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Wisdom from the Adese Fellowship kickoff in Boston

Bishop Yvette Flunder: "We want our monuments to preach the message of our movements. And don't look for agreement -- because agreement is not appropriate in an atmosphere of change."

We joined the Adese fellows and faculty for their opening retreat at the Old South Church in Boston, MA. Our goal was to learn with and from an emerging network of spiritual thinkers and doers who practice faith in action and spirituality that serves -- and we left with so much more.

We learned from inspiring teachers for these two days: Bishop Yvette Flunderof historic and radical City of Refuge in Oakland, CA; Rev. Dr. Patrick Dugganof the United Church of Christ's Church Building and Loan FundCasper ter Kuile of the How We Gather project; our own Rabbi Elan Babchuck, who serves as lead faculty for Adese; and every faculty, staff, and fellow who touched us with their wisdom.

We were moved by responses to this gathering from Adese Fellows, which characterize the heart of spiritual entrepreneurship:

  • “I’m not ‘bi-vocational.’ I have one vocation, I just happen to live it out in various settings. I think when we can say that, it helps us disrupt the church’s understanding of what’s ministry and what’s church.” - Rev. Dr. Marilyn Pagán-Banks

  • “Taking this retreat in has allowed me to breathe – it’s breathing in the spirit of God and exhaling the possibilities of the Divine." - Rev. Meagan McLeod

  • "The things that were said here, instead of concepts and perspectives, were things that I believed. I am fourth-generation congregational. The decline of the UCC [United Church of Christ] has been heavy on my heart. I realized that institutions and empires come and go over time. But the spirit is eternal." - Rev. Nozomi Ikuta

We were blown away by the Adese Fellows and the breadth of movements they are making, from fighting hunger while cultivating community in Chicago, to building anonprofit bakery in Atlanta that hires and celebrates refugees, to initiating nationwideCommunity Innovation Hubs in Canada that support spiritual entrepreneurs.

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