I spent four days this past week in a little corner of heaven, among poets and musicians and artists, all intent on encouraging each other and sharing their art. I have come to know these people in the past three years of attending the annual UMHB Writers' Festival, which is a remarkable, intimate experience of learning from other creative people. I have had few places of true sanctuary in my life so I welcome those when I stumble upon them. The last time I felt as safe as I feel with this group of folks was during my seminary experience. In a world that too often seems intent on conquering others rather than embracing their unique gifts, it is good to spend time among those who pursue a different more cooperative agenda. So my special thanks to Audell and Helen and all those who made the conference happen, and to the poets who have encouraged me in my stumbling efforts: Chris Boldt, Angela O'Donnell, Alan Berecka and Anne McCrady among others. Their work is worth finding and enjoying as is the music of Still on the Hill, two remarkable musicians who are hard at work saving and promoting the folk music tradition I loved as a young person. They led a song-writing workshop at the conference that was delightful. My life has been blessed once again by this festival, and I have come away refreshed and ready to tackle anew this solitary task of writing to which God seems intent on calling me.
Grace and Peace,