Thursday, July 3, 2008

Holden, Ho!

By LeeAnne Beres

It’s the day before Independence Day, and all of us here at Team Earth Ministry are scurrying around, organizing ourselves for next week’s retreat at Holden Village. We’ll be leading a week-long creation-care gathering for 65 Earth Ministry members and friends, high in the mountains overlooking Lake Chelan in central Washington.

I have a confession to make. I’ve never been to Holden Village before.

In the faith community, that’s tantamount to saying you’ve never seen the Pacific Ocean. Run as a Lutheran ministry open to all, Holden Village has a mythical status – it’s an intentional community, a place of solitude, an outpost in the wilderness (literally and metaphorically), a learning center, a font for renewal, and much more.

Ask any Lutheran in the Northwest about Holden Village, and they’ll get a faraway look in their eyes and start talking about it like it’s the Promised Land. Daily Bible studies and Vespers worship services. Ice cream socials. Five class options a day taught by leading theologians, scientists, authors, activists, and artists. Hikes with stunning views of the lake. Arts, crafts, and music. Children’s programs for all ages. Great food.

And more than anything else, community. Holden Village is all about community – building it, nurturing it, and sharing it. It’s what I’m most looking forward to next week. I’ll be surrounded by an amazing group of Earth Ministry folks and a have chance to get to know each of them more personally. I’ll find out what calls them to care for God’s great gift of creation. I’ll hear about their families, their jobs, their hopes, their dreams, and their challenges.

Best of all, each of the 65 participants in this retreat will hear each other’s stories. We’ll work, learn, laugh and play together. We’ll form friendships and share ideas.

We’ll all come as individuals, but leave as a community strengthened by our common bond of Holden Village. A Promised Land indeed.

1 comment:

thepfaffsays said...

Oh, I'm totally the NW Lutheran with the far-off look--Oh Holden!