Inspiring, Connecting and Creating
The Inhabit Conference
It is two weeks since the MSA team participated in Inhabit 2015, but our minds are still buzzing with the stimulating conversations and challenging presentations that occurred. We all feel at home there, like a big family reunion, a gathering of old friends and the making of new ones. It enriched our faith and challenged us to consider new possibilities for life and faith. Tom and I were privileged to give the opening welcome and prayer for the conference and also facilitated smart labs.
Part of what I love about the Inhabit Conference is the many ways it stirs our creativity and imagination. Alexie Torres-Fleming, executive director of Access Strategies Fund, and an activist, community organizer, advocate and urban planner from the South Bronx, NY encouraged us to fearlessly speak truth to power by planning parties and writing poetry that create vision and encourage justice.
Andy Wade participated in an amazing liturgy prepared by Rebecca Joy Sumner that re-imagined the prayer of Saint Francis not in lofty words with no clear way to hit the ground, but with gritty reality. Participants incorporated specifics of their local neighborhoods including street names, history, and faces, making St. Francis’ prayer deeply personal. The prayer is available here with a downloadable worksheet of a dare issued by Pastor Sumner and Everett Christian Church. Join the dare by personalizing this prayer for your neighborhood and collaborating locally for the global coming of love, pardon, faith, hope, light, and joy!
MSA & Godspace Blogs
We all need to learn from these creative people who help us dream God’s dreams for renewal and reconciliation and bring them into reality. It is this type of creativity we hope to stir up through our blogs over the coming months. At Godspace we begin a new series Let’s Get Creative with Our Prayers. Creativity and imagination help us focus our prayer energy, and free us from the limits of prayer forms that have become rote and stale. It gives us permission to venture into the unknown realm of God’s imaginative, creative power. I see that in Andy Wade’s inspiring post “Top Ten Earth Day in the Neighborhood Ideas” (good ideas for any time of the year!)
Tiny House Enthusiasts
Forrest Inslee facilitated a small group discussion at Inhabit with tiny house enthusiasts that will provide a focus for ongoing discussions about alternative housing and simplicity. We hope to construct a tiny house model by summer 2016 which could provide an example of inexpensive housing for young people and those at the margins. Our next gathering is June 29th at the Mustard Seed House. If you are interested in participating, please contact us.
Celtic Prayer Retreat
Sean and Julie Hall of February Birds, who will lead worship at our 24th annual Celtic retreat, provided some of the music for Inhabit. Through their music they create an inspiring vision of faith, art and social justice. It made me realize what a treat we are in for in August. This year’s theme is “Shalom and the Reconciliation of God”.
Don’t forget to sign up; the early bird special is available until the end of May.
A New Business
Katie Metzger, MSA’s administrative assistant who also works as Seattle School’s event planner, coordinated the Inhabit conference. At the same time she is juggling the start-up of a fascinating new ethical clothing business called Same Thread. Same Thread helps to empower women who are vulnerable to the sex industry in Thailand by providing economic opportunity while expanding fair trade choices for consumers. For more information visit samethread.com or consider joining their kickstarter campaign.
New Learning Opportunities
The Mustard Seed E-School continues to expand. We have just added two new courses in a four-part series, Creating the Common Good.
- Course one explores economic inequality and taking our common humanity seriously and is led by Bishop Julio Murray, Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Panama.
- Course two looks at economic inequality and Christian responsibility and is led by Rachel Held Evans.
These classes are enriching and inspiring, and we hope that you will join our growing learning community.
There are other opportunities to join our learning community too. Spirituality of Gardening is on the move. Join me
- in Denver Colorado with Kathy Escobar at the Refuge, May 30th
- in Calgary, Alberta with Faithful Companions of Jesus Sisters, June 13th
- in Surrey, British Columbia with A Rocha, Canada, September 19th
At Mustard Seed House
Michael, Kristin, and their kids, Mirella and Caedmon, who have lived in our upstairs apartment for two years are in the midst of moving. Michael has been called to serve as Priest-in-Charge at St. John the Baptist in West Seattle. Their contribution both to our community and to MSA has been invaluable and they will be greatly missed. Forrest Inslee and his daughter Kayra will move into the apartment at the beginning of August.
Bryan Wilson, who has occupied the small one bedroom basement apartment for the last few months, is also leaving to return to North Carolina.
If you are interested in joining a small intentional community in Seattle please contact us.
Appreciating Your Participation
We appreciate your prayers and support as we move forward into the exciting opportunities God continues to open for us.