Please Join Us for a three-day invitational gathering – #WeHealTogetherNewEngland at the Warren Conference Center & Inn in Ashland, MA on Monday April 30 to Wednesday May 2.
We as host couples – Michele & Tim Breene, Doug & Adele Calhoun, Gloria & Ray Hammond, Emily & Ross Jones, and Will Keepin and Cynthia Brix – want to gather leaders from the Boston New England region to do something positive and lasting in the wake of this stunning #MeToo movement. We hope you can join us!
We invite you and representatives from a variety of organizations to join us for what we hope will be a personally and professionally transformative retreat-like experience designed to forge and accelerate new pathways of mutual healing, respect, creative collaboration and partnership across the gender divisions in society. Led by Cynthia Brix and Will Keepin and a team of inspiring, trained facilitators, our host organization Gender Equity & Reconciliation International (GERI) is leading a world wide gender reconciliation movement. It has designed a transformational tool to bring women and men together in a guided retreat experience that addresses the deeper roots of harmful gender conditioning that creates and underlies all the deluge of #MeToo stories.
In February, the Imago Dei Fund helped convene a similar gathering in Seattle with leaders of the men’s and women’s movements (See Michele and Tim Breene’s recent blog post about their experience.) We sense huge momentum to bring this to other cities this Spring in order to continue to tap into this historic moment which is still unfolding before our eyes. We are eager to foster safe spaces like this for deep listening and empathic conversation to heal and reconnect with something very basic in our humanity and in the process to help people become more aware and conscious of harmful and stubborn gender patterns which undermine our shared wellbeing and ideals of equality, justice and mutuality for all human beings.
More About the GERI Approach
The wake of revelations of systemic sexual harassment creates a liminal moment for us to come together as human beings who bear witness and embrace the painful experiences of patriarchal conditioning and oppression. We want to transform this ruinous legacy of gendered pain and injustice together as men and women. We believe profound new possibilities for beloved community can happen as gender injustice and corruption come out of the shadows and into the light. Toxic secrets, long hidden, are finally being divulged. One-sided solutions are not enough. Shame and blame will lead us nowhere. Please join us as we catch the wave of this unique moment in our cultural evolution, and begin co-creating a new pathway for women and men in society.
For the past 25 years, Gender Equity and Reconciliation International (GERI) has created safe forums to empower men and women to jointly unravel gender and sexual conditioning without blame or shame, and reclaim mutual harmony, inspiration, and reverence for each other. GERI has convened and skillfully facilitated more than 150 gatherings in nine countries, lasting three to five days each, in which thousands of women and men have deliberately brought forth their painful experiences of gender oppression and sexual violation into the open, and together we grappled with the devastating realities. Guided by the twin powers of truth and compassion, a collective healing and reconciliation process consistently unfolds. GERI’s methodology is summarized in Martin Luther King, Jr’s declaration that “Injustice and corruption will never be transformed by keeping them hidden, but only by bringing them out into the light, and confronting them with the power of love.”
Our Hopes for Our Time Together
We are inviting sincere, sensitive, and mature men and women from movements across our city and region—a diverse mix of leaders who work in a range of ministries and organizations who are interested in more effectively using your platforms to more intentionally work to restore gender balance to our world. Please join us as we confront these devastating issues with the power of love, silence, deep listening so we can become not only allies but full collaborating partners in deconstructing ruinous patriarchal privilege and gender oppression in all its forms.
We are honored to have special guests joining us: Rev. Philbert Kalisa, a pastor from Rwanda who leads an incredible post-genocide reconciliation ministry called REACH, and Rev. Laurie Gaum, a minister from South Africa who helped spearhead innovative gender reforms in his church and community. They will share key insights and connections about the process and work of racial/ethic reconciliation in their countries, and how this connects with the work of gender reconciliation. Part of the “secret sauce” of the GERI approach is bringing people together across various lines of difference to reconnect with our common humanity as gendered human beings seeking to live in peace and harmony together.
Some time after the event, we hope to convene a follow-up meeting to debrief and brain/heart-storm together about ways to move forward collaboratively to promote greater transformation and healing among and between women and men in and around Boston.
This invitational event is co-sponsored by the Imago Dei Fund and offered free of charge as a gift to you our guests. We hope you can come with a partner, spouse or a colleague or by yourself and experience this first and foremost for yourself as a human being with the hope that there will be unseen dividends for all of us in the various communities and relationships we are in.
The venue for the retreat is a convenient and ideal place to get away from our day-to-day routines to connect more deeply with ourselves and others in what we hope will feel like a sacred space. The accommodations are simple cabins with private rooms and shared baths and all meals will be provided once you arrive on Monday and until you leave on Wednesday. If you would rather have your own private room with separate bath in their hotel, you are more than welcome to book that on our own with the retreat center. Arrangements can be made to arrive early on Sunday afternoon/evening to settle in early.
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible to reserve your spot – space is limited!
If you have questions or require further information, please reach out to any of us. We will be in touch closer to the date with a more exact schedule but plan on arriving by 9 a.m on Monday, April 30th and being done by 4 pm on Weds, May 2nd.
Thank you in advance for all the work you are already doing to create a more just, gender-balanced world and for your openness to considering with us what we can do together to more proactively work together to restore gender harmony to the human family.
In grateful anticipation,
Rev. Adele & Dr. Doug Calhoun
Pastors of Spiritual Formation
Revs. Gloria & Ray Hammond
Pastors, Bethel AME Church
Tim & Michele Breene
CEO, World Relief
Senior Consultant, Development Associates International
Emily & Ross Jones
Founding Partners/Trustees, Imago Dei Fund
Will Keepin & Rev. Cynthia Brix
Co-Directors, Gender Equity & Reconciliation International