The Denver Gathering
Overall Reflections on the Meeting
Since the Scotts and the Gilles’s instigated the Springboard Gathering in Denver a week ago, I thought it would be good to share my thoughts and reflections on the event. I would encourage any of those attending to do the same.
It was a wonderful event, and it exceeded my fondest hopes for what might occur. The Denver team did a superb job of coordination, facilitation and hosting. I doubt we could have held it any other place. I am extremely grateful for everyone who enabled a flawlessly hosted event.
Each and every participant was a joy to behold and I rejoice in their decision to stand in a self-understanding of being the Order all of these years. I particularly want to note the contribution of Clare Whitney. Her passion for getting us all to share our engagement and learning from our years in dispersion was a real highlight and led us to see what a valuable asset this is for our future.
We shared stories of our engagement and learning of the last years working in our various configurations of dispersion. We sang songs from our past and talked about the need for writing and singing new songs. We enjoyed wonderful spirit exercises led by Pat Webb and David McCleskey
from their beautiful workbook on The Other World (soon to be available for purchase by all). The deeps were touched again and again. Tears and personal journeys were shared with amazing intimacy. Our spirits were profoundly cared for and our sense of mission quickened with helpful images of the journey to date (see George Walters talk on the 30-30-30 year journey we have been on together) and the idea and images of the “Guild” as our mission to come.
Friday was spent in conversation and context of our individual work and vocational engagement. I did a spin on “The People of the Seven C’s” which included listening to an 18-minute segment of a JWM talk done in 1960 on the “New Middle Ages”. (David Dunn is working on getting this upgraded so you might listen to it) and this was followed by George Walters building on the board image and creating the story of our life together (with JWM), our life as the Diaspora, and the next 30 years of new corporate mission.
Saturday began with a sense of excitement in the air. At least four people had woken up around 4am and had done brooding and model building on their own. The room had small groups clustered around whiteboards, flipcharts and a blackboard talking and sharing ideas as we all shared in a wonderful breakfast hosted and cooked by the Denver team. By the afternoon it was clear we needed to work in smaller configurations and four groups were formed. 1. Our journey as the Diaspora, 2. The Guild, 3. The Internet Enablement and 4. The Emergent Vision. Each group saw their task in light of the common future we all sensed we were creating. No nostalgia ever crept into any of our discussions although there were some funny stories like Don Elliott recalling helping to finance the purchase of large quantities of yellow rice for Majuro only to discover they only eat white rice thanks to years of Japanese occupation!
Sunday we spent additional time in our task forces, then held a plenary. Each team captured an exciting component of our future and you can find that in the task force reports that are being put up. We talked about how to finish the work begun and what the next steps need to be and who would be responsible for what. We suggested the next gathering would be in July or early August and that we would explore the possibility of this being at the Patterson’s Abby North or perhaps back in Denver. We launched the Guild experiment with a group taking responsibility for an Education Guild and there may be others begun as well in the next few months.
Although we had a limited time to do a reflection on the event, what we did do was profound! People shared from the depths of their hearts. Perhaps none more moving than Byrne Johnson’s witness that he had driven nearly 2,000 miles to say a last goodbye to those he loved so much. And now he had a new life on his hands! He said it was like an alcoholic being on the wagon for almost 30 years, and one taste he was forever off the wagon again! After the final song, Gordon Harper sent us forth with one of the most moving readings any of us had ever heard; the last several verses of Ulysses. (also posted) It was as if it had been written only for us.
For me personally I would point to what I feel are the three major accomplishments.
1. An affirmation and absolution on our time as the Diaspora. God’s great gift of taking the structure of the OE out of being and forcing us to learn how to be the Order, people of the Spirit on our own.
2. A significant breakthrough in the understanding of what we were trying to say was the “Third Campaign” in 1977 that we would be about in our future, The Global Servant Force. The Guild seems to be the key component to our emergent mission of Caring for Those Who Care. (See Guild Taskforce report)
3. A deep an abiding realization that our decision to be the Order transcends time and structures. The Order is God’s and there is a new form of that emerging. We have a role to play in that formation and an obligation to bring the new para-vocated people into an emergent covenant.
For me, “Now is indeed the Time and We are the People”.
George Walters On the Diaspora
Vision Task Force Report
Web Community Task Force Report
Poetry From the Event
Go to the Abbey North Event: AbbeyNGathering
- 25 Oct 2007