Journey Into Newness

Tom and Christine SineTom and I are currently in Australia. This last weekend we celebrated my mother’s 90th birthday. It was a wonderful time of remembering, sharing and rejoicing. Like all such celebrations it was tinged with sadness, however. New signs of aging, new areas of diminished capacity, remind me of how important it is to celebrate the specialness of the new memories this trip has given birth to.

Each step of our journey, each moment of our lives, is pregnant with newness waiting to emerge. Here at MSA we are very aware of the many new things God is doing in our midst and of how important it is to celebrate these.

Celebrate the Newness at the Mustard Seed Village

2013 Celtic Prayer RetreatThe theme for this year’s Celtic retreat on August 10th is Celebrate the Newness, an exciting exploration led by Ryan Marsh and the team at Church of the Beloved. Ryan comments:

“New” is a high value in our culture.  Everything must be new – the newest fashion, the newest technology, even the newest theology… I know what kind of “new” is being sold to me, but is there anything new about me? About you, about us?  What is new that is of substance? Real newness… or do we need a new “New”? Might God think about newness differently than we do?

This year’s retreat will explore newness from God’s perspective. To assist us, we will journey with Brendan the Navigator, 6th century Irish monk, who with 14 companions set off from Ireland via the monastery at Iona, Scotland, to find new lands. Brendan and his companions are said to have traveled through the Faroes to Iceland and on to Greenland and Newfoundland. Their journey was at heart a spiritual pilgrimage to explore new insights in the scriptures and prayer.

We will embrace many aspects of newness, from fresh liturgies and songs composed by the Church of the Beloved team to a new and exciting children’s program led by Kendra Long. Afternoon activities include boat making for the kids, walking the prayer trails and labyrinth, and painting a mural designed by Erica Applewhite Nordfors.

We will also celebrate the new structure that is taking shape at the Mustard Seed Village. Two weeks ago we raised the beams for the roof. We hope to complete it by August 10th. But we still need your help to make it happen. Please consider accepting Graham Kerr’s invitation to donate shares for this structure. Our dream of a facility that provides venues for new educational programs on sustainable living and sustainable faith is exciting. The potential resources that will flow out of these programs will benefit many. Join us in making this dream a reality.

Celebrating the Newness on the Web

Godspace just celebrated its 1 millionth visitor. Its growing popularity for creative prayers, liturgies, and out-of-the-ordinary resources for spiritual formation and worship encourage us to expand its capability and invite new voices to contribute. The requests for retreat and online spiritual formation processes related to Return to Our Senses, nudge us to develop an even broader array of offerings to meet this demand. Check out the latest contributions to the series Creating Sacred Space, and recent contributions to our weekly Prayers for the Journey.

companion plantsThere are exciting new contributions to the MSA blog too. Andy Wade constantly challenges me with his thought-provoking posts like Why Yesterday’s Expectations are Ruining Today’s Future, and Companions in the Neighborhood.

Cindy Todd also challenges me with the ongoing development of Snohomish Soap Company. Her innovative entrepreneurial model stirs attention wherever she speaks, from this article in the Everett Times, to a class on social entrepreneurship at N.W. University. We are delighted that her beautiful garden soap is now available through the MSA store. Proceeds go to help support the work of MSA.

Celebrating New and Renewed Connections

A couple of weeks ago I visited the Cheasty Greenspace in Seattle with Mary De Jong. Mary’s passion for the transformation this urban forest, once a place where drug dealers and prostitutes hung out, into a beautiful green space is inspirational. Her desire to make its natural beauty available to youth who rarely interact with nature brought tears to my eyes. In a couple of months we hope to offer a Wild Seattle Tour, an urban counterpart to the Wild Camano Tour we hosted in May. One of the main ways that people connect to God is through nature, and we are excited by the new opportunities emerging for MSA to help people interact not just with God’s creation but with the God who created it.

A few weeks ago Tom conducted a creativity process in Port Townsend, and will facilitate a similar process this weekend with Murumbeena Baptist Church in Melbourne. Helping church and mission communities make sense of how the world is changing, and how we as God’s people need to change to be more effective in the future, is at the heart of MSA’s mission. Tom’s question, “What are your ideas for making a difference in your community 2013-2018?”, challenges all of us to create new ways to reach out within all of our communities.

Pray for Us

  • Pray for the Mustard Seed team as we work to inspire, connect and create new possibilities for the future.
  • Pray for our writing projects – the Lenten guide, a resource for faith- based community gardens, Tom Sine’s book on social entrepreneurship, and the ongoing work on the MSA and Godspace blogs.
  • Pray for the completion of our first building and ongoing development of the Mustard Seed Village. This exciting venture is so strategic to the ongoing development of MSA.
  • Pray for the Celtic retreat, the Wild Seattle tour, and other events still in the planning stages for the rest of this year and for 2014.
  • Pray for the MSA team as we reshape the Godspace and MSA websites to provide new resources for sustainable life and sustainable faith.

Thank you for your ongoing support and encouragement for all we do at Mustard Seed Associates. We are privileged to provide mentoring, support, and creative resources for many around the world, and this would not be possible without your partnership

God bless,
Christine Sine
Executive Director
Mustard Seed Associates