Friday, September 11, 2009
New Structure and Passion for Emergent Village
Big changes have been afoot at Emergent Village over the past few months, and Julie and I have both been an active part of them (especially Julie). This letter was sent out a few days ago (along with this video) to the friends of Emergent Village, detailing the new structure of Emergent Village, as well as its renewed vision and hope for the future.

Greetings!

You may remember back in April that a number of people invested in Emergent Village gathered in Washington, D.C., to discuss the future of this conversation. In May that group of 24 shared our stories from the weekend and expressed our hopes for what is to come. With the previous EV leadership ready to step down, this was a prime opportunity to take stock of where Emergent Village has been over the past decade. Over the past few months those of us who gathered in D.C. have been discerning carefully and thoroughly where God is calling us together. Though we are by no means finished dreaming for the future of the Village, here’s our summary of the process thus far.

In our recent conversations we distinguished four recurring emphases to guide the way we structure the Village: collaboration, distribution, transparency and localization. We want to hear what you are doing, connect you with others, open up channels of communication between diverse voices, and highlight the powerful and creative places of emergence happening in our backyards. And guess what? All of them involve YOU.

Emergent Village has always centered on relationships that find their common ground in seeking new, creative and sustainable ways of following Jesus, and that create glimpses of the present and coming Kingdom. As we move ahead, we want to continue to create intentional means of connecting people. We’ve been describing this intentionally relational space as the Village Green. The Village Green will take on many forms: gatherings and events, local cohort meetings and conversations, book groups, web resource sharing, news updates and more. In all instances, the Village Green is a generative environment where missional friendships are nourished.

For the Village Green to flourish, it needs YOU to ignite that generative energy at the local and grassroots level. The Village Green is open for planting seeds, throwing parties, living justly, discussing new ideas, connecting with new people, creating music and art and poetry, and yes, even sitting around discussing theology. As a way of encouraging, organizing and advancing these efforts, we’ve created eight working groups around the things we are most passionate about. A number of Villagers have already found their way to these groups and have started conversations about what the future of the Village Green looks like from there. And now it’s your turn to do the same. This is YOUR Village. We invite you to jump in on one or more of these groups by contacting the team point person(s) and contributing to the planning, the dreaming and the doing. If you think we’ve missed something or just feel like adding something new, let us know by contacting any of the people listed below.

Here are the working groups:

Arts: The Village has always been a place of creativity, and we want to continue in that direction by supporting, networking and highlighting artists of all kinds in the Village. If you would like to help foster arts on the Green, contact Troy Bronsink (troybronsink@mac.com) or Makeesha Fisher (makeesha@gmail.com).

Cohorts: In many ways, cohorts are the heart of the Village. This is a great on-ramp for people to get involved in the conversation, make new friends and discuss new ideas. If you want to help organize and resource our network of cohorts, contact Sarah Notton (sarahnotton@gmail.com) or Mike Clawson (mike.clawson@gmail.com).

Communications: Our relationships will only be as strong as our communication. So, a team of folks have been invited to steward our venues of communication to make sure that they are open, consistent, and empowering others. There will plenty of ways to help us spread the word around the Village and beyond. Already you’ll notice the fresh look and feel of the Emergent/C. If your gifts might serve this team, contact Tim Snyder (tksnyder@gmail.com)

Events: As a generative friendship, Emergent Village hopes to promote face-to-face interaction around compelling and creative ideas through a number of events. It has been part of our practice in the past to encourage Villagers to attend at least one event per year to sustain and grow relationships. If you want to help dream and implement future events, contact Randy Buist (randybuist@comcast.net) or Anthony Smith (postmodernegro@gmail.com).

Justice: One of the clear themes that came out of our time together in April was our common desire to see justice embodied in our communal life together and fostered in our individual lives, and to bring more stories of justice to the table. If you want to help foster our emphasis on justice, contact Kelly Bean (bean.kelly@gmail.com) or Wendy Johnson (Wendy.J@episcopalmn.org).

Resources: The Village Green is a great place to share ideas, and a wonderful place of conversation for Jesus Way followers to find encouragement and support. Through articles, books, podcasts, and lots of other mediums, we are all invited to share our collective wisdom for the greater good of the Kingdom. Contact Mike Stavlund (mikestavlund@gmail.com) or Brittian Bullock (brittianbullock@gmail.com) to help resource the Green.

Village Council: To help coordinate the efforts between these eight areas and to encourage the conversation even further into this next season of Emergent, the group from D.C. selected six people to serve on the new Village Council. The Village Council also makes up the Board of Directors for EV’s non-profit purposes and will handle some of the organizational necessities of EV. VC members will serve no more than two consecutive years. This year, the Village Council members are: Melvin Bray (melvinbray@gmail.com), Troy Bronsink (troybronsink@mac.com), Julie Clawson (julieclawson@gmail.com), Dwight Friesen (quest@scn.org), Eliacin Rosario-Cruz (eliacin@gmail.com) and Danielle Shroyer (danielle@journeydallas.com). How we choose future Village Councils is still yet to be determined, but we look forward to inlcuding more of you in this process down the road.

Web: The EV website and other digital media venues provide a virtual space for the Village Green in between our face to face encounters. The web also provides access to resources and offers a place of connection for newcomers. If you have ideas about supporting our virtual Village, contact Jon Irvine (jonirvine.com@gmail.com) or Michael Toy (the.michael.toy@gmail.com).

Thanks to ten years of dedication, passion, and vision, the soil on the Village Green is rich. We’ll do all we can to create and maintain this generative space because we are convinced that we’re far better together than we are apart. After all, that’s the definition of emergence—the collective becomes more than simply the sum of its parts. And isn’t that what this Kingdom is all about? So, fellow Villagers, we have only one question for you: What will YOU do on the Village Green?

Sincerely,
Danielle Shroyer, Melvin Bray, Troy Bronsink, Julie Clawson, Dwight Friesen, and Eliacin Rosario-Cruz

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