Days after the end of our Healing Our City: 30 Days of Silent Prayer, exhaustion is being replaced by buoyancy and a deep sense of gratitude for all of you who attended or participated from home. Thank you for lending your grief, openness, and dreams to the conspiracy of the Spirit for the good of our community.
We have a real sense of solidarity with you and appreciate the countless ways you all contributed to making this happen, and in such a short period of time. The event went from an idea to launch in just one week! During the last week of June, the parking lot and tents were secured, a website and flyer created, and Northside congregations were invited to come on board to serve as hosts for each of our 30 days of prayer. Thanks to our volunteer project manager, Laura Wolff, who didn't hesitate to jump in when asked.
The night before we launched we were not sure we were ready, or if anyone would show up...and then you did, offering to fill in the gaps wherever something was needed or a possibility envisioned. This was truly a co-creation of community. Items began appearing, from the beautiful singing bowl that was donated by a northside neighbor to the perfect Charles Caldwell painting offered on loan by a friend, to an ongoing supply of bottled water, tea, and ice. The beautiful bouquets of fresh flowers, arriving from as far away as a flower farm in Plum City, WI, and as close as nearby northside gardens, were replenished daily. Volunteers ritually gathered each morning to set up the contents of the prayer and hospitality tents and each evening to pack them up.
When guests showed up they were greeted with smiles and invitations to pray by volunteers who sometimes were at the site for over nine hours. Visitors to the hospitality tent enjoyed conversations with other guests, volunteers, and community engagement workers from MAD DADS, who were an outstanding daily presence from beginning to end.
Rev. Kelly Chatman and his team at the Center for Leadership and Neighborhood Engagement came on board early to offer hundreds of hours of staff support and to underwrite the hiring of Nia and Tres, two northside youth videographers, who captured many of the short interviews that appear on our social media pages and will ultimately also reside on our website. Special thanks to Brian Mogren, our esthetician, graphic designer, photographer, and universal utilitarian, who pitched in wherever needed.
When a desire to commission artists to create original artwork for the site became known to Krista Tippett, a regular visitor to the site, she didn't hesitate to support it through a generous gift from her On Being Project . Friends from Urban Homeworks came and constructed twelve large panels which were covered with fresh canvas. Artists from the Creatives After Curfew, as well as the Caldwell family of northside artists, then began showing up mid-month to generously share of their time and talent, creating beautiful and powerful original works of art on-site, in many cases, painting for hours at 90 degrees over the course of several days.
While all the leaders involved were volunteers, the cost to create a safe and welcoming experience for each and every person who attended over the course of the month was approximately $45K. Northside nonprofit Alafia Foundation generously offered to serve as our fiscal sponsor and Katherine Curran as our volunteer fundraising leader. Individuals and congregations from around the Twin Cities were quick to step in and offer financial support, raising all the money needed by our 30th day! WOW! Thank you!!!
Many other tasks were completed by individuals who came to the tent, asking, "What's needed and how can I help?" From the beginning, this has been a movement of the Spirit, and we have endeavored to listen and be open to the unfolding of it all. Our final celebration was delightful and spirit-filled with performers gracing us with music and artistry that left attendees singing and dancing. A fitting end to an amazing 30 days!
Many of you have asked, “What’s next?" First, we encourage you to continue our practice of praying/meditating for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, at least once per day. This will keep our hearts focused and open to the Spirit’s direction. We will reach out in the days to come to explore with you, our growing Healing Our City community, some possibilities for next steps.
For now, let us continue to marinate in our individual and collective experiences, be open to what’s next and give thanks for our new sense of belonging to each other in our shared openness to new possibilities for the future.
Best wishes for your continued spiritual health and wellbeing, and for your transformation into the co-healers we are all meant to be.