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Events Details

Date: 06/03/2019 - 06/08/2019
Time: 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Sponsor: Ecology of Awakening; The Chaplaincy Institute
Website: http://www.ecologyofawakening.org/eco-ministry-intensive

Location Details

Event Location:
Occidental, CA (West Sonoma County),15290 Coleman Valley Road, Occidental, CA, United States


Eco-Ministry Intensive:

Creating a resilient and thriving Earth community

June 3 – 8, 2019

Occidental (Western Sonoma), California

A collaboration between RiverStyx Foundation, The Chaplaincy Institute and Ecology of Awakening for religious leaders, chaplains or other spiritually-oriented professionals*

Lauren Van Ham, Kerry Brady, David Tucker

with Brock Dolman, Melissa Nelson, Gopal Dayaneni and Brian Swimme

The Eco-ministry Intensive is rooted in the desire to create a resilient and thriving Earth community in support of a regenerative future. It is also about bringing curiosity to our deepest ways of knowing, courageously questioning our core beliefs and lifestyles, and prophetically imagining what is life-affirming for the whole. For many of us who are religious leaders, chaplains or other spiritually-oriented professionals, our original call to ministry is being stretched by the anxiety and unrest that so many are experiencing during this time of disruption, injustice and uncertainty. During this intensive, we will explore questions about belief and knowing, and reflect on what it is to embody faith-based activism and community support.

The overall intensive consists of an initial Zoom call, a 6-day retreat in Western Sonoma County, California, and a final ½-day post retreat Zoom call to support our ability to bring what we have discovered into action in our lives, communities and ministries. There are two layers of intention for our time:

  • The first is to take an honest and deep look at the impact of living within a modern industrial, extractive and exploitive system, and then look towards creating an ecologically and socially just framework where all beings co-exist peacefully and freely in balance with a thriving Earth. Our guest faculty are dedicated to this work and will help us consider what it is to move out of the predominant story of separation into one of (inter) connection, equity and care.
  • The other is to ‘re-awaken’ to ourselves, to each other, to the land and to the impulse that calls each of us to contribute to the world in our unique way. When there seems to be so much work to do in our human as well as Earth communities, ‘awakening’ can seem extraneous to the needs of our time. And yet, when we awaken to our deepest identity and place within the larger unfolding web, we reconnect with the same Creative Force (God – Life – Spirit) that unfolded over time to bring forth the Himalayas and the hummingbird, as well as each one of us.

By coming together in community and engaging in mutually reflective encounters with the land and with each other, we will create a vibrant ecology that invites us to experience an embodied shift, out of what is conditioned and separate, into what is ever-evolving and connected with all life. This movement involves ‘awakening from’ certain aspects of our lives – our identities, roles, beliefs, divisions (inner and outer), the worldview that shaped us, etc – as well as ‘awakening to’ other aspects, too varied and vast to name. Throughout our time, we will become courageously curious about our roles in ministry, community care, and how we might spiritually guide our faith groups into a place of similar awakening, connection, and action.

Our first two nights take place at the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center (OAEC), an 80-acre research, demonstration, education, advocacy and community-organizing center in West Sonoma County that develops strategies for regional-scale community resilience and a just transition for biological and cultural diversity. While at OAEC, we will see a wide array of permaculture systems in action and enjoy delicious, organic meals, the pond, hot tub and comfortable eco-dwellings.  

After immersing in the ecology at OAEC, we will move to nearby Bohemian Preserve (Boho) where we will drop more deeply into the rhythms and cycles of the land. Boho is a spectacular ecosystem marked by active waterfalls, coastal prairie meadows, old-growth fir and oak woodlands that dwell in serpentine soils. While at Boho, our fabulous chef Hira will nourish us with local, organic meals and her love of food.

Over the course of our six days, we will live and learn from the land, drawing from the new sciences, nature-based processes, listening meditation, inner and outer tracking, dream-work, somatic resiliency work, council practices, ceremony and other time-tested processes that usher us towards dissolving our borders and discovering our deepest belonging.

Join us to:

  • Re-member our deepest identity as vast, and intimately connected with all Life; and consider how our role as spiritual leaders might help others to do the same
  • Honor our grief
  • Listen for and embrace earth-attuning practices
  • Connect with like-minded souls dedicated to creating a world where all beings have the right to co-exist peacefully in balance with the Earth
  • Explore systems change, social transformation and lifestyle choices
  • Learn skills that ignite our innate resilience and build our capacity to show up for these times
  • Immerse in deep ecology and living systems in support of our ability to think and act in partnership and attunement with Life
  • Explore the power of ceremony and co-create and share emerging Earth liturgy that wants to be born in us and for the communities we serve
  • Share in fieldwork and stories of unique service and eco-ministries; explore ideas for institutional and non-institutional eco-ministry positions
  • Be deeply nourished by local, seasonal and organic meals, in community

Note: In order to support greater intimacy and connection with the Earth, we will be sleeping in tents, living comfortably on the land. This is an opportunity to re-connect with our innate rhythm and re-discover our deepest belonging, where we are nourished and informed by the whole. Many who have never or seldom camped are deeply fed by discovering their love of being immersed on the land.

A limited number of special accommodations (pre-set up, roomy tents with padded cots) are available, on a first come-first served basis for an extra $50/night for non-inclined campers or those with physical limitations. Please email info[a]ecologyofawakening.org to inquire about availability and to handle payment which is separate from registration.

We seek to make this retreat available to all who are called: please note that you do not need to be in top physical shape to attend; yet we require that each person be in good physical, mental and emotional health. We will provide a list of equipment upon enrollment and can assist you with where to buy or borrow equipment if needed.

*WHO THIS IS FOR:  The Eco-Ministry Intensive is for religious leaders, chaplains and spiritually oriented professionals who have an active congregation, spiritual community and/or ministry. Professional activities must include significant time interacting with those seeking religious/spiritual guidance or support. We welcome and encourage all traditions.

DATES AND LOCATION: Monday, June 3, 10:00 AM – Saturday, June 8, 3:00 PM 2019; Occidental, West Sonoma County, California as well as a pre-retreat Zoom call on Tuesday, May 14 at 6:00 PM PDT and a post-retreat Zoom calls (Date TBD). Both Zoom calls will be recorded for those who are unable to make the dates, although we highly encourage you to be with us if possible.

For those who wish, carpools will leave Berkeley early June 3rd in order to arrive to OAEC by 9:30, on time for our 10:00 start.

GROUP SIZE: Maximum Number: 16

Contact Details

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 4157068821