Sunday, November 30, 2008

Benefits of Membership -- penultimate draft

What is Egeria?
Egeria is the name of the first and only Orthodox home and hospitality Exchange. The full name is Egeria Orthodox Home and Hospitality Exchange. The web address is egeriaexchange.com. A home exchange agency is also called a 'club'.

Where does the name 'Egeria' come from?
Egeria (eh-JEER-ee-ah) was a fourth century woman pilgrim who was probably from Spain. She travelled to Egypt and the Holy Land and sent detailed letters home about the liturgical practices she witnessed and the holy sites she visited. You can read this amazing document in a book called Egeria's Travels, translated by John Wilkinson.

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Benefits of Membership:

Cut your travel costs by hundreds or more per year: Little or no cost for travel accommodation means you can go for less, and stay longer!

The Orthodox connection: The unique Orthodox focus of our club means that wherever you go, you are among friends. Your host can provide information about nearby church services, local pilgrimage sites, and other points of interest to the Orthodox Christian traveller.

Better digs Why stay in one little hotel room? With Egeria you could have the use of a whole apartment or house, plus possible extras like a car, bikes, boats, season tickets -- you never know!

See the world With Egeria you can see at a glance all the amazing places where there are Orthodox Christians who want to share their home and culture with you. You may end up falling in love with a city or country you never even considered before.

Cook your own food Eating out while traveling is fun, but it can get very expensive. When you exchange homes you have the advantage of cooking for yourself or friends whenever you want. This is ideal for those with dietary restrictions or allergies, and for families with children.

Home, pet and garden care Rather than having to arrange for house sitters, you and your exchange partner will be able to look after each other's homes. You may also discuss the care of one another's pets and the watering of plants and gardens.

Work from home in another country If your work is portable, Egeria offers a unique opportunity: exchange homes with someone in a similar situation for an extended period, and immerse yourself in another culture while paying the bills!

Safe Haven If you have grown children going off to study out of state or abroad, you may be concerned about how hard it can be for young Orthodox Christians to maintain their faith under pressure from the wide world. Campus life can be extremely harsh, and even lonely. Use Egeria to find -- or offer-- alternative healthy, friendly and welcoming accommodation for our young Orthodox students!

Child Friendly As travel lovers and parents of young children, this one is close to our hearts. An Egeria home exchange is wonderful for families with kids. Not only does it help make travel affordable, but you will most likely have a lot more room to stretch out than by staying in a hotel. A kitchen means you can cook for your little monsters. Exchange with another family-with-kids, and you'll get child-sized beds, toys, and room to play the way kids need to.

Stay home, raise funds You don't need to go anywhere to use an Egeria membership! You can turn your guest room into a source of income for yourself, your parish or a favourite charity. Just create a B&B profile, which states that you are charging a fee for the room rather than doing an exchange. Other Egeria members will be glad to know that your little Orthodox B&B is there!

Clergy Breaks Just for the Man in Black. Whether you are a city priest with a hankering for wide open spaces, or an isolated mission priest who would love a holiday but worries about leaving his flock, Egeria can help. Trade homes and parish responsibilities for a change of scenery without the worry. Your parishioners might enjoy the break too!

Live like a local, not a tourist: When you stay in a hotel you are cut off from the true character of the place you are visiting, and you are unlikely to meet many locals outside of the tourist industry. With an Egeria home exchange you stay in a real neighborhood among real people and experience real local life. Experienced home exchangers love the authenticity of this type of travel and the learning opportunities it brings. They can get very creative with welcoming their visitors, too-- everything from tickets to a festival left on the kitchen table, to neighbors dropping by with a hot dinner!

Low price of membership: Most home exchange clubs charge between $75 and $500 annually. Others are free, but this can mean that members are not really committed to making an exchange or hosting anyone, or that the information is out of date. The Egeria membership fee is very affordable, and it ensures that your fellow members won't forget that they joined!

Guaranteed use: If you are unable to make use of your Egeria membership in the first year, we will extend it a second consecutive year FREE.

One membership, unlimited swaps: You are welcome to use your Egeria membership for as many stays as you wish during the year or two-year term.

Build Community Friendship among Orthodox Christians of different cultures and backgrounds is one of the greatest ways to build unity in the wider Church. It is one thing to imagine what people from a certain place are like; something very different to have friends in that place with names and faces, with whom one has shared meals, in whose parish one has worshipped. It is our sincere hope that in enabling such genuine friendships to form in a thousand little ways, Egeria will be a blessing to the Church and her people.

Help IOCC With every new membership or membership renewal, Egeria will donate 10% to IOCC -- International Orthodox Christian Charities. This excellent international, pan-Orthodox organization brings aid to suffering people all over the world. Help yourself to a great membership, and help those in need too!

2 comments:

biss said...

Oh! How do we sign up?

Jenny Hainsworth said...

Hi Biss!
Hurray! That was the reaction I was hoping for! :-) I should have explained -- these posts are me 'floating' the drafts I wrote for the website (as opposed to this blog)for your comments, for advance publicity, etc. Forgot to say that -- duh.

So to answer your question, you will sign up when our site goes 'live', which will be -- I'm afraid to say exactly, because it's not in my hands. My husband and bro-in-law are designing/ building it (respectively). It's going forward bit by bit. If you subscribe/ follow this blog (hint! Hint!) you'll be among the first to know when we are live. We will also be advertising and announcing the site far and wide, including on Ancient Faith Radio. I'm expecting it will be early in the new year -- fingers crossed!

Thanks for your interest, and keep checking in! :-)