Sharing God’s love through acts of service. Through Brethren Volunteer Service, BVS, people give their time and skills to help a world in need. Volunteers work at issues greater than themselves, recognizing that their efforts may not immediately solve deep-rooted problems. Yet everyone can be part of the on-going work to advocate for justice, work for peace, serve human need, and care for creation.
Mission & Distinctives
BVS is committed to working with projects and volunteers who advocate justice. Providing reliable legal services for immigrants, practicing and teaching restorative justice, supporting conscientious objectors, and speaking up on behalf of those who have been and continue to be systematically oppressed are just a few ways BVSers go about the work of justice.
Working for Peace
The Church of the Brethren has gifted us with a tradition of pacifism and peacemaking, and for BVS, this is a lively, active part of our faith. Volunteers lobby congress, practice mediation and teach nonviolent conflict transformation. Many of our projects are in places where war and violence have torn communities apart: Northern Ireland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Hiroshima, Japan, Sudan. BVSers work with organizations committed to rebuilding relationship and making peace.
Serving Human Need
On any given day, BVS volunteers can be found providing hospitality for families of people in prison, serving in local soup kitchens and homeless shelters, building houses for those without shelter, and walking in solidarity with sisters and brothersliving with mental illness. Paul reminds us over and over again in his letters to the early churches that we are all members of one body. Serving one another in our most basic needs for food and shelter and companionship is one way that we discover our interconnectedness.
Caring for Creation
Just as our relationships with one another call us to work for justice and peace, so too does our relationship with the earth call us into active service. During orientation, volunteers learn to live lightly on the earth, consuming less and re-using more. Volunteers serve across the world with organizations dedicated to reducing pollution, fighting global warming, introducing responsible agricultural practices, planting trees, and reducing fuel consumption.Whether it is living simply and using our portion of the earth’s resources responsibly or working with people committed to changing the ways we relate to the earth, BVS takes caring for creation seriously.
Rolling. Keep in mind, the process takes time; we recommend submitting the application three to four months before the orientation you wish to participate in begins.
1-3 years. Volunteers start after their orientation.
Hundreds, domestic and international
Funding & Benefits
Stipend: A monthly allowance of $100-$150.
Fundraising: No requirement.
Loan Forbearance: Yes, for most institutions.
Housing: Provided. Living situations are arranged by the projects and thus vary according to their needs and resources. Living situations include community living with other volunteers, in an apartment (sometimes shared), with a family, on project site, etc.
Intentional living community: Usually. The BVS Covenant details the expected attitude and behavior of volunteers while serving under BVS.
Travel and Transportation: Provided to and from project.
Health Insurance: Limited.
Other benefits: Life insurance, annual retreat.
- Students must be high school graduates, although will be more likely to get a placement the older they are.
- Married couples should be married for at least one year before they serve together.
- Agree to the BVW volunteer covenant, which can be found here.
- To serve internationally you must be at least 21 years old, and a college graduate (Bachelor’s degree) or have equivalent life experience. Placements are approved by staff responsible for international projects who are informed of your interest after your application is accepted. Applicants interested in international assignments should be in phone contact with the BVS staff. You will also be contacted by a regional international representative regarding information on these projects (Europe, Japan, Latin America and Africa). International assignments are based on skills, project needs and availability, and may not be determined on a first come, first serve basis.
It’s a Christian mission, but it seeks to follow Christ through service and is welcome to all who care to serve. Can a non-believer feel welcome and accepted? Yes