Everyone’s talking about what churches and faith communities need to look like in today’s world. What’s next? What new models or forms of community might we need to be thinking about as we continue to reach out to the “nones” and those who don’t naturally look to their local church for connection and meaning.
One of the many joys of my time in Ashland was getting to know Mark Yaconelli as a friend and co-conspirator. I’d heard Mark at Youth Specialties events in the past, but I got to know him better while I was in Ashland. He was very supportive of the creation of the Ashland Youth Collective, and the night he facilitated Theology Pub, we had our largest turnout ever (about 50 people).
If you spend any time around Mark, you know he loves stories, and is a great storyteller himself. So it seems pretty natural that he would create a storytelling community in Southern Oregon. The Hearth Community is an amazing event: storytellers from members of the community, local music, support for local non-profits. Its success points to the fact that people are hungry for community, just in new ways. Their last event had over 300 people show up to a synagogue for an evening of sharing, storytelling, listening, music and community building.
The Hearth Community has just launched a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo to raise $12,000. Here is a bit of what their hopes and dreams are:
We are asking for your financial support to develop the Hearth as a new model of community-building in Southern Oregon. Since 2010, the Hearth has attracted over two thousand audience members, experienced over one hundred local storytellers, and enjoyed music by over eighty local musician–all while raising funds and support for eighteen different non-profits in our area.
A community is more than its buildings and geography. The heart and soul of a community is its people. The stronger the relationship between people in a particular place, the stronger the community. The more we know one another, the greater meaning we feel, the greater our capacity to address problems, the greater resources we have to heal suffering. This is what the Hearth knows how to do. This is why we need your support.
I’d encourage you to support them and the wonderful work they’re doing. I’m also incredibly interested in seeing about the possibility of what an event like this would look like here in Chicagoland. I think what Mark is doing with The Hearth has great potential for Southern Oregon and beyond. Here’s a link for more information. And you can Like them on Facebook here, and follow their blog here.