Since 2010, Mark Yaconelli has been developing a new model of community-building in Southern Oregon entitled “The Hearth Community.” Four times a year Mark chooses a theme and then invites six local community members to share a true story, told first-person, in ten minutes or less, based on the theme. In-between stories there is live music and the evening ends with a reflection from Mark on the meaning revealed in the stories. It costs $5 to attend each gathering and all the proceeds are given to a local non-profit that connects to the evening’s subject. Past themes include, “Crime and Punishment,” “Letting-Go,” “Tough Lessons,” and “Tales from the Teenage Years.”
The Hearth Community has now launched as a new model for community-building for small and mid-size communities throughout Oregon and beyond. What’s particularly interesting about this model is the way in which compassion is cultivated through creating intimate settings in which people can share their experiences with their neighbors in a way that is honest and open. This may be a new model of community-building that could replace dying civic and religious institutions. To read the article in the Ashland Tidings (“Secret’s Shared”) go here. To read blogger Adam Walker Cleaveland’s take on The Hearth Community as a new model of spiritual community go here.