Pages Navigation Menu

CLAY 2018: Thunder Bay

Post-CLAY Wrap Up

I often describe the experience of leaving CLAY as a sort of “coming down from the mountaintop,” but three days post-CLAY, I’m still feeling inspired, humbled, and awed by everything we saw, heard, and experienced in Thunder Bay. As we settle back into our regular routines at home, we can begin to unpack and unravel our CLAY experiences. In this blog post, I will provide a general recap of the CLAY 2018 theme, Threads. Of course, I can’t begin to do justice to all of the stories we heard at CLAY, the wonderful Story Weaver Rev. Steve Greene, or the inspiring Storytellers Jenny Salisbury, Pastor Lindsey Jorgensen-Skakum, and Beatrice Twance-Hynes! Threads was centred around the following ideas and questions:

“We will learn how to discern our own God-given stories. We will learn to listen to the sacred stories of others, even when they seem very different from our own. Are there common threads in our stories? How is God working to weave our stories together? Can we learn to see the pattern of God’s promise woven through all of these stories?”

The five Large Group Gatherings (LGGs) were centred around five themes: “Tangled”, “Unravelling”, “Patterns”, “The Weave”, and “Unfinished”. Education sessions led by KAIROS and the Storytellers complemented the LGG themes. Three ideas introduced in the first LGG were central to all of these activities: God’s voice is present in our stories, we are all storytellers, and we can all tend to other people’s stories. Throughout the Gathering, there were opportunities to share our own stories and practice tending to the stories of others, with fellow Home Team members, strangers, and new friends. Some stories were funny, some were sad, and some were surprising, but all stories taught us how to see the world from a different perspective.

In the second LGG, storyteller Jenny Salisbury shared stories about times when things in her life were unravelling. Unravelling can be freeing, terrifying, or both at once, but God is always present. In “Patterns,” storyteller Beatrice Twance-Hynes shared her story of re-claiming and re-connecting with her Indigenous culture and heritage, and passing that knowledge on to her children and grandchildren. Pastor and Storyteller Lindsey Jorgensen-Skakum spoke about the importance of tending (respecting and listening) to the stories of others and using stories to build bridges and find common ground. In “The Weave,” Pastor Lindsey shared their story of moving from a place of fear to a place of love, hope, and acceptance.

At the final LGG, “Unfinished”, Rev. Steve “passed the baton” from the storytellers to CLAY attendees, directing us to go back into our congregations and communities, tell our stories, welcome others, and listen to their stories. After CLAY, we should continue to tend to the stories we heard, speak truth to power, and show the world that all are loved and wanted in the community of Christ.

Hannah Shirtliff
Specialist Home Team Leader