Winter as Play and Delight

20181109_110011In January, over twenty women gathered for a Word and World weekend of rest and writing using winter as their guide and teacher. This is the last reflection offered which also gives some writing prompts. May it be company in these longer winter days.

By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

As we begin this final morning together, I am holding all that we have carried and shared with one another. I am so grateful.

These words come to mind from Arundhati Roy who is an Indian author and activist.

“Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness – and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe.

The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling – their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability.

Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them.

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

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Winter’s Coziness

candleIn January, over twenty women gathered for a Word and World weekend of rest and writing using winter as their guide and teacher. This is the second reflection offered which also gives some writing prompts. May it be company in these longer winter days.

By Joyce Hollyday

Guided Imagery

Imagine yourself in a harsh winter landscape. Take note of what is present—and what is absent.

You trudge through deep snow in drifts piled high by a strong and biting wind. Your feet begin to ache. Your fingers go numb. The journey feels endless. Continue reading

Winter’s Harshness

ice-formationsIn January, over twenty women gathered for a Word and World weekend of rest and writing using winter as their guide and teacher. This is the first reflection offered which also gives some writing prompts. May it be company in these longer winter days.

By Kate Foran

 

Ceremony

I will tell you something about stories,
[he said]
They aren’t just entertainment.
Don’t be fooled.
They are all we have, you see,
all we have to fight off
illness and death.
You don’t have anything
if you don’t have the stories.
Their evil is mighty
but it can’t stand up to our stories.
So they try to destroy the stories
let the stories be confused or forgotten.
They would like that
They would be happy
Because we would be defenseless then.
He rubbed his belly.
I keep them here
[he said]
Here, put your hand on it
See, it is moving.
There is life here
for the people.
And in the belly of this story
the rituals and the ceremony
are still growing.

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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