Mustard Seed village UP-date

On July 27th a dedicated team demonstrated the ultimate support for Mustard Seed Village by installing the final support beams on our first building.

Thanks to the extreme generosity of Greg and Nathan Abell, Martin Bayley, Brad Glenn, Dennis and Andrew Todd, and many others who have been praying and have helped in advising and procuring supplies, all the remaining beams were raised today by 4:30 p.m. Our team of volunteers were exhausted.

It takes a team to raise a village.Tom exclaimed, “Thanks be to God for the miracle of having all the beams up!!!”

We are looking forward to seeing most of you at the annual Celtic Retreat, Saturday August 10 during which we’ll have a luncheon dedicating of the erection of our first facility in the Mustard Seed Village.

Preparing the beamsThere are still plenty of opportunities to volunteer your construction talents to the project! Next up, we need to get the roof on as soon as possible!  If you have carpentry skills and are interested, please contact us and let us know.

Thank you for your continued prayer as the Mustard Seed Village dream unfolds. You can join us in God-inspired future through prayer, volunteering as we continue construction on the village, and through contributing financially. If you haven’t already seen it, please check out  Graham Kerr’s invitation to support construction of the village.

Check out more photos in this Facebook album


An Invitation from Graham Kerr

Pole barn coming soon

Pole barn coming soon

Tom and I have spent an amazing day celebrating at the Mustard Seed Village on Camano Island a couple of weeks ago. A team of 11 volunteers raised and bolted 8×32′ beams to the fir poles already planted as foundations for our first building. But we need your help to complete it.

Listen to Graham Kerr as he shares his enthusiasm for this project.

My wife, Treena, and I have had multiple seeds sown in our spiritual lives, several of these were MUSTARD SEEDS.

Has this been the case for you?

We are close personal friends of Tom and Christine Sine. We have known them for almost as long as we have been Christians and that is now well over 30 years. Time and time and time again both Tom and Christine have blessed our lives with their multiple ways of serving the Body of Christ worldwide through Mustard Seed Associates.

If you find yourself with a similar harvest we want you to know that there is a way to save some of the seeds and to re-sow them in a very special piece of land.  Read the rest of Graham’s invitation and consider how you can join the Party

We are Raising the Roof.

Garden seminar Port Townsend

Garden seminar Port Townsend

This last weekend was one of the busiest I can remember for a long time. On Saturday we were in Port Townsend where I conducted a garden seminar in the morning followed by an evening with my husband Tom on Port Townsend 2018. Tom has done this type of creativity workshop for many years and I am always impressed with the results. Participants came up with some wonderfully creative ideas on how their community can respond to the changing times and changing ways of where they live.

Sharing creative ideas Port Townsend 2018

Sharing creative ideas Port Townsend 2018

And as I walked around the beautiful garden our hosts Coe and Janet Hutchison have carved out of the overgrown mess they inherited I could not help but think of my current blog theme “Creating Sacred Space” . This is indeed a sacred space that they have created – a place of joy, serenity and closeness to God for them and for those who visit. And special for us to get together with friends we have not seen for a while. Check out more photos on facebook 

The team from Bainbridge arrives

The team from Bainbridge arrives

That evening we dashed back to Seattle so that we could drive up to Camano Island early to help with the raising of the beams for the roof of the our first Mustard Seed Village building. This too is a sacred space for me what the Celts would have called a thin space where heaven and earth seem to meet. I love to wander the land soaking its beauty and rejoicing in its serenity. I also loved being there for this next step in the development of the Mustard Seed Village. 

Huge bolts to hold it all together

Huge bolts to hold it all together

Working hard to get the beams up

Working hard to get the beams up

It is slow but awe inspiring progress and each step overwhelms me with the generosity and faithfulness of God. A dream that was lodged in Tom’s heart over 20 years ago is slowly coming to fruition. The dream has grown, changed and been shaped by the hands of God over the years and we are excited about its future. And the community that is forming around this dream as new volunteers come to help, is both encouraging and astounding. It seems that God brings exactly the people we need at the right time – experts who can get the job done properly. We appreciate your prayers as we work to complete this first structure. And hope you can join us for the 22nd Annual Celtic Retreat when we will dedicate the building. Lots more photos on Facebook

Beams are up and ready for the roof

Beams are up and ready for the roof

Wild Camano – Seeing the Bounty God Has Provided

On the Wild Camano tour

The Wild Camano tour is over. On Saturday a small group of us gathered on the future site of the Mustard Seed Village on Camano island to tour the land, identify edible species and plant a beginning garden. It was an amazing experience.

With the help of Nancy and Greg from Shambala Farms and Nursery we identified and sampled a broad variety of potential additions to our diet.  The rich abundance of God’s world is incredible. There are so many edible, nutritious and delicious plants around us that we don’t even notice. Wild salad greens like purslane and miner’s lettuce. Wild berries like strawberries, salmonberries and elderberries. Nettles and ferns. It is so easy to pass them by without even noticing. It is even easier to ignore their potential as part of our diet.

Andy Wade samples a local salad green

Yesterday I published two posts on simplicity. In Simplicity isn’t Simple I stated

I’m not sure that it is really possible to simplify one’s food budget and remain healthy, unless one produces some of one’s own food.

As we walked on Camano I realized that gardening is not the only way to supplement our diet, however. The art of foraging for food in the wild is becoming more popular as people open their eyes to the amazing bounty of God’s world. Nuts, berries, greens and mushrooms are but a few of the delicacies we can enjoy. Seattle, Denver and Los Angeles are but a few of the growing numbers of cities that provide residents with the opportunity to map their fruit trees and share their produce with others.

Small beginnings - a kitchen garden mound at the Mustard Seed Village

Of course wild berries will not sustain the hoped for community at the Mustard Seed Village for very long. So it was a real delight to be able to put another small stake in the ground and get to work on a kitchen garden. We moved ferns and native plants to a mound of dirt close by the new construction. Then we added herbs like rosemary and lovage, with an aronia berry bush to crown our achievement. Not much and it may not survive the summer but it is another small step in our dream for the development of the Mustard Seed Village.

Don’t Miss The Wild Camano Tour

It is just over a week until our wild Camano tour at the site of the future Mustard Seed Village. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the vision for the village and about how to live more sustainably. More information and sign up here


Christmas Greeting From Tom and Christine Sine

Christmas greetings (c) Christine Sine

“And God himself will choose the sign… A frightened woman in her time… Will bear a son and name him well… God with us! O come, O come Emmanuel!”

These beautiful lyrics from the song the Oracles by Steve Bell words were the focus of our Advent II Homecoming party this last week, a time at which we remember not just the birth of a child two thousand years ago, but the promise of a new world coming in which justice will come for the poor and hope for the marginalized. Tom and I love this season of the year with its expectant promise of hope and fulfillment. Each morning we light our Advent candles, sit in their warm glow, and listen to Advent music while we eat breakfast. We finish with scripture reading and prayer.

This year held many celebrations and festivals for us. In June we headed to Australia for Christine’s mother’s 89th birthday. In July we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary and in August we celebrated together with many MSA friends, at our annual Celtic retreat, rejoicing at the beginning of our building for the Mustard Seed Village. The poles for our first classroom became the focal point for our fellowship In the afternoon their dedication drew us together again into our dreams and hopes for the future. We expect to have them in the ground and the concrete slab poured before the end of the year. This will house classes on sustainability as well as place for people to imagine and create new ways God can use their lives and communities to have an impact in the lives of others.

Celti Retreat 2012 - Dedicating the logs for our first Mustard Seed Village

Celti Retreat 2012 – Dedicating the logs for our first Mustard Seed Village

We also hosted a number of BBQs and other meals at the house, sharing hospitality with people from around the world and feasting from our bountiful garden produce. Tom’s Bacon and Tomato sandwiches are to die for.

Our participation in Wild Goose East in North Carolina, Wild Goose West in Oregon and Creative World Festival in British Columbia also gave ample opportunity for celebration. These festivals brought us together with a rich array of friends old and new, stirred our imaginations with inspiring talks and invited us to live out the kingdom in our everyday lives. More recently we celebrated with Mark and Lisa Scandrette and the Reimagine Tribe in San Francisco. We walked the streets where Tom grew up, reminiscing and soaking in the stories of how they are making a difference in the lives marginalized people in their city.

Return to our Senses - cover

My new book Return to Our Senses: Reimagining How We Pray is also part of the good news that God is still with us. It invites the reader to see prayer as far more than words. It introduces a rich array of experience that affirm God’s presence in every moment and in aspect of our lives. Today is the last day to order it from Amazon for a Christmas delivery, or download it for your kindle. This blog, Godspace which increasing focuses on how to reimagine prayer and spiritual practices for the future, continues to grow in popularity and is consistently listed in the top 100 Christian blog sites. The current Advent series has been particularly popular and enriching. I have certainly benefited from the posts and I hope you have too.

The Light for the Journey prayer page also grows in popularity with the addition of inspiring new content from John Birch, Bonnie Harr ,  Micha Jazz and other contemplative activists. My growing desire is to provide a place where others can share the creative gifts God has given them. Both Godspace and Light for the Journey provide those opportunities. We will further expand the authorship of both these venues in the next year so if you are interested let me know or sign up for the Godspace writers group.

Tom’s good news is the beginning of a new book on imagination and innovation. It is designed to enable readers to discover creative new ways God can use their mustard seed to be a difference and make a difference in response to rapidly changing times.  He is also blogging about the ideas from the innovative edge on the MSA web site.

As we race towards a fiscal cliff in the US, a slowing global economy throughout our planet and continuing bloodshed and volatility in the Middle East… thank God there is good news! We can in these uncertain times share this good news by how we live and care for our vulnerable neighbors locally and globally. We want to hear your stories of innovative ways followers of Jesus in your community make a little difference in your community. Can you send us your stories so we share this good news with people throughout our global village too?

Our MSA Team and Board are involved in the very ambitious task of refocusing MSA as a center for Christian imagination and innovation…to help us all discover how we can become much more of God’s good news in these tough times.  We are so grateful to God for Cindy Todd and the innovation she brings to our small team and Andy Wade whose tireless work makes our ability to communicate with you possible. Our growing circle of supporters and volunteers are constantly blessing in the midst of all we do. Please consider joining us in this venture. Your year end donation to Mustard Seed Associates will help keep this blog and the other ministries of MSA alive.

  MSA is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization. All donations are tax deductible.

We wish you and yours a joyous Christmas and a new year filled by creative new ways to be a bit of God’s good news in times like these.

Tom & Christine Sine

A Favourite Celtic Prayer

cross Clonmacnois

Celtic cross Clonmacnois

Here is another of my favourite Celtic prayers. We will use this to close off the time at our Celtic retreat this weekend.

(The Rising)

Let us go forth,

In the goodness of our merciful Father,

In the gentleness of our brother Jesus,

In the radiance of the Holy Spirit,

In the faith of the apostles,

In the joyful praise of the angels,

In the holiness of the saints,

In the courage of the martyrs.


Let us go forth,

In the wisdom of our all-seeing Father,

In the patience of our all-loving brother,

In the truth of the all-knowing Spirit,

In the learning of the apostles

In the gracious guidance of the angels,

In the patience of the saints,

In the self control of the martyrs,

Such is the path for all servants of Christ,

The path from death to eternal life

Let The Building Begin

Unloading the poles

Unloading the poles for the Mustard Seed Village

This morning was a momentous one for Tom and I. We left home at 5:30 am to drive out to the future site of the Mustard Seed Village on Camano Island. We were so excited because the poles for our first building – the pole barn classroom were arriving. This may not sound very momentous to some of you but for us it is huge.

From big truck to little truck - Tom helps to load

From big truck to little truck – Tom helps to load

Tom bought the land 20 years ago and the dream for an eco-village that can become a centre for Christian imagination and innovation has slowly emerged. We believe that this is a vision that God has placed in our hearts. It is exciting to have a growing circle of friends and collaborators who share the same dream.

So that's what those poles are for

So that’s what those poles are for

This will be a place where people from a wide variety of backgrounds and ages can gather to imagine and create new possibilities for life and faith for the future. are so excited, in spite of the fact that there are still many obstacles to overcome – not the least of these is that we still need $100,000 to widen the road, bring in electricity and complete the first building. If you would like to help we would love you to join our team.

Check out more photos Pole arrival and information on last year’s retreat Celtic retreat 2011

Pole barn coming soon

Pole barn coming soon

Unexpected Blessings

Beautiful Butterfly on blackberries

Beautiful Butterfly on blackberries – The unexpected blessing of God

Yesterday we went up to Camano Island to the site of the Mustard Seed Village. We staked out the site for the first building, met with contractors and cleared prayer trails from the upcoming Celtic retreat. It was in many ways a momentous visit. But in the midst I started to feel discouraged. The dirt bike riders have been back again, dumping rubbish, destroying our altar and ramming into and damaging the porta potty.


Mustard Seed Village - broken altar

Mustard Seed Village – broken altar

As I watched the beautiful butterfly above drinking from the blackberry flowers I realized how easily I look at the down side of life and miss the unexpected blessings of God. Our theme for this year’s retreat is thankfulness and gratitude and I realize that this is the place in which I need to be living. As I looked around me I saw how much we have to be grateful for. The beauty of this land always takes my breath away and I love to walk the trails just drinking in the wonder of God’s love poured out in creation. Our team of work party volunteers, headed by Doug Woods who has helped set up retreats over the last 10 years is another amazing blessing. Even the dirt bikers have helped. Because they have been driving up the trails we had a lot less clearing to do.


Checking Out Plans for the Mustard Seed Village

Checking Out Plans for the Mustard Seed Village with Dennis Todd

Watching as Dennis Todd, our architect David Vandervort and other potential workers discussed the plans for the building and then staked out its exact positioning was probably the greatest blessing of all. Tom and I have waited 20 years to see this happen, and to think I could have missed the wonder of the moment if I had kept my eyes on the rubbish and not on the blessings.

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.