National Gathering 2019 Great Intentions

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Great Intentions for the Road Ahead

by Wendi Bernau

After all that had been absorbed at National Gathering 2019, all the friendships and connections nurtured, all the conversations and stories shared, all the good food and fun and creativity, all the time taken for reflection and intention, it becomes time to ask: how are we doing now, weeks later, as regular life has returned to us in full force?

As part of the Open Space time, I asked our participants to continue their learnings and reflections by adding sticky notes to our banner - what questions did you ask, what do you want to remember or commit to, what inspired you? and so on. These stickies (many of which you have seen over the course of these Spotlight articles) have reflected all the fabulous memories and take-aways from the National Gathering.

At the last session of Open Space, I asked everyone to consider, as they go back to regular life: what commitments will you make? What inspirations do you desire to keep close with you as you go? There was a delightful variety of responses from very general to very specific. So here, in the after-weeks of our time together, I wonder: what would it look like to check in and ask, “have you been able to take these steps, make these changes, keep these commitments?” There is no judgment; I’m just curious (and maybe a little nosy) that way. How’s everybody being?

There are no names attached so I cannot check up on you individually, but I sure hope to see each and every one of you (and some new friends too) at next year’s National Gathering. Save the date: April 23-25, 2020 in Dallas at the Mix. We have a place prepared for you.

Community Voices: Jana Strukova

"I have not encountered the concept of open space before. When the invitation came for an audience to offer a conversational topic and moderate a subsequent conversation around it, people took an initiative and suggested a plethora of topics. It was not an impulsive gesture; rather one could see that people who suggested topics lingered with them, pondered them and were ready to share their thoughts with others...For me open space modeled the practice of conversation-not merely as a logical, rationalistic reflection on the concept; but rather as a binding practice of exchanging vulnerabilities but also hopes and alternative ways to fulfill calling in God’s Kingdom."