Radical Living was birthed out of a newlywed couple’s longing to be an active participant in the living body of Jesus Christ (i.e. the Church). In 2006 Jason and Vonetta decided to open their brownstone home to other followers of Jesus. Vonetta christened the community Radical Living. “Radical” is a word that means “relating to the root or origin”. The couple sought to return to primitive Christianity and to share their lives with others in a spirit of love and service. By late summer 2007 their brownstone was filled with Christ-followers, and soon thereafter two other houses on the block were converted to community houses. As of 2011, there are many households connected to Radical Living and about two dozen members living in community.
OUR NEIGHBORHOOD (Then & Now)
Bedford-Stuyvesant is a thriving neighborhood in the heart of Brooklyn. It is currently in the midst of a renaissance and many local, and not-so local, artists and artisans have set up shop here. It is predominantly African American, although there are also many West Indians, Hasidic Jews, hipsters, immigrants, and native born who live here. To keep up to date with neighborhood happenings, check out the Bed-Stuy Blog.
Vonetta: I’m originally from Guyana in South America, but have lived mostly in Brooklyn, NY since I was 12 years old. I studied Theatre and Business Management at Stonybrook University. In June 2007, I married my dynamo husband, Jason, and in August of that year we formed this community. I recently earned my MS in Environmental Systems Management at the Pratt Institute. I am active working with neighborhood churches to make them more environmentally sustainable and to reduce their energy costs.
Jason: I was raised primarily in southern Wisconsin, spent a decade (from the age of 17 to 27 years old) meandering cities, cultures and continents, and finally settled in the County of Kings (i.e. Brooklyn!) where Jesus breathed on me, and even blessed me with Vonetta, my amazing wife. We have two awesome offspring: daughter Chloe Zipporah and son Elgin Melchizidek! My current vocation is at The Bowery Mission.
Melinda: Born in Seoul, raised in Cincinnati, and currently growing in Brooklyn. I’m a social worker (LMSW) working and volunteering in two of my main interest areas: immigration and adoption. I recently married my brilliant partner, Peter, and we live with a pretty cat, Nelly, on the top floor of a brownstone. I’m enriched by a vibrant church community, dear friends, and an extraordinary family (including two fantastic nieces). I’ve been part of Rad Living since fall of 2007. Among other things, it has been a blessing and a blast.
Alissa is a founding member of Radical Living and has lived in the Brooklyn-based community since 2007. She is bi-vocational, splitting her time between two non-profit companies. During the day she works as the Government and Education Programs Associate for Theatre Communications Group, completing federal level advocacy for the performing arts sector and professional development opportunities for theatre professionals. In the evenings she is the Co-founder and Vice President of Nomi Network, a non-profit organization that leverages the fashion industry to fight human trafficking in South East Asia through product design and distribution. In her free time she loves to paint, people watch, play bocce ball and discover new music.
Greg: I’m excited about my new marriage with Jolene, Christ’s grassroots and cross-cultural faith communities, finally finishing my master’s degree, and teaching in a middle school dual-language program. I enjoy food, sleep, nature, people and solitude, balance, travel, and growth-building conflict. I’m originally from Gallup, NM. I studied Econ and Psych in NC and Latin America, and then worked in grassroots development in rural Bulgaria with the Peace Corps, all before moving to NYC and jumping into Radical Living in 2007. Praise God!
Erik: My name is Erik and I am a recent grad from Michigan State University. I am a civil engineer and work mainly with bridge inspection in NYC, this year we are inspecting the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. I spent the summer of 2009 as a short-term missionary in Nicaragua working with clean water engineering. I love working out, reading, and sharing God’s love in all sorts of ways.
More bios to come…