Studying Justice While Living at Flats

Erin O’Neill has been living in Flatlanders since the fall of 2016. We asked Erin some questions about her experience here.

What brought you to Winnipeg?
I came to Winnipeg to do the School of Justice.

Why did you decide to live at Flatlanders Inn while doing the School of Justice?
There are a couple of reasons. The mission and values of Flatlanders resonated with me, and I was interested in being part of intentional community and better understanding what that really looks like in day-to-day life. Also, being new to Winnipeg, I thought it would be a great way to meet and befriend people.

What’s the best thing about living at Flatlanders Inn?Erin
More than anything else, I appreciate the community that we have and the giving of ourselves to each other. We’re such a diverse group of people in terms of age, backgrounds, interests, etc., and it’s life-giving to be a part if this community where we each contribute something unique.

What are some of the challenges of living at Flatlanders Inn?
With about twenty people living together, it goes without saying that we don’t all have the same  approaches or habits with regards to things like housekeeping, food consumption and privacy. This leads to occasional frustrating situations and it can be a challenge to know how best to deal with them.

Your home, school, and church are all in the same building. Do you ever leave the building?
Yes, I make a point of it. I’ve been enjoying discovering the city and I work outside the building as well. These things provide a nice change of environment.

What are some of the things that you have learned from being here, and what do you think you will take away from your time at Flatlanders and SOJ?
My experience at Flatlanders and at SoJ is allowing me to better understand how God calls us to be  relational beings.  In the context of social justice, this means, among other things, looking past the issue and at the individual. Now, when I think of things such as homelessness and addiction, I think of friends I’ve made here who have, or are, facing these situations.
I would also say that my perception of God, and consequently my relationship with Him, is changing in a positive way. There are certain aspects of God’s character and his relation with humankind that He is revealing to me over and over again. I feel that the more I understand and – most importantly-believe these things about God’s character, the more I can develop a deeper and more meaningful relationship with Him.


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