Bathed in the Warmth of Stories

fireBy Joyce Hollyday, a facilitator of the upcoming “Heart and Hearth: A Writing Retreat for Women.”

During Advent many years ago, I preached in the morning chapel service at a Pennsylvania college. The chaplain’s five-year-old son, Kyle, had memorized the Gospel of Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus, and he was eager to recite it at lunch. He was flawless until he got to the part about the angels announcing to the shepherds, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace!” Forgetting the last phrase, Kyle concentrated for a few moments. Then he confidently launched in again, enthusiastically attributing these words to the hovering heavenly host: “Glory to God in the highest…and I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down!” Continue reading

In Winter

winter.jpgBy Kate Foran
With an invitation to Word and World’s Heart and Hearth: A Writing Retreat for Women.

The nights are getting chillier and the ground is covered in frost by morning.

On days like this, even getting out of from under the warm covers to start the day requires deliberate intention. There’s a choice to be made. You have to ready yourself. Same with stepping outside in the cold—you have to attend to the transition between the cozy heat inside and the bite of cold on the other side of the door. One by one, the layers pile on. Continue reading

The Seminary, The Sanctuary & The Streets

Valerie Jean

PC: Valerie Jean

By Bill Wylie-Kellermann

There are a number of sweet connections between Word and World and the Poor Peoples Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. As the campaign heats up in the midst of these 40 days of action and witness, it’s worth remembering a few of them.

In 2003, we did one off our Peoples’ Schools, a week-long institute in Philadelphia. It was framed around a close study of Dr. King’s Riverside Church speech, “Beyond Vietnam: Breaking the Silence” which focused his national call for a “revolution of values.” In addition to the Plowshares Movement, that school included attention to the Kensington Welfare Rights Union in Philly, specifically their homeless union tent city which subsequently, as winter approached, broke open and moved into a boarded up Catholic Church, St. Edwards. Continue reading

Detroit Spirit and Roots Reflection

Photo taken by Andrea Ferich. Created by participants bringing with them their ancestors to this place.

Photo taken by Andrea Ferich. Created by participants bringing with them their ancestors to this place.

Kate Foran reflects on Detroit Spirit and Roots, a project of Word and World and local organizers in Detroit.

An ancestor chose to survive because they saw this—you, us—coming. – A Detroit Spirit and Roots Participant, to the young people of color at the table

Some 11 years ago: my husband Steve and I are interns for Word and World, living in Greensboro, NC and working under one of the founding W&W board members Nelson Johnson. Word and World is struggling (as one way or another most organizations do) with white supremacy culture. We have a diverse board and we have rigorous goals for anti-racism and anti-oppression at our week-long schools. Everyone is making a good faith effort to unpack internalized privilege and internalized oppression, to “do our own work.” Still, as can be expected when you’re organizing so many moving parts, tensions run high and everyone brings their own default cultural assumptions to the table. At the time (and still) Nelson is involved in many organizations nation-wide. Steve and I ask him if he has ever been part of a truly multi-racial organization. He thinks long and hard for a minute and says no. He says the closest he’d ever come was with the Communist Workers Party, where ideology was so strong it trumped other dynamics. He says Word and World is different because at least folks are willing to have some honest conversation about race. But, he said, his experience as an African-American organizer is that white people either take over or they leave. Continue reading

Some Things We’ve Learned

dsrThis past weekend was the Detroit Spirit and Roots Gathering. Over the next few weeks we will post some reflections from the weekend. This event began with the idea from Word and World to host a Land and Water School in Detroit. Over almost two years of plannings and conversations, it shifted into a collaborative event called Detroit Spirit and Roots. This was a process with lots of struggle and learning along the way. This document is a list of things we learned in that process which we used as part of our framework for the event.

“Some Things that We have Learned”
Detroit Spirit & Roots Gathering
Summer 2015

The Local Committee has agreed that this will be the framework that will guide our participation in DSR

What are the spiritual resources that our movement needs? Continue reading

Somewhere Between Sturgeon, Graffiti, and Jubilee

jimBy James W. Perkinson. Written in preparation for the Detroit Spirit and Roots Gathering this upcoming weekend in Detroit hosted in part by Word and World. Published on On the Edge, a Detroit Catholic Worker Paper.

This summer in Detroit, some of us will attempt a new thing. Tentatively, slowly deliberately—we will convene a dialogue among three communities of inspiration. One is rooted in postindustrial soils, breaking street savvy into spit finesse, spun bodies, and tagged walls. Another is deeply historical, born of peasant resistance against ancient Roman might, itself gone genocidal and colonizing. The third, most rooted, is embedded in soils and waters, seasons and weather, enculturated by the place itself. Hip-hop, Christian, and indigenous by other names—three constituencies roughly demarked, will make common cause in concern for the future of de troit, the strait. We have named it the “Detroit Spirit Roots Gathering” and seek to serve a re-spiriting of the city in part by learning from each other’s stories. Continue reading