Oregon Shakespearean actor Eduardo Placer, horse trainer Tedi Tate, Providence Hospital chaplain Fred Grewe, and world renown fiddler Kevin Carr have all joined Mary Landberg and Renee Miereanu, as storytellers for “Temporary Insanity” this Thursday, June 19th from 7 to 9pm. Duane Whitcomb has pulled together an incredible group of musicians including blues duo Joseph Seamons and Benjamin Hunter from Seattle (fiddle and banjo) and sweetheart singer-songwriter Madeline Schmidt from Medford (who stole the show last summer) as well as others. The Hearth is still only $5 and all proceeds will be given to the crisis helpline at Community Works in Medford.

A big THANKS to the Ashland Coop for sponsoring our summer Hearth event.

Make sure you gather your friends and walk, bike, or carpool (lets reduce our carbon footprint and leave the parking to those who truly need it) this Thursday night for another beautiful gathering.


It was a full house for The Hearth’s Holiday Fundraiser. Over $2000 was raised for The Hearth Community. After a reception with mulled wine, hot cider, winter ale and home baked goods (thank you Jill Yaconelli), the evening opened with Lisa Spencer, Karen Wennlund, and Isabel Enns singing the very funny “The Christians and the Pagans.” Then Jennifer Margulis told a story of mishaps, reunions, and awakenings as she hauled her family to Niger after winning a Fulbright. Elementary school teacher Matt Damon stepped up next to share on of The Hearth’s greatest hits–the adventures and lessons of growing up in Gardner, Mass. Our third teller, Tonya Graham, told a deeply heartfelt story of how she fell in love and adopted seven Haitian children as a single woman. Tonya had one of the best closing lines ever: “People ask me why I decided to adopt 7 children as a single woman. The truth is I never planned to adopt children….I just fell in love. And when you fall in love with someone, if you can, you try and bring them home.”

The second half of the event began with Lisa Spencer singing “I Don’t Want to Live on the Moon” followed by Angela Decker reading a poem “Salmon Crossing” from her new book Splendid Catastrophe (pre-order you copy now). Mark Yaconelli then told three stories to illustrate the vision (Telling, Listening, Acting) for the new Hearth Community. Our final song was by Wendi Stanek who sang Patty Griffin’s Coming Home to Me. Mark Yaconelli ended the night by encouraging people to commit to claiming this community as home by committing to one act of service in the coming year.

We had a terrific crew of volunteers (Thank you Will Sherman, Maura Hayes, Joanna Niemann, Michael Niemann, Patty Ferrell, Mark DiRienzo, Owen DiRienzo, Ben Bellinson, Jill Yaconelli, Noah Yaconelli, Joseph and Grace Yaconelli, Wendi Stanek, Duane Whitcomb and others who just jumped in and helped when needed)

THERE ARE ONLY 7 DAYS LEFT IN OUR INDIEGOGO FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN. If you can, please make a donation right here…and/or sign up as a volunteer and help us with publicity, events, and communication. You sign up to volunteer by emailing Mark at myaconelli@cst.edu.

To stay updated make sure you “like” us on facebook and send your email address to Mark Yaconelli at myaconelli@cst.edu to receive announcements and a special copy of one of our holiday stories from our last event.




The Ashland Tidings printed a cover article this week on The Hearth Community. Nice quotes from Dee Anne Everson and Daniel Murphy on the way in which The Hearth creates community. You can read it here. 

We are at day 9 in our 60 day fundraiser for The Hearth Community. The more people who donate the better our chances for grants. Make your donation (no matter how small) here.

Due to conflicts with two SOU community events (authors Cornel West and Frank Schaefer will each be speaking on Thursday, October 17th), the fall Hearth personal storytelling event, “Crime and Punishment,” has been postponed to October 24th. We have a great lineup: a judge, a policewoman, a court interpreter, and folks who have done time in county jail, as well as state and federal prison. A very rich night of stories. Cost is $5 and all proceeds will go to On Track addiction recovery in Medford. Great local music and hosted by Mark Yaconelli at Temple Emek Shalom in Ashland from 7 to 9pm. Get there early to get a good seat.


Save the date for our next Hearth event scheduled for Thursday, October 17th from 7 to 9pm at Temple Emek Shalom in Ashland, Oregon. If you have a story that fits the theme (prison. jail. court system. wrong-doing. arrest. prosecution. wrong accusation. victim. punishment.) please contact Mark at yaconelli@msn.com. All proceeds from event will go to On Track addiction recovery programs in Medford, Oregon. More information in coming weeks…