Category Archives: The Path Forward

The Path Forward: 2015 Spring Update

Scout Glyph

Scout Archetype Glyph
from Andrew Ramer’s
Two Flutes Playing

In March of 2014, as part of our 25th Anniversary Celebration, the GSV Council organized a Visioning Retreat with John Ballew as a facilitator. This retreat, with about 35 diverse participants, considered next steps for GSV. The June 2014 Council meeting in Atlanta provided the first opportunity for us to consider thoughts from the Visioning Retreat and the recommendations from John Ballew’s summary. As a result, we’re evolving a plan called The Path Forward to help us take the next steps towards even more participatory leadership.

Here are some recent efforts toward implementing these ideas:

  • Recruit more diverse leadership drawn from the general community: Luis Alvarez as the 2015 Spring Retreat convener to serve a two-year term; Steven Wilson as a Walks Between Elder to serve a three-year term; and Wendell Johnson as a member with special skills (fundraising) to serve a two-year term. These additions represent both age and ethnic diversity for the Council.
  • Open up the Scholarship process to make it easier to apply for assistance and use scholarships to increase the diversity of our conference attendance. You will notice the largest groups of younger men and men of color at Spring 2015 in the history of GSV, partially as a result of this change.
  • Include more open space in our conference program for brothers to share their interests and gifts. You will notice these spaces in the Spring 2015 schedule.
  • Create a new, more inclusive welcoming statement to be read at the beginning of each gathering. Note the wording of the Welcoming Statement used at the beginning of the heart circle.
  • Demonstrate more transparency in the Council’s processes through providing more information online, more frequent communications with our participants, and community sessions at conferences. You will notice our constantly improving website and the community meeting at Spring 2015, intended as a time for the Council to listen to the ideas of conference participants.
  • Implement liaison training and empowerment. At our Winter Planning Day, January 18-19, we appointed work groups and liaisons (chairpersons) for the work groups which assist the council in producing the three annual conferences. Much of the Planning Day was devoted to training the liaisons. At the Spring 2015 Retreat, you will see activity by several of the work groups (Welcome, Ritual, Altared Spaces (prepares the altar). If you are interested in serving on a work group, see the signup sheet in the Commons, where you checked in.

We hope The Path Forward will support all of us in bringing our planning process into even greater alignment with the spirit of service, brotherhood, love, and encouragement which fills our gatherings.

Pat Boyle, Walks Between Elder, for the Council of Nine, April 24, 2015

What We Envision: Introducing The Path Forward

Dear Brothers,

Scout Glyph

Scout Archetype Glyph
from Andrew Ramer’s
Two Flutes Playing

We hope you are having a wonderful summer, even as we all begin to look forward to our time together in the fall! Just recently, the Council met with John Ballew to continue the work begun at the Visioning Retreat in March. Our June Council meeting in Atlanta provided the first opportunity for us to consider in depth what we heard from the men at the Visioning Retreat and the recommendations outlined in John Ballew’s Visioning summary. As a result, we’re creating a plan we’re calling The Path Forward. This plan will help us all to take the next step towards even more participatory leadership.

To give you an idea of how we envision The Path Forward unfolding, here are a few actions begun at the June meeting:

  • In response to a request for more diverse leadership drawn from the general community, we are delighted to welcome several brothers into new leadership roles: Luis Alvarez as the 2015 Spring Retreat convener to serve a two-year term; Steven Wilson as a Walks Between Elder to serve a three-year term; and Wendell Johnson as a member with special skills (fundraising) to serve a two-year term.
  • We’re making a conscious effort to include more open space in our conference program for brothers to share their interests and gifts.
  • We’re creating a new, more inclusive welcoming statement to be read at the beginning of each gathering.

We hope The Path Forward will support all of us in bringing our planning process into even greater alignment with the spirit of service, brotherhood, love, and encouragement which fills our gatherings. We’ll talk more about The Path Forward in the coming months and hope you’ll join us for further discussion at the Fall Conference, September 18-21.

As always, your voice is welcome – share your ideas, thoughts, and encouragement at feedback@gayspiritvisions.org.

 

Bright Blessings,

The Council of Nine

Holding The Future in Our Hearts

A few months ago, a group of men gathered to look at the rapid changes GSV has experienced in the past five years and how these changes might inform where we’re going. We’re grateful for the members of the visioning committee and all the men who participated with such love, commitment, vision, and honesty in service to our retreat goals, which included:

  • Reflect on the changes of the past four years and, with the guidance of spirit, seek a path forward by refining our process and identifying ways to open the organization through collaboration, community participation, and mutually supportive leadership.
  • Ensure the continuation, longevity, and sustainability of the GSV community, and consider how GSV can support men in their spiritual growth.

The retreat’s facilitator, John Ballew, delivered a wonderful report with recommendations for fulfilling our goals based on the voices he heard during that weekend. As our events quiet down for the summer, the Council of Nine will be working with John Ballew to look at how GSV can best integrate both the feedback from the men at the visioning conference and the recommendations in John’s report, and how best to make that information available.
Please keep the Council in your hearts as we work with John.

GSV Working Agreements

Update: In response to sharing at the 2014 Spring Retreat, GSV’s Working Agreements are now called the Three Agreements.

During the Visioning Retreat, our brothers identified some implicit core values within GSV’s mission statement that were woven into three agreements. These agreements are intended to guide and support us as we co-create our conferences and steward the larger container of the organization.

 

GSV Mission Statement

We are committed to creating safe, sacred space that is open to all spiritual paths, wherein men who love men may explore and strengthen spiritual identity.

We are committed to creating a spiritual community with the intent to heal, nurture our gifts and potential, and live with integrity in the world.

We are committed to supporting others in their spiritual growth by sharing experiences and insights.

 

dancers

 

GSV Working Agreements

In the spirit of love for ourselves and each other…

  1. We engage in respectful, honest, and openhearted dialogue.
  2. We agree to hold ourselves and each other accountable to speak and act with integrity in our community.
  3. We embrace opportunities to empower others and challenge ourselves to grow spiritually.

We acknowledge these agreements before us and we enter into them together.

 

The Council will meet during the Spring Retreat to review the agreements and consider adding them to our official documentation. Until then, we’d love to hear your feedback regarding these agreements at feedback@gayspiritvisions.org!

 

25th Anniversary Visioning Retreat

Gay Spirit Visions (GSV) is celebrating its 25th year of creating safe sacred space where men who love men can explore and deepen their spirituality.

  • As part of the 25th Anniversary celebration, GSV is hosting a visioning retreat March 7-9 at The Mountain to look at where we have been and where we might go as a community in the next 5-10 years. During the retreat, we will:
  • Reflect on the changes of the past four years and, with the guidance of spirit, seek a path forward by refining our process and identifying ways to open the organization through collaboration, community participation, and mutually supportive leadership.
  • Examine the present moment in gay culture and identify the new rhythms, arcs, and themes. Also, provide a framework to collect, document, and propagate the wisdom of our community.
  • Ensure the continuation, longevity, and sustainability of the GSV community, and how GSV can support men in their spiritual growth.
  • Consider ways to attract new participants to diversify our community-introduce new ideas, connect us with new communities, and create a synergy that helps GSV remain relevant and move forward as a perpetually synthesizing community that honors our core values and history.

Do you feel called to participate?

Participation in the retreat is limited, and participants will be selected by nomination. Please consider nominating yourself or someone who might have a pulse on our community, similar communities, or the direction we’re being called toward as men who love men.

View the Visioning Retreat PDF for more information.

GSV 25th Anniversary Visioning at The Mountain