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Planning for the Unexpected

In the work of planning the Pacific Northwest vacation, the goal is not to make a "carbon copy" of what came before.


With the uncertainty of the pandemic, it was unclear if a vacation would happen here in the Pacific Northwest this year, but over the past few months a group of friends have come together to prepare for a vacation together in Oregon.


The invitation to the vacation came to my email inbox from Alberto as a welcome surprise. He is an Italian friend in the Movement, living here in Seattle, with a clear and surprising proposal, he asked each of us to consider attending. “After more than a year in this global pandemic, we might find ourselves a bit disoriented. The vacation is proposed to us as a way to affirm a direction: to spend our free time with intention. I hope you will come to join us for a moment of community and rest” he wrote.


Many of us have been moved by the intentionality and care that has gone into the process. “The thing that strikes me is that we are treated as friends. We are not doing a task, we are helping each other live better what it means to be friends and what it means to spend our time together,” said Irma, a member of the community who moved to Seattle from Barcelona five years ago.


The meetings to prepare for the vacation really haven’t been about logistics, but about having a conversation on some crucial aspects of the vacation. As Alberto said in his email to the planning committee, “The goal is not to make a 'carbon copy' of the past years and be done with it.” As we prepare we have been invited to consider how can we treasure the experience of this past year to experience belonging at the vacation? And how do we help each other to pay attention to our companionship?


Given these questions, particular time and attention is being given to ushering, singing, praying, and the meals. These simple, but important aspects will help us be together after such a strange and disorienting time and will allow for something unexpected to emerge.


Another community member who is helping coordinate said, “We are being invited to live this time, following the global pandemic, with unstructured time on the vacation. This free time will allow us to share what has emerged from the past eighteen months and give space to it. It wouldn’t be helpful to jump back in as if nothing happened.”


Jen, Seattle, Washington



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