By: Katie Caulfield, Contributing Writer
The Vista House is located just over a mile off campus in Travelers Rest on the Swamp Rabbit Trail. Each year five to seven Furman students live there. The students live in a five- bedroom home on 8.5 acres.
Michaela Barnett, senior, says that she met the “coolest, most intentional, thoughtful, engaged people at the Vista House” when she lived there. “The [North Village] apartments can be very isolating, while at the Vista House I automatically had nine other people I could hangoutwith,spendtimewith, or have my own space, but there was always something to do and so I couldn’t draw into myself.”
Daily life at the House includes spending time praying every day, though the term “prayer” is used very generally as a time to be a community, and is based on a different theme each week, senior and current Vista House resident, Hayden Couvillion said.
The Vista House is a place where students can live a life that is representative of their Christian beliefs, including prayer, hospitality, and service. Couvillion said that, in living at the House, you share space with people who “you thoroughly enjoy being with, and people who have diverse values and beliefs, but at the same time generally have a similar theme to their beliefs.”
While living at the Vista House, students are able to explore their faith in a unique and sacred space with those who have similar desires.
“People challenge each other but it is also very caring; it is the very epitome of a community,” Couvillon said.
His favorite part of the Vista House is the community. “Communities by their definition tend to be exclusionary and have boundaries, and the house tries to get away from that by having a community of people that live there that are involved in and intentional life with one another, but also are open to whatever other manifestations of community might originate,” said Couvillon.
The Mere Christianity Forum began in 2000 when some Furman students wanted to have an on-campus group centered around discussion on theology, philosophy, and culture from different religious backgrounds. In 2002, it became an official on-campus organization and participating students found lecturers to begin forums. They also held meetings led by various Furman professors to discuss theology and philosophy.
The Vista House was opened in 2003 to continue the life of hospitality, community, and prayer begun years earlier and to serve the members as both a place of rest and discussion.
The Vista House is always hosting events. On Wednesdays,there are forum discussions that teach have different themes. These discussions are hosted by a professor or member of the community and are located on campus in the Haynsworth Room of Furman Hall.
On Thursdays, there is a community meal with a guest speaker hosted by the Mere Christianity Forum. The meal is eaten at the Vista House and is for house guests and invited guests.
On Sundays at 6:30 p.m., $4 dinners are held at the Vista House and open to the whole Furman community. One major upcoming event is the Study Day Brunch Dec. 10 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., to be held at the Vista House.
The Vista House is located at 751 Old Buncombe Rd, Traveler’s Rest, SC. More information can be found at their website at http://www.mcfinc.org/ vistahouse.