St. Philip Neri Circle of Friends – Mission-Based Community

Burmese Community GardenIn the fall of 2010, a group of St. Philip Neri members met to explore what it means to be a Mission-Based Community.  Following a program developed by Just Faith, the group read books, prayed together, and learned about the process and challenges of being part of MBC.  At the end of the sessions, in a night of impressive spiritual clarity, we committed to support and follow a family of political refugees for one year.  We formed the St. Philip Neri Circle of Friends.  Lutheran Social Services paired us with a family of seven from Myanmar (formerly Burma).  Our journey began on a dark night in February when the Burmese family arrived in their new apartment.  Since then, we have been amazed at how the Spirit works through our group and brings out special gifts.  Members have assisted the Burmese Family in so many ways.  The St. Philip Neri Circle of Friends expanded, adding several ESL teachers (English as a Second Language).  We have taught more than 15 adults and tutored children.  We sponsored a community garden at Jackson Square, which opened the door to other refugee gardens with the help of funding from a special grant. (  These Community Gardens provide sustenance for families in two different refugee communities in downtown Jacksonville.