Spring Hearth Presents “Survival Stories” April 20th

Our Spring Hearth will explore the theme “Survival” with proceeds benefiting The Geos Institute a local non-profit committed to climate change solutions. Come out and practice community with us on April 20th from 7 to 9pm at Temple Emek Shalom in Ashland. Together we will listen to six local folks share a true story of survival (in ten minutes or less). Tellers include Ellie Holt, Helen Jucevic, Alan Journet, Chris Hardy, Molly McKissick, and Ginny Auer. Hosted by Cat Gould. Music by Duane Whitcomb, Wendi Stanek, and friends. $5 suggested donation. Friends we need volunteers to help set up chairs and run concessions. Please email mark@thehearthcommunity.com if you can help!

Growing Up Girl Available on KSKQ

letting goGrowing Up Girl is now available on KSKQ.ORG! Four hundred people came out to hear six local woman tell creative, compelling, vulnerable stories of growing up female. Now you can hear the stories and the music from last night’s event at KSKQ. The evening will be broadcast Saturday, December 10th at 2pm or go to the following  link and download. A special thank you to storytellers Julie Gillis, Jessica De Nova, Alicia Hwang, Lora Phillippi, Ana Byers, and Nancy Linton. Also grateful to Ava DeRosier, Kimberly StarKey, Daisy Schmeling, Grace and Joseph Yaconelli for music.

“Growing Up Girl” for December 8th Hearth Gathering!

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Our winter Hearth event will seek to counter some of the misogyny present within the rhetoric of the recent presidential campaign by focusing on the stories of women. Titled “Growing Up Girl,” six local women will share personal stories of growing up female. Proceeds from the event will benefit Stories Alive–an arts-integrated literacy instruction organization in Southern Oregon. Storytellers include Julie Gillis, Teresa Cisneros, Ana Byers, Nancy Linton, and Alicia Hwang. Our December 8th Hearth event will happen from 7 to 9pm at Temple Emek Shalom(1800 E. Main St.) in Ashland, Oregon. This event is open to all ages. Please bring your sons and daughters!

Hopes, Fears, and Tears: A Special Hearth Post-Election Conversation

2016-04-09-16-21-09It started with a series of messages from local community members asking The Hearth to hold a gathering to help people process their fears following the November 8th, presidential election. Mark Yaconelli posted an announcement inviting the community to gather for “Hopes, Fears, and Tears” a post-election conversation. People from across the political spectrum were encouraged to attend. Over 200 people showed up at First Presbyterian Church in Ashland. After a Leonard Cohen song by Gene Burnett, Mark invited people to get into groups of four. Participants were told the evening would be a time of listening, not political debate. Questions would be asked and each participant invited to respond with other group members simply listening (without interruption, or questions, or debate). When a person finished speaking, the other members of the group were asked to respond simply by saying, “Thank you,” then the next group member would share their experience.

There were four questions that people were asked to respond to: Continue reading

We Are UCC: Community Shares Stories of Kindness

susan-rochesterThe Hearth produced a special event at Umpqua Community College to help the healing process in Douglas County following the one year anniversary of the shooting at Umpqua Community College. Six local community members shared stories of generosity, kindness, and compassion that took place in the wake of the tragedy. This was the culmination of a one year project directed by Hearth founder Mark Yaconelli that used a variety of story collection strategies to promote healing following the trauma of the shooting. You can read about the live storytelling event here.

True Tales of Kindness in Wake of October 1 Tragedy at Umpqua Community College

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Two weeks after the horrific shooting at Umpqua Community College in which nine were killed and nine wounded, Mark Yaconelli was contacted by The Ford Family Foundation. “In the midst of the shock and pain of the October 1, 2015 tragedy, there was this generous, creative, compassionate response by local community members. The question was could The Hearth design a project that would collect and archive these stories so that the memory of this tragedy wasn’t only the violence and grief, but also the many acts of generosity and kindness that sought to bring healing.”

The Umpqua Story Project was formed with the purpose of providing compassionate settings where people across the Umpqua Valley could share their experiences of kindness in the wake of the tragedy. The project trained fifteen volunteers in compassionate listening, set up tables in coffee shops, libraries, schools and other public spaces across Douglas County and invited people to share their responses to the shooting at UCC. In addition to providing opportunities for the public to record their experiences, the project sent out staff members to record stories from individuals who had reacted to the tragedy with particular generosity and creativity. Continue reading

A Trip To The Jungle

[On May 10th I sent out a Facebook message seeking to raise $750 to help purchase supplies to help refugees in Calais. I had been invited by The Church in Wales to go and collect stories from refugees for an upcoming event in North Wales. I did not want to arrive empty-handed so I procured a van and asked The Hearth Community to make donations to purchase food. Within twelve hours over $1600 had been raised. Enough to purchase needed proteins (canned fish, beans) and vegetables/fruits (tomatoes, mandarin oranges). Thank you to everyone who gave generously! Here are my reflections on the trip.]

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We were five men from North Wales: a welder, a carpenter, a government planner, a vicar, and me, the lone American. We had procured two vans and filled them with food, lumber, plastic tarps, fire extinguishers, construction tape, and other supplies. We were taking time from work and home to help displaced people in Calais, France. And the feeling? The feeling was good. It felt good to try and do something right, something useful. It felt good to follow the most basic of human impulses—to share what you have with someone who has little. Spirits were high. We shared music we loved, remembered epic concerts we had attended. We smiled while describing our children, talked admiringly of our spouses. We told stories of adventures we’d had in other countries—a speeding ticket in Death Valley, a bar fight in Belfast, a dangerous sheep outside of Liverpool. We were on a mission. We were doing something that mattered. Hearts awake, spirits high, the mind clear with purpose. Continue reading