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Virtual 2021 ESR and Bethany Seminary Ministry of Writing Colloquium: Grace, Play, Delight
Ft. Carrie Newcomer and Pádraig O’Tuama
Grace, Play, Delight: If those words were friends, we’d wonder why they never called anymore. But to cope with an ongoing pandemic and confront our era’s injustices, we need to hear from them. We could also use a visit from their friends, joy and beauty.
Date: Friday, October 22, 2021 (8:00PM) & October 23, 2021 (8:30AM – 7:30PM)
Ticketing: This is an entirely virtual event hosted via online platforms, a first for the ESR Writing Colloquium! We ask participants to pay what they are able.
- Recommended payment for a single session: $20
- Recommended payment for the entire event: $50
Although no payment is necessary to attend, registration is required.
Schedule (All times are in EST)
Friday, October 22, 2021 (8:00PM)
An evening with Carrie Newcomer
Saturday, October 23, 2021 (8:30AM – 7:30PM)
- (8:30AM) – Zoom opens
- (8:45AM – 8:55AM) – Optional Silent Worship
- (9:00AM – 10:45AM) – Lis Valle , Why Play? Divine Delight Inspiring Theopoetics and Theological Writing
- (10:45AM – 11:00AM) – Break
- (11:00AM – 12:30PM) – Workshop Session 1 (see options below)
- (12:30PM – 1:45PM) – Lunch /Hang-out (open Zoom session)
- (1:45PM – 3:15PM) – Workshop Session 2 (see options below)
- (3:30PM – 5:00PM) – Workshop Session 3 (see options below)
- (6:00PM – 7:30PM) – Pádraig Ó Tuama
An evening with Carrie Newcomer (Friday, October 22, 2021, 8:00PM)
Livestream performance. Dubbed a “prairie mystic” by the Boston Globe, Carrie has 19 albums and three books of poetry to her credit. This fall, she will release “Until Now” (Available Light). Carrie is a Quaker and well known in the Earlham community. She has performed on campus multiple times and is mother of a 2005 Earlham College graduate.
Lis Valle, Why Play? Divine Delight Inspiring Theopoetics and Theological Writing (Saturday, October 23, 2021, 9:00AM – 10:45AM)
Is there such a thing as a theology of play? How may theology frame grace, play, and delight as sources for writing? How may we write about theological grace, play, and delight? Show up and accept the challenge to co-create a plenary session around the connections between Grace, play, delight, joy, beauty, writing and otherwise generating and sharing theological knowledge.
Pádraig O’Tauma (Saturday, October 23, 2021, 6:00PM – 7:30PM)
Host of the podcast Poetry Unbound with On Being Media, Padraig’s work encompasses hosting storytelling events, peacemaking, publishing poems, and co-authoring (with Glenn Jordan) the book Borders & Belonging: The Book of Ruth — A Story for Our Times (Canterbury Press, 2021).
Each workshop leader will be available for both session 1 & 2
Mini-retreat 1: Telling Our Story in Song: An Experiment in Online Community Songwriting
Workshop session 1
Can one of Carrie’s favorite workshops come to life online? There’s only one way to find out! Based on Carrie’s fast-paced and playful community songwriting retreat, participants will partner with Carrie to write a song in real-time. Without requiring any musical experience, the workshop will move through the songwriting process: choosing a topic, creating the language, and moving the language into music form. In person, the group would sing the song together at the end. On Zoom? We’re still kinda figuring that out. Getting to delight means risking uncertainty; it’s more fun together.
Mini-retreat 2: The Beautiful Not Yet: The Practice of Hope In Hard Times
Workshop session 2
Living into a sustainable hope is getting a bead on a true north and then walking toward it, living into love is a daily practice, our work for a better, kinder world is an orientation not a destination. That’s the starting point for this retreat, which explores how we maintain hope and sustain vision during times of individual and community challenge. In a time of continued uncertainty, division, and weariness, staying present to daily moments of beauty and delight is not a luxury but a necessity. Living into a sustainable kind of hope is not as a destination, but a daily orientation. Carrie will use music, poetry, reflective writing, and small and large group conversation to explore the personal stories and practices that keeps us resilient and help us to stay centered in daily, life-giving action. Participants will consider the things that have helped them maintain hope in the past and how to access them, as well as what new practices might be possible in our present circumstances. Be ready to write, on paper or on your computer.
Paul Kareen Tayyar – In Praise of Ordinary Things
Workshop sessions 2 & 3
From the work of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson onward, the praise poem has been a mainstay of American poetry, and for good reason: it is a form that lends itself to prioritizing the intimate, the personal, and the spiritual in a manner that eschews dogma and sweeping generalizations. This workshop will focus on the necessary components that comprise a good praise poem, which include an attention to detail, an original narrative voice, and an embrace of the transcendent beauty to be found in life’s ordinary experiences.
Paul Kareem Tayyar’s most recent books are “Let Us Now Praise Ordinary Things” (Arroyo Seco Press, 2021) and “Immigrant Songs” (WordTech, 2019). Previous works of his include “The Prince of Orange County” (Pelekinesis, 2018), which received the Eric Hoffer Prize for Young Adult Fiction. His essays, poetry, and fiction have been published in a wide variety of journals, including Alaska Quarterly Review, Arkansas Review, Brilliant Corners, Prairie Schooner, and The Writer’s Almanac. He is a Professor of English at Golden West College in Huntington Beach, California, and he holds a Ph.D. in literature from U.C. Riverside.”
Amy Lyles Wilson (M.A., M.T.S.) – “Coming Home”
Workshop sessions 1 & 3
Sometimes we’re so busy listening to what society has in mind for us that we neglect our own journeys. Earning a living, chasing a dream, caring for loved ones, suffering a loss. Any of life’s challenges—and we’ve all got them, regardless of our station in life—can steer us away from the truest desires of our hearts. Then one day we wake up and discover we’re not where we thought we’d be. How did that happen, we ask? Please join us for this expressive writing workshop, where we’ll engage with prompts, readings, and reflections designed to help us write our way home: to ourselves, to God, to the human condition. You needn’t consider yourself a writer to join us. You just need to honor your voice and follow your heart.
Amy Lyles Wilson is a writer, story coach, and spiritual director who believes it’s the sharing of our stories that saves us. Toward that end, she encourages and equips people to get to the heart of the matter through a variety of creative and spiritual practices. From writing to SoulCollage®, art journaling to meditation, Amy Lyles celebrates the life that can be found at the intersection of creativity and spirituality. She has co-authored or contributed to eight books and various periodicals, taught writing at the Earlham School of Religion, and facilitated workshops at the Chautauqua Institution, St. Mary’s-Sewanee, and Escape to Create (Seaside, Florida). Visit Amy’s website.
Lis Valle – The Power of Divine Play
Workshop sessions 2 & 3
Drawing on her theater formal and experiential education and experience, Lis Valle-Ruiz shares how improv games can create social connections in times of social distancing, mediate God’s Grace, and nurture spirituality. Participants will learn by doing. Come ready to play! Be open to spiritually grow through play! Let play nurture your writing!
Rev. Lis Valle-Ruiz is Assistant Professor of Homiletics and Worship and Director of Community Worship Life at McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, IL. She earned her PhD in Homiletics and Liturgics from Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, where she also studied gender and sexuality. Lis holds a BA in education with a major in theater. She has been playing and doing theater her whole life playing many roles that include actress, playwright, theater teacher, creative worship designer, artistic director, producer, retreat director, performer, improviser…. Play and prayer guide her scholarly and theopoetic work geared towards nurturing Divine connections between humans and God, other humans, self, and the Earth.
Majority of this event will be hosted via Zoom. You do not need to have an account to access this event. You will receive zoom links from ESR upon registration.
An evening with Carrie Newcomer will be hosted via Mandolin. You will receive information on how to receive this link upon registration.
The Writing Colloquium is co-sponsored by Bethany Theological Seminary and it supports the writing and work of the joint Master of Arts in Theopoetics and Writing that is offered by both institutions. If you are interested in learning more about this or other ESR programs, fill out the ESR request more information form to get connected with us as a prospective student. If you are interested in learning more about this or other ESR programs, fill out the BTS request more information form to get connected with us as a prospective student.
View the Bethany Theological Seminary website