Friday, December 18, 2009

Thanksgiving Day, 2009

I am surprising myself this Thanksgiving Day by being “at home,” more or less in Frederick.

The extensive remodeling underway at my house, also the home of our non-profit’s Harpers’ Ferry Retreat Center, has brought me to sojourn awhile here. Now for the first time since I was little I am truly experiencing what it means to be a part of a community life; Frederick is that for me.

Passionate as I am about doing what I can to help build healthy communities; thinking global, acting local, once I got somewhat settled in here, I engaged some of the Small “Zones Of Peace” Conversations volunteers in several new projects. We had just recently presented our “Third Annual Abkhazian Dinner” on behalf of the Season For Non-Violence,” an annual event series presented by Frederick County community interfaith and peace organizations. Check it out at

Now it was time to move our project forward to its next phase of emergence. Rewarding as that event had been, it seemed there was a next appropriate step for our Small “Zones of Peace” Conversation’s Project in Frederick. After carefully considering several options, we decided to embark on a unity building and related fundraising campaign effort with the Centennial Memorial United Methodist Church. That project engaged us for nearly seven months, closely involving us with two congregations operating in one church.

The opportunity turned out to be quite an adventure, affording us a wide range of opportunities within which to showcase our coaching, consulting, community development and conversations programs. What I loved best – and I did love it -- was our successfully bringing together diverse factions within the church.

During our time with this church, we presented three conversation programs, held numerous organizing meetings, helped to create and activate committees and committee chairs and guided creative problem solving meetings for the “Saving Centennial Mission.”

To date this effort has been the singularly most joyous one for me since the Small “Zones Of Peace” Project began in 2006, giving us much opportunity to provide the full range of gifts, talents, services and programs that make up our project. The process and the results were so awesome I now have volumes to say and write about the experience and the people with whom we worked, especially the two pastors.

My appreciation to the senior pastor, Pastor George Earle, Jr. whose love, dedication and vision invited us into the project is boundless for the opportunity his church provided us to showcase what we are able to do to effectively alter the system of a group through our coaching, consulting and conversation programs. 

Among the rewards of doing this program it showcased some of what our project does best; dinner and conversation to help a participating audience build bridges of unity. I love how we guided that process and how our participants brought it to fruition; “building community unity through conversations.”

With mixed feelings, however, the Small “Zones Of Peace” Project needed to move on, again. The invitation letter that follows describes what our next steps turned out to be; we are now off and running to create a “Community-Wide Community Conversations” effort!

Stay tuned in for what’s happening next.

And, join our online conversation to help us develop it. Happy Holidays,

Anastasia New Horizons’ Small “Zones Of Peace” Project Executive Director and Founder

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