Upcoming Events from the Transform Network

Three exciting events — and important deadlines — to update you on.  Tom and I will both be at the Wild Goose festival and the Inhabit Conference.

1) Tonight at midnight is the deadline to get reduced rate tickets to the inaugural Wild Goose Festival gathering — June 23-26 at Shakori Hills outside of Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina! This event has been in the works for years, and a lot of TransFORM Network folks are planning to be there. There will be startling speakers, fantastic music, and great activities for people of all ages. The over-arching themes of Wild Goose are Art, Justice, and Spirituality, and this gathering will have all three of these things presented in a wonderful way. Please don’t miss it!

2) This Sunday (March 27) is the deadline to get the reduced individual or group rate registration for Inhabit Conference — April 29-30 at Mars Hill Graduate School in Seattle, Washington. Inhabit is not just any conference, it’s the West Coast gathering of the TransFORM and Parish Collective tribes — and it’s going to be phenomenal! If you’re looking for help in forming a new missional community and new friends to join you on the journey, then please do not miss Inhabit Conference — especially if you live on the West Coast.

3) East Coast and especially Northeast folks, don’t forget to RSVP for the TransFORM Northeast Regional Mini-Gathering, taking place the same weekend as Inhabit Conference, featuring great conversations among missional practitioners. This gathering is free, but you do need to RSVP to let the organizers know you are coming.

Hope to see you at one of these gatherings!

Steve Knight
TransFORM Network Community Architect



Making Life Simple – a New Home Economy is Emerging

This morning, together with other members of the Mustard Seed House, I have been making yoghurt, organizing shelves and sorting through my last year’s seeds to see what I need to buy for the garden this year – a thoroughly domesticated and relaxing morning.  Unfortunately these are all activities that tend to get scuttled when life gets too busy, partly because in our modern frantic world we place little value on domestic chores.

But they are incredibly valuable.  They draw us closer to each other and God’s world, reduce stress and save money too, making it possible for us all to live simply and more enjoyably on far less than most economists think is possible.   And on top of that a morning spent like this is great fun.

Now as I relax with a magazine for an afternoon of reading, I find myself drawn to an article on homemade prosperity which basically talks about how cooking from scratch, growing your own food and cutting out the consumer clutter can transform our households and our world.  There is a whole new movement sweeping the Western world in which people everywhere are cutting back on their involvement in the cash economy, bartering, swapping, growing and cooking their own and generally learning to live with less.  In the process they are discovering that they can take control of their lives again and learn a much better way of life than the consumer rat race offers.

I think that Christians should be at the forefront of this movement and applaud those in the new monastic orders like Word Made Flesh, Servants with the Poor and Innerchange who have been trying to tell us for years that there is a better way of life that God wants us to be a part of.  In God’s economy it is not how much stuff we have that is important, it is the relationships, the interactions of loving and caring that really matter.

I would be very interested to know what you think of this movement and how you view God’s economy.  What value do you place on simplicity, relaxation, relationship and how do you interpret these values in the light of your faith?

Light For the Journey – Morning and Evening Prayers now available

Light for the Journey: Morning and Evening Prayers for Living into God’s World

A Prayer Resource for Groups and Individuals by Christine Sine

Morning and evening prayers have become an important part of the rhythm of life for those of us who live in the Mustard Seed House. We seek to live the values of God’s Kingdom with a spirituality rooted in rhythms of work, prayer, hospitality, celebration, and relationship. This week-long set of morning and evening prayers has been a foundation part of this rhythm of life for a long time. And I want to share it with you.

Each day’s prayers emphasize a different theme of faith—from creation on Monday to resurrection on Sunday—leading readers through God’s story again and again. There are focusing exercises for individual prayers and reflections on the world, as well as some of my reflections on each topic.

Many of the prayers in this book have appeared already on my blog but many of you have expressed interest in having them in book form so that you can use them for your own morning and evening prayers.  I hope that this resource will provide many of you with the refreshment and renewal that its compilation has provided for me.

According to Phyllis Tickle, author of The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why

“In the history of Christian formation literature, it has consistently been the small volume that has conveyed the greatest worth. That principle nowhere holds more true than it does here. Like the light which its title references, this manual, in its succinctness, travels broadly and illumines perfectly. Presenting both assigned prayers for each day of the week and also rich instruction in how the Christian forms a life of prayer, Sine speaks to us gently, but authoritatively. There is, in all of this, a kind of poignancy as well. We understand that Sine is writing to us not about some theory, but out of experience and about the sure knowledge of a life of prayer fully lived. Like every wise Christian teacher before her, Christine Sine understands—and persuades us—that it is in community that Christians pray most formatively and in community that we must seek to pray.”

This resource is available now through the Mustard Seed website

If you would like a pdf version so that you can review it on your blog please leave a comment below

Celtic Prayer Retreat Coming Up August 13 – 15

On Saturday we will head up to Camano Island to clear trails, whack nettles and generally get our land ready for this year’s Celtic Prayer retreat.  I am excited about this year’s event because it will be a special time of dedicating the land in preparation for building that should begin this next year.  I hope that you can join us

Join us on Camano Island August 13 – 15 (or just for the day August 14th) for this landmark retreat.  We will set aside the busy clutter in our lives and create a quiet space for prayer and renewal as we worship God in a beautiful outdoor cathedral surrounded by maple and cedar trees. Following the Celtic Christian tradition, this retreat will incorporate the rhythms of work and rest, community and solitude, prayer and biblical study.

Register Online

This year’s theme is “Building Community.” and it is our hope that not only will we build community as we worship and pray together, but also as we join in the exciting task of constructing our first permanent structure on the land – a landmark event, a first step towards the development of a permanent community on the property.

Saturday we will meditate on Scripture and listen for the movement of the Spirit on forested prayer trails and in the wood-rimmed labyrinth. We will work together, worship and eat together as we enjoy a potluck lunch and BBQ dinner, and fellowship around the fire pit.  Those that camp with us for the weekend will participate in morning and evening prayers and enjoy extended opportunities for fellowship and meditation. Truly, this will be a spiritual retreat to restore rhythm in our lives, rebuild our souls and renew our call to go out into the world.

Ryan Marsh and Tara Ward from Church of the Beloved belovedschurch.org will lead us in worship, and serve the Eucharist. Christine Sine will direct the liturgical program and meditation times.  There will also be a separate children’s program for kids 5 to 10 years old during some of the morning and afternoon sessions, but we will all preparing the altar and take communion together. Apart from stinging nettles, the land is a very safe environment for kids.

Note: Registration fees do not cover the full cost of this event. If these fees are beyond your budget please contact us.  We do have some partial scholarships available.

If you would like to sponsor another attendee or make an additional contribution, email us at mail@msainfo.org


Register Online

Friday, Aug. 13 Program (optional):

afternoon : Set up your tent and join us in working to erect our first small structure on the land (light manual labor)
dinner : bring your own food
evening : Compline: Evening Prayers

Saturday, Aug. 14 Program:
8:30 am Morning Prayers (for those staying Friday night)
9:30 am : Registration and Gathering
10:00 am : Preparing the Altar
10:30 am : Lectio Divina
12:30 pm : Potluck Lunch (bring something to share)

1:30 pm : Walk the prayer trails, meditate in the labyrinth or help us build
4:00 pm | Eucharist Service and sharing time
6:00 pm | BBQ Dinner: The Great Shared Feast (bring something to grill)

Sunday, Aug. 16 Program (optional):

breakfast: bring your own food
morning: Morning Prayers, time for silent meditation or walking the prayer trails

12:00 am – pack up and clean up the land

Register Online

The Wisdom of Stability

Our good friend Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove has a new book out called The Wisdom of Stability. We live in an incredibly mobile society that where on an average people move every 2-3 years.  Jonathan questions this way of life and claims that the need to become rooted in a community lies deep within us.  There is a great interview with Jonathan in Raleigh’s News and Observer in which he explains

“We felt that by moving again and again we could get to a place where you dig 10 wells 3 feet deep and never strike water,” said Wilson-Hartgrove, 29.

The Wilson-Hartgroves see stability as a virtue. The couple consider themselves modern-day monks, devoted to a religious community of like-minded people who practice prayer, contemplation and works of justice.  Read the entire article here

As one who spent much of my life on the move, this book resonated with me and my own need for stability.   I have long felt that all of us need stability zones and rootedness in our lives and am convinced that much of the fear and anxiety within our society is because of this lack of a sense of who we are and where we belong.

However Jonathan is the first one I have come across who has articulated this need as a Christian virtue partly because we need to be rooted in a community to care about it and become involved.  I know that many monastic orders in the past have called people to a commitment to place but that is not something we hear much about today.   This is a challenging and thought provoking book.  I would heartily recommend it to anyone who seeks to engage in their community as part of God’s call on their lives.

Monasticism Remix: Traditional & Neo-Monastic Spirituality in the 21st Century

Monasticism Remix: Traditional & Neo-Monastic Spirituality in the 21st Century

Mustard Seed Associates invites you to an evening of prayers and explorations of Traditional & Neo-Monastic spirituality.

In this event neo-monastic practitioners and traditional monastic sisters and brothers will come together for a generative conversation about living monastic spirituality in the 21st century.

The evening will include a light meal, prayers, conversation, and a compline service at the end.

You are welcome (and we encourage you) to come to the 5:00 PM service at Church of the Apostles beforehand as well.

When? Dec. 13 – 7:00 PM

Where? Fremont Abbey Arts Center – 4272 Fremont Ave N, Seattle
We will gather in the downstairs cafe area of the Abbey. The worship service takes place in the Great Hall upstairs.

Suggested donation: $5-10; no one will be turned away for lack of money

Register Online

Feel free to contact us at mail@msainfo.org / 206-524-2112 with your questions.

We are looking for volunteers to help us set up and clean up afterward. Contact us if you are interested in volunteer.

This is event is hosted by Mustard Seed Associates in partnership with Church of the Apostlesand The Fremont Abbey Arts Center.

Inspiration from Geez Magazine: Neo Monasticism also known as Ordinary Life in the Neighbourhood

Our good friend, community member and colleague Eliacin Rosario Cruz has just written a thought provoking response to an article published in Geez Magazine – one of my favourite publications.  The original article Changing the Story of Change, raises some important issues.

Hosting visiting groups to New Jerusalem Now, a grassroots addiction treatment community in North Philly, is starting to feel like poverty tourism. The purpose of the day’s activities is to give the youth group an experience that will hopefully inspire them to care about “the poor.” I think that’s what ignites my anger – Shante should be the most important person in this little gathering, but she’s not. She’s a means to an end, the end being to inspire young, white, suburban Christian youth to be more conscious of poverty. They’re the most important people in the gathering; the day’s events are more about them than the people who live in the recovery community they’re visiting. The privileged suburban kids are at the centre of the narrative.

Read the entire article here

Eliacin’s response is even more thought provoking.

Growing up in my barrio I witnessed many acts of evil and wonderful deeds of love and compassion. I lived among the poor, I was one of the poor. We were poor together. We knew it but we didn’t pay much attention to it, because we had to live. We couldn’t sit around discussing how political, religious or other people’s movements could influence and inspire us in our desire for liberation from poverty. We worked, loved and tried to make sense of our experiences as people – not poor people, simply as people.

Read the article here

New Monasticism and White Privilege

Here is an interesting article that my good friend Eliacin contributed to the God’s Politics discussion on new monasticism and white privilege. 

It is not by chance that it is hard to find people of color as prominent figures in spreading the vibes of New Monasticism through books, conferences, and new media. This also true of many other new emerging expressions of contemporary Christianity.

Read the entire article

Reconciliation’s Challenge for New Monastacism

My friend Eliacin Rosario Cruz just posted this important thought provoking article and link.

Do not miss this insightful and provocative post from my friends Jason and Vonetta Strobakken from Radical Living Community in NYC. This is a first in a series of posts and responses in God’s Politics Blog about the subject of multi-cuttural, multi-racial, multi-ethnic expression in new monasticism.

Reconciliation’s Challenge for New Monastic Communities (by Jason and Vonetta Storbakken)

The key players in New Monasticism have made important strides in raising awareness of issues pertinent to disenfranchised members of our society, yet these leaders often make some of the same mistakes as their conservative counterparts. Read more…