SUPPORT > ORCHARD COMMUNITIES
BUILDING ON AN OLD FOUNDATION
Greenville Seminary Partnership with Orchard Communities
For several years Greenville Seminary has been blessed by a partnership with Orchard Communities of Houston, Texas. Proceeds from the community have been a substantial source of support for our Capital Funds Campaign. Funds donated by Orchard Communities have also been used to develop Greenville Seminary's Masters of Ministry for Deacons (M.M.D.) degree program. Below an article about our partnership.
The apostle James admonished the church to be "doers of the word, and not hearers only," evidencing pure and undefiled religion by visiting orphans and widows in their affliction and keeping oneself unstained from the world. Unfortunately many today ahave a truncated and unbiblical notion of holiness that is passive and neglectful of God's commands to love our neighbor. Though our best efforts are mixed with much weakness and imperfection, faithfulness in serving our neighbor is the evidence of a true and lively faith, by which we manifest our thankfulness, strengthen our assurance, edify the brethren, adorn the profession of the gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify God.
Seeking in a small way to promote such biblical holiness, Orchard Communities was founded in 2006 by Stephan Fairfield to provide quality affordable homes and care to low-income seniors and their caregivers in Houston and Greenville. Fairfield, who became an Old School Presbyterian through Dr. Pipa's teaching at Covenant PCA in Houston, seeks to achieve this mission by developing amenity-rich senior independent living communities and by helping elders and deacons build more effective diaconal skills in local congregations.
The first senior living community of 195 residences was completed in Houston in 2009, and a second was completed in 2011. Rents are on a sliding scale from $279 to $638. Orchard uses design to complement the neighborhoods surrounding its communities. Amenities include a library, salon, accessible pool, coffee bar, fitness center, arts and crafts studio, raised vegetable gardens, trellised picnic patio with gas grill and fireplace, limited access gates, and a community room and kitchen for parties and gatherings. Free scheduled transportation is provided to an array of retail and health care services. The events calendar includes Bible studies, wellness programs, fitness classes, water aerobics, potluck dinners, holiday parties, bunko, bingo, bridge, health screenings, financial planning assistance, arts and crafts classes, and organized outings.
Individual residences feature private porches, ceiling fans, large closets, built-in desks with free high-speed Internet, individually controlled A/C and heating, Energy Star appliances, laundry centers, and bookshelves. Some residences include mobility and hearing disability features.
In Greenville, Orchard is helping the seminary to be salt and light through both its community presence and teaching. Orchard has provided significant financial support to help the seminary expand its teaching capacity in a way that also serves as a catalyst for renewal of the historic Taylors mill community. Orchard's ongoing support will help the seminary develop curriculum, publications and online resources that help churches and their members to be effective caregivers.