Celtic Retreat Evening Prayer

Eucharistic celebration 2010

Celtic retreat – Eucharistic celebration 2010

The retreat is only a few days ago. We are pulling out our tents, packing our bags and getting ready to head up to Camano on Friday. So many of you have told me that you wished you could come that I thought I would share some of the programme with you. (More to come next week). Hopefully you can be with us in spirit if not in person. For those that are undecided there is still time to sign up.

Here is the prayer that we will begin with on Friday night – a prayer to prepare our minds for a time of thanksgiving and gratitude towards God.



Friday Evening Prayers

God we gather this night to thank you for the many blessings in our lives,

We praise you for your generous goodness new every day,

To you our God we offer praise and thanks.

God to you who created the earth and the heavens,

To you who are always merciful and forgiving,

To you our God we offer praise and thanks.

God to you who call us into relationship with yourself,

To you who give us the gift of family and friends,

To you our God we offer praise and thanks.


(Pause to remind yourself of all you have to be thankful for)


For the universe immense and unknown,

For the earth on which we live,

For humankind made in God’s image,

Thanks and praise to God our creator.

For entering human history as one of us,

For your life poured out in sacrifice for us,

For dying that we might live,

Thanks and praise to Christ our redeemer.

For the comfort of your indwelling presence,

For the wisdom of your guidance and direction,

For drawing us together as one family,

Thanks and praise to the Holy Spirit our enabler.

Through your will we are made whole,

Through your love we are renewed in body, mind and spirit

Through you we become one community from every tribe and nation.

Thanks and praise to the Father, Son and Spirit through all eternity.


Psalm 92: 1-8 (NLT)

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.
Let the whole world know what he has done.
Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.
Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.
Exult in his holy name;
rejoice, you who worship the Lord.
Search for the Lord and for his strength;
continually seek him.
Remember the wonders he has performed,
his miracles, and the rulings he has given,
you children of his servant Abraham,
you descendants of Jacob, his chosen ones.

He is the Lord our God.
His justice is seen throughout the land.
He always stands by his covenant—
the commitment he made to a thousand generations.


The Word of the Lord.     Thanks be to God.


A reading from the Gospel according to Luke. Glory to you, Lord Christ.


Luke 22:14 – 20 (NLT)


When the time came, Jesus and the apostles sat down together at the table. Jesus said, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.”  Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.”  He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.”  After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.

The Gospel of the Lord.   Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.


Let us pray together now in the words Jesus taught us.


Our Father, who art in heaven hallowed by your name.  Your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.  Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil for thine is the kingdom the power and the glory for ever and ever.  Amen


Pause to offer up prayers of praise and thanksgiving


Gracious and generous God we give you thanks

For the gift of life for we are made in your image,

We pray for all your loved ones in whom your divine image is still hidden and distorted,

We pray for your mercy and compassion to rest upon them.

God in your mercy be with all those you love.

Caring and providing God we give you thanks,

For our homes that shelter and protect us,

We think of those without shelter and water and protection today,

We pray for your provision to be poured out upon them.

God in your mercy be with all those you love,

Abundant and giving God we give you thanks,

For our food that nourishes and strengthens us,

We thing of those without food and nourishment today,

We pray that you will feed them with the bread of life.

God in your mercy be with all those you love.

Loving and compassionate God we give you thanks,

For our friends and family who love and comfort us in times of need,

We think of those who are alone and feel abandoned today,

God comfort and surround them that they may sense your presence.

God in your mercy be with all those you love,


Gracious and generous God,

We remember all the gifts you have given us,

We remember how lavishly you have provided,

We remember how lovingly you have cared,

We remember especially that greatest gift of all,

Jesus Christ our Saviour,

And we give you thanks.




Reporting on Wild Goose East 2012

Tom & I at the Mustard Seed/Overflow booth at Wild Goose

Tom & I at the Mustard Seed/Overflow booth at Wild Goose

Tom and I are back home after several wonderful days at the Wild Goose Festival in North Carolina. It was hot, humid and dusty but in spite of that we had a wonderful time. Tom was in fine form talking about intentional community and moving beyond the Western dream and I had fun speaking on reimagining how we pray.

Tom was in fine form

Tom was in fine form

More than anything we enjoyed meeting old friends and making new ones. Had lots of good discussions, shared lots about the Mustard Seed Village and Cascadia and just thoroughly enjoyed a relaxed but provokative festival.

Together with fellow Australian Dave Andrews

Together with fellow Australian Dave Andrews

I also loved the grievance wall and the opportunity for people to share their frustrations with life & faith

Grievance wall Wild Goose festival

Grievance wall Wild Goose festival

What I didn’t enjoy – having to check for ticks every day and came home covered in itchy bites.

Uninvited guests

Uninvited guests

You can check out my complete festival album on facebook. enjoy

Still to come for the summer – Creative World Festival in Mission B.C. and Wild Goose West 

Discernment at the Mustard Seed Village

Gathering at Romana Lee Cafe in Stanwood

Gathering at Romana Lee Cafe in Stanwood

Yesterday our Celtic Visioning Team met on Camano Island to discern together the way forward for the Cascadia program and the Mustard Seed Village development. This is the first time that we have gathered as a team that includes not only our long term commitment community: Tom and myself, David Vandervort, Doug Woods, Cindy Todd and Forrest Inslee, but also our new members Jessica and Ryan Weemhoff who will be aour programme directors for the Cascadia/CCSP programme. We started with a check in time that allowed all of us to express our joys and our struggles especially as they relate to the development of this project. Some of this I expressed in my previous post MSA Imaginings.

Then we drove out to the land. We drove through the narrow tunnel of trees to the existing clearing. Its beauty was breathtaking. It welcomed us with a sense of belonging, a feeling that this is home for us. Being on the land was so important for us and being together with this core community which longs to bring God’s vision into being was very special.

Gathering at the Mustard Seed Village site

Gathering at the Mustard Seed Village site

Taking time to listen to God in the place where we are planting, and with the people we are planting with is essential whatever our vision might be.

Some of what we felt God saying was unexpected. The dirt bike riders have been back driving round the clearing and through the trails. Others have dumped rubbish in the clearing again. One of our team commented – We have always seen this negatively but maybe we need to welcome them. Their presence has helped keep the trails open, and maybe in the process they can somehow meet with God. Some of what we heard was a reassurance of God’s presence with us. The sense of hospitality we felt as we arrived. The welcome of this beautiful part of God’s creation where all of us feel alive and renewed. Some is still just glimmers of vision on the horizon. How to finance not just the building but the development of the programmes as well is an ever present challenge.

Interestingly the scripture for the day was Mark 4:30-32, which includes the parable of the mustard seed

He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”

It was a wonderful reminder that God is the one who does the growing for us. The trouble is that we are tired of planting seeds and we want to see that growth take place. We appreciate your prayers and supportiveness as we move forward… and if you have any words of wisdom for us we want to hear from you.

Our next gathering on Camano will be for the Celtic prayer retreat August 17 – 19th. We hope that some of you can join us.

MSA Imaginings

This morning we have an MSA Board meeting which made me realize that I have not posted our monthly MSA update for June.


“God instructs the heart, not by ideas but by pains and contradictions.”

omsc-art-009.jpg?w=300&h=179This wise quote by 18th century French mystic Jean Pierre de Caussade was sent to me a few weeks ago shortly after we heard that a grant application we hoped would support the start up of our Cascadia program, had been rejected. In the midst of our disappointment we found ourselves turning back to the heart of God in prayer, seeking wisdom and discernment.

One of our Board remarked,

“Mustard Seed Associates is about planting mustard seeds and this was certainly no mustard seed.”

Its true, we have always excelled at networking, collaboration and the planting and nourishing of small kingdom seeds that grow and produce fruit. Many of you are examples of that kingdom fruit.

This does seem to be a time of contradictions for us at Mustard Seed Associates. On one hand God is blessing us in amazing ways and we have much to celebrate. Plans are completed and we are moving forward with the first building of the Mustard Seed Village. Construction should begin shortly.

Jeff Johnson at arkmusic.com

Cindy Todd is making amazing connections in the Stanwood/ Camano area and has been asked to co-chair the education for Port Susan food and farming center. Our annual Celtic retreat on Camano Island August 17-19 is shaping up to be the best ever. Our theme is gratitude and thanksgiving. Internationally known musician Jeff Johnson will provide music with a special Selah service in the evening.

CCSP/Cascadia is definitely sparking the interest of Christian Colleges and Universities across North America and we have a growing list of those who plan to add it to their semester away options. George Fox University recently added it to their options of semester away programs. We see the coming year as an opportunity to build our team and prepare for a better launch. Over the summer, Tom and I will participate inWild Goose Festival in Shakora Hills NCWild Goose West in Corvalis OR and the Creative World Festival in British Columbia. We would love to spend time with those of you who are also at these events.

MSA seeks to stir imagine and encourage creativity. We add daily to resources at Godspace and MSAimagine that inspire and encourage many to reimagine their lifestyles and faith observances. Andy Wade’s latest article Creepy Community is both thought provoking and instructive. We want to expand these resources and need your collaboration to connect us to other creative possibilities and inspiring stories. Where do wateryou see the kingdom emerging in creative and imaginative ways? Where do you see God’s mustard seeds emerging like The Overflow Project– small and seemingly insignificant but making a kingdom difference. How could we reimagine our lives to more authentically live into God’s kingdom ways? Post on our facebook page or email us with suggestions for articles or communities and ministries to highlight.

We have a remarkable team at MSA. Most are volunteers. Our architect David Vandervort has generously given time and resource over many years to the Mustard Seed Village project. Douglas Woods moved his family up to Seattle from California ten years ago because of his vision for this project. Dr. Forrest Inslee contributed numerous hours to the development of the Cascadia/CCSP curriculum. Tom and I receive no salary and Andy Wade and Cindy Todd contribute far beyond their part time salaries. Ryan and Jessica Weemhoff who will be our program directors for the Cascadia/CCSP program will volunteer over this next year to help provide new and exciting opportunities for future students.

We are privileged stewards of what God has given us but we need your help to establish what we believe God is giving birth to. Together we can make a huge difference in God’s world.

Please plant a mustard seed today and help us bring this dream into being. Your gift of $10; $15; $25 or more will enable us to support the growing work of Mustard Seed Associates. Your monthly pledge of $10; $15; $25 or more would enable us to see the Mustard Seed Village move from dream to reality.  Various options to support MSA can be found HERE

Place Matters: The Parish Collective on Churches, Places and Spaces by Jason Fowler.

Inhabit special

Tom & I are eagerly anticipating the Inhabit Conference next week. So much to look forward to and I thought that you would enjoy this reflection by Jason Fowler over at Sustainable traditions. where it was first posted


I recently had the privilege of meeting Paul Sparks of the Parish Collective when he was visiting the East Coast. My son Ephraim and I drove the two and half hours to Richmond, where he was meeting with Dave Cooper of the Drew University Communities of Shalom InitiativeWendy McCaig of Embrace Richmond, and others at the Richmond Hill urban retreat center (it was also greatly inspiring to hang out with Dave and Wendy as we surveyed their work in the local community). As we arrived and were about to enter the retreat center I looked up and saw Jeremiah 29:7, inscribed on the building, which says: “Seek the peace of the city where I have sent you, for in it’s welfare, you will find your welfare“. From what I understand, another translation of the words ‘peace’ and ‘welfare’ is “shalom” which is a Hebrew word that puts forth the idea of “health, harmony and wholeness”.

I believe this understanding of ‘shalom’ as wholeness – as an interwoven whole that “has nothing missing, nothing broken’ – is central to how we as Christians live out the kingdom of GOD that Jesus spoke about and demonstrated. Shalom is a restoration of relationships that were broken by sin. It is this ongoing work of mission and reconciliation that I believe is characterizing a new generation of holistic, missionalministries in our time. After all, if GOD “took on flesh and moved into the neighborhood” shouldn’t we leave the safety of our church buildings and start embodying the Gospel in the communities GOD has placed us in?

One of these new place-based, ministries of shalom-seeking is the Parish Collective out of the Seattle/Tacoma, Washington area, who are seeking to help cultivate a national shift in the Church at large.  The Other Journal, an online magazine that explores the “intersections of theology and culture”, has recently begun to partner with the Parish Collective and produced this brilliant little video (see below) that gives a short introduction of their work in “seeking shalom”. I could say much more but I think the video is enough to whet your appetite.

Spirituality of Gardening Seminar is Coming

Garden seminar is Coming

Garden seminar is Coming

Garden Seminar is Coming

I have been so focused on Lent, Holy Week and Easter that I have almost forgotten to mention the garden seminar coming up at the beginning of May.

This year’s Spirituality of Gardening seminar at the Mustard Seed House will be held May 5th. I love facilitating this seminar and the opportunity to discuss how the story the story of God unfolds in the garden.

Explore the wonderful ways that God and God’s story are revealed through the rhythms of planting, growing and harvesting. Spiritual insights, practical advice for organic backyard gardeners and time for reflection will all enrich and deepen our faith. Come prepared to get your hands dirty as we will spend some time in the garden or in the greenhouse if the weather is inclement.

Bishop Gregory Rickel, Episcopal Bishop of Olympia says:

“I am pleased to recommend the work of Christine Sine. Over the last of couple years, I have grown to deeply appreciate her spiritual insights and knowledge. Community gardening has been an important faith based response to the recession and her work on spirituality and gardening is important for anyone who wants to engage their spiritual practice with stewardship of the land.”

This year we have special discounts for students and alumni wanting to gain new spiritual insights and share gardening advice. It would be a great opportunity to check out the Mustard Seed garden, interact with our growing garden community and pick up some garden starts.

Register HERE today before all the spots are filled!

There is still time to order garden starts too. The front porch of the Mustard Seed House here in Seattle is already bulging with plants – some germinating on heat mats, some under grow lights, others outside in our green house. Yesterday  was busy transplanting over 100 healthy looking tomato starts – red, yellow and even green and chocolate. Friends told me that our tomato plants were the best they have ever grown. We will also have a selection of other plants available for purchase when you pick up your vegetable starts at the end of April or beginning of May.

Plants are all grown using organic soil and fertilizer. They come in 4″ coir fiber pots that are biodegradable. Proceeds from plant sales will help us establish the Mustard Seed Village.

Please download the order form, fill it in and return it to us as soon as possible so that we can get your plants started.

Let Us Help Get Your Garden Started.

Bee pollinating squash

The garden is growing

It is garden season here in Seattle.

The front porch of the Mustard Seed House here in Seattle is already bulging with plants – some germinating on heat mats, some under grow lights, others outside in our green house. Last year we sold over 100 vegetable starts – tomatoes, squash, basil and greens. Friends told me that our tomato plants were the best they have ever grown. This year we hope to double our sales. We will also have a selection of other plants available for purchase when you pick up your vegetable starts at the end of April or beginning of May.

Plants are all grown using organic soil and fertilizer. They come in 4″ coir fiber pots that are biodegradable. Proceeds from plant sales will help us establish the Mustard Seed Village.

Please download the order form, fill it in and return it to us as soon as possible so that we can get your plants started.

Garden Seminar is Coming

This year’s Spirituality of Gardening seminar at the Mustard Seed House will be held May 5th. This year we have special discounts for students and alumni wanting to gain new spiritual insights and share gardening advice. It would be a great opportunity to check out the Mustard Seed garden, interact with our growing garden community and pick up your plants.

Register HERE today before all the spots are filled!

If you can’t attend you may like to follow along with the reflections from To Garden With God

And if you live in the Pacific NW and are just trying to work out what you should be doing in the garden check To Do In the Northwest Edibles

Inhabit Conference 2012 is Coming

InHabit Conference 2012Seattle, Washington – April 20-21

There are not many conferences that I look forward with great anticipation, but this is one of those rare ones. It will be an opportunity to be stretched, and enriched, a chance to gather with friends and make new ones and above all a chance to see God at work. I hope that you can join us.

Here is what Paul Sparks, one of the conference organizers has to say:

Why Inhabit 2012?

For the beginning of a New Parish Awakening

Something wonderful is rumbling under the surface. Join practitioners from all over North America who are moving toward more local and embodied forms of being the church in everyday life.

For an end to Consumer Church

The day of passively attending church events for individual self-help and entertainment must stop. It’s time for faith communities that actively participate together in weaving a robust fabric of care in real places.

For an end to Colonial Mission

The results of arrogant decisions that church leaders have made – decisions that affect communities where they are not members – have driven us to inaction. It’s time to reimagine mission through faithful presence and everyday friendship.

For an end to Information-based Formation

We have imagined that instructing the right ideas and doctrines is the primary mode of discipleship. We have underestimated the transformative power of a full-bodied practice of the ways of Jesus. Action is primary to reflection.

For the beginning of Rooted Collaboration

When links form between small pockets of local care something BIG happens. Connect with hundreds who are discerning how to follow the Spirit into particular places and link across cities and around the world for collaborative support.

Its Winter But Spring IS Coming

A couple of days ago I wrote this post Weathering the Winter Storms – Lessons for the Soul. reflecting on what I have learned from the winter storms. I love the ways that God speaks to us through the seasons of the year. This post formed the foundations for the latest MSA Happenings which I thought you might appreciate.

The description of what happens in trees during winter has resonated in my soul this week as I feel MSA is in a waiting, strengthening season. It is as though God has set buds for next year’s growth and we desperately want to see them spring into life, but God is saying, not yet, wait for the lengthening of days and the warming of the air. In the mean time put down deeper roots and strengthen your framework. Allow your roots to grow down to the deep water you will need for the coming summer and enjoy the peace of a world at rest.

Roots Going Down Deep

Mustard Seed Associates is going through huge transitions at the moment. Our Seattle team is growing and soon we will begin to develop the Mustard Seed Village community. Our Board is also changing as we grapple with the new skills needed to grow us into the future. These transitions have encouraged us to revisit our MSA foundations, refresh our vision of God’s kingdom purposes.

We are at core a spiritual community

This has reaffirm our belief that we are at core a spiritual community that discerns and implements God’s will for our organization. We believe that everything we do should flow out of our involvement together as community. The kind of creativity and innovation we want to encourage, that enables us to create new ways to advance God’s kingdom purposes and engage tomorrow’s challenges, occurs best in and through community. Much of what I have learned is expressed in my recent blog series: Leading Spiritually

Tom is also blogging about community on the MSA website. As he stated in last week’s post I am deeply concerned that too many of us miss new possibilities for community because we don’t pay attention to “times like these.” Check it out here

Our garden community is putting down roots too and we invite you to be a part of it. Each Friday and the 3rd Saturday of each month will be community garden days. If you live in Seattle and would like to join us at the Mustard Seed House please let me know. Or contact us if you want us to start your lettuce, tomatoes, squash, basil or other vegetables. Proceeds from sales will go towards starting the Mustard Seed Village community garden.

There are other ways in which we hope to put down deeper community roots in the coming weeks too. We need to grow our circle of friends and supporters. If you know people anywhere in the world who are interested in sustainability, community or creativity that would resonate with the MSA message we would like to meet them.

We are a networking hub 

MSA also provides a networking hub for many expressions of faith and community, a place to share and cross pollinate ideas. We are working to strengthen this networking capacity. We will hold several small networking gatherings at the Mustard Seed House this year. Cindy Todd and Andrew Wade will man a Mustard Seed booth at the Justice Conference in Portland February 24 & 25 Tom and I will collaborate with the Parish Collective and the Seattle School for the Inhabit Conference.  April 20 & 21 and all of us hope to attend the Wild Goose Festival in South Carolina June 21 – 24.

Buds in Waiting

So what are the buds in waiting that will not emerge until the spring? First our initial cohort for the Pacific Sustainability semester has been delayed until January 2013. We still expect to bring our program director and  community facilitator on staff in July of this year. However this program will require the building of community networks and connections that need months of preparation. We are also still waiting for the final approval from colleges and universities that are potential recruiting grounds for students.

Second we have decided to delay the launch of our ezine Imagine That. We want to provide a tool that will help launch creativity and innovation in the MSA network as well as share examples of how God has already unleashed creativity in our midst. However we realize that with our current commitments, this would stretch our existing resources too thinly.

Building Resilience – Adding to the Team

We continue to grow the MSA team. We are currently looking for a volunteer with administrative skills to work as my assistant helping with research, writing and web communications.This position will provide an opportunity for the volunteer to assist in publishing articles, blog posts and possibly a book on spiritual practices. There will also be opportunity to assist in events and meet collaborators from around the world. If you are interested I would love to hear from you.

We also have a summer internship position available. Duties would include organizing, marketing and coordinating our annual Celtic retreat at the Mustard Seed Village site. If you or someone you know might be interested please contact us.

In our discernment time during our MSA team meeting this week we sensed that God is at work below the surface, getting ready to grow the seeds and preparing to bring new life to those waiting buds. We appreciate your prayers as we solidify our foundations and press forward to discern and implement God’s will for us as an organization.

What’s Taking Root in Our Area: Announcing Pacific Northwest Sustainability Semester

This morning I was reading some of the posts on a new facebook group I have been added to called Emergent Village Community. Someone had just asked the question :What’s good/thriving/taking root in your local context these days? All I could think of was the move towards local, sustainable communities and church groups like The Parish Collective that foster these.  Which, not surprisingly reminded me that I have not yet posted the details of our own exciting new development here at MSA – the launch of the Pacific NW Sustainability Semester in September 2012.

More information or download the flyer here

Mustard Seed Associates, in partnership with the Creation Care Study Program, the premier Christian student semester away experience, is launching a brand new opportunity in the Pacific Northwest in Fall 2012.

Just an hour north of Seattle and an hour south of Vancouver, BC there is a special place, tucked into the idyllic Camano Island on the Salish Sea. Together, we will live, learn and imagine a whole new way of building sustainable communities and sustainable faith. Rigorous courses and rigorous play will be woven throughout meaningful curriculum and the opportunity to collaborate and cultivate new responses to environmental and economic challenges of today and tomorrow.

More information or download the flyer here

Pacific NW sustainability semester (2)

Pacific NW sustainability semester (2)