, or community related. The congregations tend to be open and welcoming to all kinds of people at all stages on their faith journeys.
Prairie Street Church is home to many prominent Mennonite scholars and authors and has a strong intellectual background. They are also dedicated to serving the local Latino community through a simultaneous translation program that is in the works and an ESL program that is hosted at the church six months out of the year.
Fellowship of Hope began as an intentional community in the 1970s, and by the late 1980s was a thriving community with a common purse and about 200 members living communally in Eklhart’s South Central neighborhood. The congregation is no longer an intentional community, and usually 20-30 people gather for Sunday worship. However, the passion and idealism that helped create the Fellowship remain in the generous spirit and wisdom of this unique congregation.
Due to the racial, economic, and theological diversity found in Elkhart, a volunteer in this unit should be open-minded and have a heart for building community and connections across many differences. Examples of agencies that Elkhart MVSers have worked for include Church Community Services, Rise Up Farms, Center for Community Justice, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Pedal Power Bike Shop, and Elkhart Local Food Alliance.