The “Genius of Place”


Rainbow’s annual retreat took place the last weekend of September.  It has been a favorite event over the years and so I was sorry to miss it this time.  While many Rainbow congregants gathered at the campgrounds in LaCygne to reflect on the church’s outdoor spaces, Greg and I also attended a nature retreat of sorts with approximately 1000 other folks at the Land Institute in Salina.  Celebrating founder, Wes Jackson, and his 40 years of leadership, this weekend gathering of scientists, authors, artists, and advocates felt both academic and at times, spiritual.  My mind frequently wandered to Rainbow.

The central focus of the Land Institute is on developing a regenerative agricultural model, but folks here work through a broad lens and the messages I heard over and over reinforced the necessity of examining the natural spaces and rhythms around us as well as our practices, our relationships – our entire “ecosphere”.  “Consulting the genius of place” was a recurring theme and it resonated strongly with my understanding of our stated goals for WorshipArts.

*Fostering relationship/a sense of belonging

*Facilitating authentic participation in the worship service

*Encouraging reflection and response to worship

*Integrating what we learn from the children’s perspectives into the broader context

This past Sunday Tara Lindahl joined the WorshipArts leadership team!  Some of the children recognized her from the wonderful storytelling she has often provided during worship services at Children’s Time.  We are excited to explore with her in a new context!  What a gift she will be to this initiative where as adults we are working to embody our role, “…not as a transmitter but as a creator of relationship – relationships not only between people, but also between things, between thoughts, and with the environment.”  (Loris Malaguzzi, Reggio Emilia founder)