Fall 2014: An Invitation to Community

Scott Dillard
Scott Dillard
2014 Fall Conference Convener

Greetings, Brothers.

For the past six months, I’ve been contemplating last fall’s introspective question, “Who am I?” and, looking forward to September, considering the outward question, “Who are we?”  To help us explore this question, I’ve been working with the theme of Community and have invited keynote John Stasio of Easton Mountain to speak about his own experiences of how men participate in spiritually healthy community.

As this year’s convener, I want to invite you all to come and share, play, and grow with us; we’ve been preparing space for you at this year’s Fall Conference.

About the Conference

There will be a number of familiar aspects at the conference I think you’ll enjoy. One feature I’m particularly excited about is the return of workshops. I’ve asked a number of men to offer workshops relevant to the community that have been a part of our talk over the last year. Some of our topics include: HIV/AIDS and how it continues to affect our community, the creation of alternate forms of family, and how tragedy can be seen as a “gift” in our lives.

In addition to the workshops, we will continue our tradition of small group meetings, an evening dance, and a talent show. I’ve also done my best to leave free time each day for men to explore the mountain, rest on the porch with friends, and offer spontaneous workshops, experiences, and events.

Most of all, I want you to know that what makes the Fall Conference so special is you. What do you bring to this community? What would you like to share? What has this community meant to you and what has it given to you? These questions will guide our journey during our time together in September.

I look forward to greeting each of you as you arrive at The Mountain.



Scott Dillard
Convener, Fall Conference 2014

Fall 2014 Keynote: John Stasio

John Stasio
John Stasio

John Stasio will keynote GSV’s 25th anniversary Fall Conference. Entitled The Call to Community; waking up in the company of others, John’s keynote will explore who we are in community by sharing his own journey and his beliefs about the universal desire and need all people have for community.

John will also examine the construct of “gay community” and outline the skills we each need to develop to maturely participate in and generate community.

As part of our time together, John will help develop this idea with discussion points for what makes a psychologically and spiritually healthy community – both in general, and specifically for queer folk.

About John

John Stasio  is the founder of Easton Mountain. His vision for social justice, interfaith spirituality and the potential of a spiritual community of gay men began at a young age and motivated him to begin Easton Mountain. In 1989 he founded Brothers Together, Inc. to promote community, spiritual growth, healing and transformation among men who love men. Prior to establishing Easton Mountain in 2000, John worked as a body-centered therapist and workshop facilitator. John was a member of the Jesuit Urban Center’s Urban Ministry team where he provided spiritual direction and bodywork to people living with HIV/AIDS. He is a former seminarian and member of the Catholic Worker Community. John’s undergraduate studies at Boston College focused on Philosophy and Theology and their application to contemporary social challenges. He received the Lisle Fellowship in 1987 to study non-violent social change at the Gandhi Peace Foundation in New Delhi India and then stayed on in India to work with Mother Theresa’s sisters at the home for the dying in Calcutta. While in India he met Dom Bede Griffiths with whom he had a powerful connection and remains committed to promoting interfaith dialogue. Additionally he seeks to apply the principals of Spiritual/Global Psychology, studied at the Concord Institute under the direction of Tom Yeomans, to his work for social change, in his own life and in his work with others. He splits his time between sharing a home with his partner and a golden retriever in Albany and retreating to his cabin in the woods of Easton Mountain.

Visit Easton Mountain online >>

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 [email protected].


Bright Blessings,

The Council of Nine

The Call to Community: Waking Up in the Company of Others

Twenty five years ago a small group of men came to The Mountain to create an annual gathering of men who love men. They came to share their spiritual insights, to connect, to play, to grieve and heal, to love, and to explore. In the years since then, Gay Spirit Visions has grown. We have shifted our models of leadership. We have included more and more men. We have expanded to have not one, but three annual conference. There are groups that meet in locations throughout the country between conferences to keep the energy of conferences alive.

This year we invite you to come and celebrate the past twenty five years and to explore who we have become. Who are we as a community of men who love men who contemplate the spiritual in our lives? We will come together in ritual, workshop, and small groups to continue the journey that that small group of men started twenty five years ago.

Bring your talents, your stories, and your heart.

2014 Spring: My Journey—Pat Boyle, Convener

2014 GSV Spring Retreat

Cherish the Past, Embrace the Future

My Journey: Cherishing the Past & Embracing the Future
by Pat Boyle

Pat Boyle

I came to know GSV through a friend who knew I was interested in exploring my gay identity and spirituality. Like many men in our circle, I grew up in a small southern town trying to fit in – I excelled in academics and worked very hard in my spiritual development, believing that acceptance could be found through academic success and participation in church leadership. Yet, even with college degrees and careers in social work and the ministry, I found life in the closet increasingly unbearable.

I needed a change. I came out and simultaneously switched from social work to a career in university teaching. As if on cue, I discovered GSV and the community and conferences quickly became a lifeline. I will celebrate 20 years of connection with GSV as GSV celebrates its 25th year of conferences at the Mountain. I do cherish the past!

I also embrace the future. Looking around the circle at any recent GSV conference, I see many men who have recently discovered GSV. What a joy to have such companions! The dominant culture is rapidly changing to accept us as just another part of the human family. Yet, our being walks-between or two-spirit persons still involves deep meaning, a calling, and particular gifts of spirit. Come join us April 25-27 as we explore these special qualities and their expression in the future.