Previous Gatherings

Summer 2014: Sabbath Economics and Watershed Discipleship

The interlocking crises of deepening climate change, resource exhaustion, and social disparity are stalking our history.  To truly face these crises is to commit ourselves, as Christians and citizens, to radical and urgent changes that are both profoundly political and personal.  The “Transition Movement” is shorthand for perceptions and practices that center on ecological and economic resiliency, restoration, and renewal.  What might a Transition Church look like in the coming decade? What does Christian discipleship have to do with  our local watershed, our farms and gardens, and the ecosystems on which all life depends? Using the witness of the biblical writers as our guide, this course considered these questions over the span of five days.

The course combined classroom learning, worship, eating together, and hands-on learning. Morning sessions will were led by renowned biblical scholar and activist Ched Myers, who focused on “watershed discipleship” as a guiding metaphor and theological frame of reference.  Afternoons featured outdoor experiential education in local food gardens. Each day was bookended with a short service of Psalms, music, and silent prayer (Lauds and Vespers) as a contemplative frame to begin and end days together.

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Summer 2013: Spirituality of Food, Field, and Table

How can we live at home in the world? Most of us have a roof over our heads, but we don’t often think of “home” in terms of our watersheds, fields, and communities. How can we learn to dwell within our local ecosystems in a way that sustains, rather than desecrates, God’s abundant creation? How do we become native to a place so that we can move outward from a center of ecological, emotional, and spiritual rootedness?

Whether you are a faith leader or a person who simply wants to go deeper into these issues in your own life, we invite you to join us for The Art of Homecoming, an immersion course from June 16-20.

The skills required to come home require the focus of the whole person—mind, body, and spirit—and it is your whole person who will benefit during this retreat. Following the 1,500 year old Christian monastic patterns of prayer, work, and study, we will follow a daily rhythm that combines spiritual disciplines and ecological practices, a rhythm that can sustain us for the long haul.

The course will take place on the campus of Warren Wilson College, in the lovely Blue Ridge mountains of western North Carolina. Mornings will feature experiential learning in the campus garden and surrounding area, with classes on biointensive gardening, permaculture, creating a community garden, and wild foods foraging. Afternoons will consist of lectures and discussion, engaging in both theological and scriptural reflection on the practices of field and table. After dinner a brief Vespers service of Psalms will conclude the day. Evenings are free to rest, read, or explore nearby Asheville.

For anyone interested in the intersection of Christian spirituality, ecological restoration, and redemptive agriculture, then this course is for you.

>> See more about the retreat.