From the category archives:


Secrets Shared: Cover Article in Ashland Daily Tidings

by Facilitator on November 2, 2013

yaconell.tidingsThe Ashland Tidings printed a cover article this week on The Hearth Community. Nice quotes from Dee Anne Everson and Daniel Murphy on the way in which The Hearth creates compassion. You can read it here.

We are at day 51 in our 60 day fundraiser for The Hearth Community. This is a new and exciting model of a public, community approach to cultivating compassion. The more people who donate the better our chances for grants. Make your donation (no matter how small) here.

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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.

To see pictures and video from The Hearth Community and to donate and support this new venture go here.

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“What’s Your Story?” Profile in Huffington Post

by Facilitator on February 26, 2013

Craig Comstock wrote a nice article on the storytelling project Mark Yaconelli facilitates in Ashland, Oregon. There were a number of bullying incidents in Southern Oregon that involved some arrests. Mark led a storytelling evening on the theme “Bullying” and it became a way for the community to address the issue–particularly with stories from bullies as well as the bullied. You can read the article here. Craig’s hope is help expand this model to other small towns as a way of building community, eradicating shame, and creating dialogue. This storytelling project is part of the compassion formation work that we are developing at the Center for Engaged Compassion.

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Last fall I lead a workshop for the College for Pastoral Leaders at Austin Seminary on personal storytelling as a method of community transformation. Through narrative exercises, contemplative practices, and life story groups we explored ways in which personal storytelling could be used to heal shame, cultivate compassion, build inter-generational relationship, and create social transformation. The last night of the event we rented a bar and put on our own storytelling event entitled “Pastoral Confessions: True Tales from the Pulpit.” We had live music and hilarious as well as moving stories from people who work as pastors. I wrote an article based on this work for Austin Seminary’s Communitas. It’s called “The Gospel According to Everyone.” You can read it here.

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