Monday, October 11, 2010

Church of the Tallgrass, and more

Hi all.

News and Views From Around Here...

First, here is the link to the magazine article on our missional community that was published online at: Thanks for it. Thanks for all who have been working here over the years to prepare the soil for what we do, as we are doing the same for those who will come after us, keeping it from ever being fully abandoned, and reminding the world that God has not abandoned Turley/NorthTulsa even if the American Empire of Consumerism has, and even if so many in so many ways turn away. Thanks to author Don Skinner, and all at UU World, thanks to the Tulsa area UU churches, Hope and All Souls and Restoration for helping us in different ways to realize our vision and keep dreaming, and to the Massachusetts Evangelical and Missionary Society, and to Christian colleagues and churches of many denominations or none, for inspiration and support as we try to plant missional seeds of hope and real change where so many others are pulling out, and for the Zarrow Foundation drawing on the Jewish tradition for its transformational partnerships and giving back. So much still to do; hope you will find ways to partner with us.

This past weekend...

We had a great Sunday, (after a great Saturday in mission work here with residents and with OU social work students and State Rep. Seneca Scott, exploring and teaching how communities rise and fall and can rise again in new ways), as we took a trip up to Pawhuska to view the Cathedral of the Osage, and go through the meditation garden there, and then on to the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve. Sharing about it later we mentioned how our missional community of faithfulness is similar to the Tallgrass Preserve; like it we are a small part witnessing to what once was, preserving a way of walking freely with Jesus in service to others and with others that once in the early days as the church was forming was the mainstream way. We are a small group in a time of bigness, turning inside out in a time when people are turning in among themselves and in to themselves, and away from those who are different from them.

Like the Tallgrass Prairie we are a Church on the Edge; the tallgrass preserve is where the plains and the eastern woodlands meet and where such diversity grows; we are here in an urban, rural, small town edge, located just across from the city limits where so many services and grant possibilities end; we are on the edge of both religious freedom and the particular path of Jesus. We aren't like most churches whether they are Christian or not; we aren't like most UU churches; not like most UU Christian churches; not like most Christian missional churches which are more creedal based. But we also, because of all this, can find ourselves connected in some way to so many communities. Like the Tallgrass Preserve, we have a mission to be sustainable, to be a home for a wide diversity of life, and to be a beacon to others of how they can do something similar in their own yards, and neighborhoods. Like the prairie, we know that fires of change are healthy and necessary; we need to periodically burn away the invasive species that have taken hold and would destroy the native Tallgrass if left unchecked, in order to grow more diversely; and so we will be re-envisioning much and need all the dreams of many especially as we begin to make the changes into our new environment at the new building. What shape will we take, to continue shaping our lives and our community? Nothing new to report on the building, just doing all the legal real estate closing work, and on all the vandalism that hit it, but stay tuned for when we will be able to close the purchase, and begin the work of cleaning and transforming it. Same goes for the work underway at our Welcome Table Garden Kitchen Park; waiting for the old structures to be cleared then we will begin holding great volunteer service mission days, and community parties, to celebrate and to construct and plant.

coming events:

This Tuesday, at 6:30 pm, we will be having a free diversity monthly movie and pizza night in honor of the National Coming Out Day today, and especially in light of all the recent suicides by teenagers who are gay and lesbian and the victims of bullying and hate. These are not always easy conversations and presentations to have, especially in public common spaces like ours in areas where few support the struggle for affirmation regardless of sexual orientation. We are usually the only North Tulsa area organization reflected in the annual Gay Rights Parade downtown. On nights like tomorrow night we want to show that this is a part of how we welcome all of our community that welcomes all, and that it is part of our core value of reconciliation, one of our 3Rs along with relocation and redistribution. We aren't sure exactly what the movie will be, but it will be on this theme.

Sunday Oct. 17 I will still be in Dallas for the UU Christian Fellowship Revival. Come support our worship time, see how it happens even without me there, and how you will be inspired and refreshed by God's spirit for God's service.

It isn't too late to come join in Revival and Retreat either for the full Thursday through Sunday events or just for Friday and/or Saturday events at Horizon UU Church in Carrollton, Texas. Go to for all the Revival news and updates...

On Friday, Oct. 22 at 8:40 am I will be giving the keynote speech at Social Work Day held at the University of Oklahoma in Norman at the Weather Center building, a talk on the "pragmatics of collaboration" in our story here, which means the miracles and the failures, the seeds and struggles, the steep learning curve of working with others of many backgrounds to renew community, empower residents, grow healthy lives and neighborhoods.

On Saturday, Oct. 30 from 6 to 8 pm our Annual Halloween Community Festival and Celebration at A Third Place Center, 6514 N. Peoria Ave.

Oh and keep up with things at, and

Thanks and blessings and more soon,

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