How is it that the trouble and the praise of life’s experiences
are often tied up in one another?
What have we lost in the experience of racism?
What do we need from each other to heal from the separations caused by racism?

Consociates Mari Ann Graham and Donna Hauer guided the community through the terrain of these deep questions at our annual New Year Retreat called Stirring the Fire.

A short video highlighting events that have recently again brought racism to the forefront of our nation’s consciousness:  The song “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” served as background to images of Tamir Rice and Philando Castille, hate groups marching openly in public places, protesters struggling to have their voices heard, politicians and others maligning immigrant and refugees in their time of need.  At its conclusion Mari Ann asked:  How is it that a song steeped in sadness and lament ends with the words “Glory, glory hallelujah’?  Individuals moved into a center-space to reflect and share insights.  From there the rest of the retreat unfolded into an honest, vulnerable conversation about lament of and healing from the ways racism separates us from our humanity and one another.

Donna and Mari Ann skillfully presented questions, invited sharing, and offered us valuable resources.  Their gentle guidance helped people feel safe to navigate difficult feelings and experiences, engage spiritual work and learn from one another.

Before leaving some attendees signed up for opportunities to continue engagement and learning about racial healing.

  1. On Being Civil Conversation Project: a podcast w/ john a. powell on opening the question of race to the question belonging

Listen to this powerful conversation with Krista Tippett, host of the popular radio show On Being and john a. powell, Director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at The University of California Berkeley. You can access the link at:

On February 27 Justice and Celeste’s Dream Offices hosted an opportunity for attendees to learnings from this podcast and the civil conversations model developed by On Being Studios.  All are welcome to continue to engage this podcast and model with others.  The civil conversations model is similar to CSJ process of Sharing the Heart.  .

  1. On February 12 Consociate Kate O’Connell hosted a racial truth and reconciliation process based on the 12 Steps. This group will meet again on the Monday, March 26th from the next meeting. The group hopes to continually to meet regularly on the 4th Monday and will decide at that time.

January 27th, 2018