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Pursuing equity in spiritual spaces
b/c retreats and conferences shouldn't be just for the wealthy
I have long bemoaned the fact that Christian retreats and conferences are often financially unfeasible for many people. The result is that these spaces become echo chambers of middle-to-upper class White people and spiritual growth opportunities feel woefully limited for everyone else. Now listen, I get it: events of any size cost money — and that money’s got to come from somewhere — and I firmly believe that speakers should be fairly compensated for their labor and time. But there has to be a workable solution. We need to create models of retreats that are equitable and just for both attendees and facilitators.
I can’t singlehandedly solve this problem for all of Christendom. (Shocking, I know.) But I think I can begin to help solve it in the small spheres of my own retreat-leading.
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So starting this month, all of my Patreon donations will be going to a separate bank account, or scholarship fund if you will, to help make the retreats I lead available to all people, not just the well-to-do. I am so excited about this undertaking and hope you are too. If you are a current Patreon supporter, there is no need for you to do anything different. And if you would like to join the mision of equal opportunities in spiritual spaces, I hope you’ll consider donating as little as $2/month to the cause.
Patreon members will be updated with monthly announcements about upcoming retreats, photos from past events, and anonymous anecdotes and testimonies from the people you supported. I hope this will be fun and encouraging for all of us.
looking for an in-person retreat?
There’s only 10 more days to register for the Living a Liberated Life retreat in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, and I would love to meet you there! In this retreat, we will explore how Our Lady of Guadalupe has for centuries been revered as an intercessor and patron for those suffering under oppression, and how she can guide us on our journey to personal and collective liberation today. After the retreat formally ends, there will be time for us to visit the stunning outdoor/indoor shrine of OLG in LaCrosse — just 15 minutes from the retreat site. (This is a very ecumenical space, so please know you don’t have to be Catholic to attend!)
If you have questions or need financial assistance, email me directly or call the Fransican Spirituality Center, where scholarships are also available, at 608-791-5295.
take some action
I recently learned that this summer marked 10 years of the DACA program (St. Anthony Messenger magazine had a great article on it), which has allowed more than 825,000 immigrant youth to pursue their work and education dreams, better provide for their families, and contribute more fully to their communities. But with no permanent protection or pathway to citizenship for immigrant youth and their loved ones, Dreamers live in two-year increments (between re-application) that destabilizes their families and communities.
I found this petition to Congress from the National Immigration Law Center. Would you take a quick second and add your name to protect immigrant young people?
On a personal note, my family rang in the autumn season this weekend with an apple cider extravaganza with some friends. We collected tons (how much is a bushel? half a laundry basket? if so then 3 bushels, she says as if she knows about bushels…) of apples from our backyard trees and put ‘em through a big ol’ juicer. We drank raw apple cider to our hearts content, then bottled the rest of it to magically become hard (beer) cider in a few months.
This is our first fall in the new house on the prairie (with apple trees! because Iowa!) and I can already vow that this will be an annual tradition. You can share in the fun by watching this Instagram video reel I made of the afternoon - if for no other reason than because the autumn song is *chef’s kiss*.
Wishing you peace and all good, and apples galore until October which is the only appropriate time to start on pumpkins. Yes, I’m controversial. I said what I said.
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