Ayava House at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary is an Intentional Community for young adults, with the following guiding principles:
- Vocational discernment
- Service to the community
- Theological reflection
- Engagement in spiritual practices
- Simple living
Many young adults have grown up with service learning as an integral part of their high school and undergraduate education, as well as their church experience through short-term mission trips. The faith and values of these young adults have been shaped by these service learning experiences and they continue to value service as an integral part of their adult lives. Young adults are making decisions about careers and discerning participation in faith communities based on opportunities for continuing involvement in service. Institutions of theological education like Austin Seminary are uniquely equipped with the resources to provide service opportunities, theological reflection on those experiences, a sense of intentional community, and vocational discernment to integrate values and faith into the lives and careers of these young adults.
Many young adults who participate in such year-long service learning experiences (PCUSA Young Adult Volunteers, AmeriCorp, Peace Corp, CityYear) choose to enter the professional ministry, work for non-profit agencies, or go into other service-oriented professions. Austin Seminary recognizes the value of preparing these individuals by providing them with tools of discernment and theological reflection, as well as helping them to establish networks of colleagues in ministry and service that will nurture them for a lifetime.
Austin Seminary desires to offer its resources as an institution of theological education to a broader audience, sharing the experience of the seminary community with those who may never formally enter a seminary degree program but who will be leaders in their faith traditions and their communities of residence nevertheless. For this reason, Austin Seminary is dedicating a portion of its resources to the establishment of Ayava House.