Discernment works, and through the voices of many we find God’s direction. I am convinced of that as I sit here this morning reading through the many rich and varied responses to our newsletter about the damage at the Mustard Seed Village.
Thank you for all of you who responded with sympathy and encouragement to our plight and for the many who took time not to only pray, but to send us your thoughts and sense of God’s direction for us. We are extremely grateful for the Mustard Seed community around the world and the commitment to us that this has shown.
Discernment At Work
First we appreciate your affirmation of the pathway of discernment and reconciliation that we have chosen. This type of process is at the center of who we are as an organization and we are encouraged by your recognition of that. We have been deeply influenced and shaped by the Quaker listening process and seek to incorporate that in all that we do.
I pin my hopes on the quiet processes & small circles in which vital & transforming events take place. — 19th century Quaker, Rufus Jones
Several people commented that our question, “What would a gospel reconciler do?” was a very compelling one for them to grapple with in their own situation. Some reminded me of the meditation I posted several weeks ago encouraging us to “stay close to the cracks” because it is here that the light shines through. Thank you for the light that you are shining through the cracks in our situation. Out of this process came many other words of wisdom including these words from Deb Burger.
A Clear Vision For Our Building
Your responses made us realize that we have not clearly articulated our vision for this building. Yes it is a symbol of future hope as we look forward to the completion of a residential facility that we call the Mustard Seed Village. But it is far more than that. This building will become the Mustard Seed Centre for Imagination and Innovation.
What MSA has done well historically is inspirepeople to think beyond the status quo, to a brighter future characterized by shalom. We then connectpeople to create communities of re-imagination and collaboration. In these gatherings, we help people to create new ways of living as the people of God, both in the present and with an eye to future challenges.
The completion of this building will enable us to do just that. Located on this beautiful tree-covered property, which encourages discernment and reflection, it will enable us to inspire, connect and create in new ways. We will hold regular faith-based workshops on innovation and creativity; host seminars on sustainability and permaculture; experiment with new models of gardening, housing and business, as well as hold more regular spiritual retreats.
Establish Presence On The Land
The other message that comes through loud and clear is the need to establish presence on the land. This, we realize, has several components to it:
- First, we need to establish more of a sense of belonging in the local community. Brandon Bailey, pastor of Tidelands Church on Camano Island, commented that perhaps if there was a greater sense of how the project is “blessed to be a blessing” and worked out in a visible way among the neighbors, there would be less resentment. He is right.Because none of the MSA team live on the island or are involved with local churches and community groups, it is very hard for the Camano community to feel we belong. We hope in the near future to bring together a group of Camano residents who will help us rectify this. We would love to discover what dreams and hopes local people might have for this property and how it could really be a blessing to the community.
- Second, we need someone living permanently on the property. This would not only cut down the opportunities for vandalism but also make facilitating events at our new center easier and provide new ways for us to connect to the local community. We are looking into possible temporary solutions that would make this possible fairly soon and appreciate your continued prayers as we seek a way to make this a reality.As a first step, several have suggested surveillance cameras and motion lights, which we plan to install, but we are concerned that this could alienate rather than reconcile with those who are responsible for the vandalism. It is not a good alternative to someone living on the property.Because of the vandalism we will not replace the windows or complete this important building until the infra structure is complete and we have someone living on the land. We will also work with island residents to identify the culprits while also looking for a local organization that works in restorative justice so than when the perpetrators are caught we can continue our reconciling work.
- Third, holding more regular collaborative events would make the establishing of our Center for Imagination and Innovation possible. I am amazed at how many individuals and groups responded with requests to camp on the property, or hold workshops and other events. We believe that part of the pathway forward lies in identifying and networking with others who share part of our vision and are interested in collaborating. It is encouraging to see how many of the MSA community want to help make this happen.
We Cannot Do This Alone
It is obvious that our dream for an MSA Center for Imagination and Innovation will not happen alone. Here is how you can help this happen:
- First we need people. Will you help us establish a presence on this land? Perhaps you know of someone who would like to coordinate the ongoing construction. Would you like to be MSA’s representative on Camano? Or would you like to collaborate with us on future events?
- Second we need resources. To establish a permanent presence and use this property as the Center for Imagination and Innovation we believe God intends it to be, we need to complete the infrastructure. Would you help us do that?
If any of these possibilities stir a positive response within you, please let us know, and let’s continue the discussion.
The financial needs to complete the infrastructure on the land are as follows:
Well pump and water to the site
Access road construction
Utilities (power and communications)
Total site work
Thank you for your ongoing participation as we move forward to establish the Mustard Seed Center for Imagination and Innovation on Camano Island.