A report from the 2007 Annual Gathering
by Mardi Tindal, president
On May 10th to 13th, about 20 of us from centres and movements across North America gathered at Kirkridge Retreat and Study Center in Bangor Pennsylvania. “Rooted in Christ and close to the earth,” a phrase from Kirkridge’s own mission statement, describes our gathering and our longing as individuals and centres in this diverse network known as Oikosnet North America (ONA).
With the theme of Common Grounds for Peace, we explored various aspects of peace-making.
For many of us it was an opportunity to find a bit of personal peace away from the daily demands of our own retreat centres (it’s difficult to retreat in one’s own place of work!). We also came to peace with the discovery that our challenges and dreams are shared with others in this network; peace is found in knowing that we are not alone in our vision and struggle. And good learning about how to make peace with God’s green earth and with those with whom we find ourselves in conflict, provided skills with which we’ve returned to our home centres and related work. Fletcher Harper of Green Faith gave us good insight into how we can move more deeply into care of the earth at our centres. (Related trips to Genesis Farms and Columcille were also enjoyable excursions by which to be rooted in Christ, close to the earth.)
We long to support and complement one another’s work, so explored, for example, how Janet Chisholm’s excellent leadership (Kirkridge) on Creating a Culture of Peace complements how Tatamagouche and Spirit in the Desert are nurturing the Dialogue for Peaceful Change initiative of Oikosnet. We compared notes on some of our most successful and faithful program initiatives of the past year across all of our centres, and took action to move the work of this North American network forward, in concert we hope with our colleagues in other regions of our global Oikosnet network.
A number of ONA Executive members are working on the following projects:
Our next gathering will take place May 12th to May 15th (2008) at Naramata Centre (Naramata, British Columbia, Canada) and between now and then the following executive members will meet regularly by phone: Mardi Tindal (President), Jean Richardson (Vice President), Sally Simmel (Past President), Lawrence Pentelow (Secretary Treasurer), Paul Campbell (US rep) and Andrew Church (Cdn rep).