Interhelp Newsletter, April 2016

Dear Interhelpers and Friends,

It’s been a busy few months. Some of us have “danced the Spiral” or “sung the Spiral”; some have met with support groups and Communities of Practice; and others have helped to launch the online publication Deep Times: A Journal of the Work That Reconnects.

Over the years I have published occasional “reflective pieces” in this newsletter, and I am thrilled that the wide-ranging content of Deep Times is now available to all of you (click here). Content is arranged thematically, following the Spiral, and includes reports from the evolving worldwide Work That Reconnects Network. The Journal is available to read online or download, at no cost. Please consider subscribing, and also donating! (You’ll see the “donate” button and also a mailing address within the Journal.)

I received from Rosalie Anders these recollections of Suzy Schell Pierce, who died recently: Some of us older interhelpers remember Suzy with love and admiration. She was one of the real founders of Interhelp, a pillar of the young organization during the 1980s. I knew her first as a tireless peace and justice activist. She and I worked with Fran Peavey to create strategic questioning workshops, a couple of times doing them at Interhelp Gatherings, years ago. I will miss her.

Read below for upcoming events, news from the PA Community of Practice, an article about Singing the Spiral, and reports from Earth Leadership Cohort members.

If you haven’t already done so, please provide us with your mailing address by clicking on Update Subscription Preferences (in tiny type at the bottom of this message). Thanks!

May the beauties of springtime bring you wonder and delight.

Paula Hendrick, Interhelp Editor

Upcoming events in the Northeast include At the Crossroads of Environmental and Social Justice this month and Speaking Truth in Challenging Times: Writing and the Work That Reconnects in June. Hartford area support group meets Monday, May 23, Unitarian Universalist Church, West Hartford, 5:30-7:30 pm. Contact Lisa Galinski. Greater Boston Community of Practice meetings continue the second Saturday of each month; contact Aravinda.


From Marcia Berry in Pennsylvania:

Lynne Iser and I offered a 4-hour workshop in December, “Active Hope and the Work that Reconnects.” One outcome: the Board of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light will offer this work to all the faith organizations in their areas, beginning on May 14th at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Harrisburg. We’re going to roll it out as a 2-hour introduction to the Work. We will focus on finding people who want to go deeper, perhaps forming local communities of practice, and who will join in the work against climate disruption.

Anne Goodwin, Tom Penhale, Paula Hendrick at Sing the Spiral

Anne Goodwin, Tom Penhale, and Paula Hendrick join voices and instruments at Sing the Spiral


From Rosalie Anders on Singing the Spiral, an afternoon workshop led by Anne Goodwin earlier this month:

The Spiral of the Work That Reconnects has many dimensions. It is about ideas, but more profoundly it is a journey through feelings. Music is a journey through feelings as well. Singing (along with poetry, dance and visual arts) has been an important element of Interhelp workshops, but mostly we talk. What would it be like to experience the Spiral primarily through song? Anne Goodwin, an inspiring singer and infectious song leader, partnered with Paula Hendrick to try it, offering an afternoon of Singing the Spiral.  Anne taught us lovely, simple songs that moved us through the Spiral, until we were ready to go forth with some rousing choruses of Ruth Pelham’s Turning of the World.  I went forth with new energy and with gratitude.

One of the Singing the Spiral participants, a climate activist new to the WTR, reports that she loved how the elements wove together, singing and movement, connecting with others, personal reflection time, and then singing some more.

A favorite song from the day was Fear Not the Pain, a portion of a sonnet by Rilke (translated by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows) set to music. Listen here.

Anne Goodwin would like to explore sharing this workshop with other communities. Contact her.


Earth Leadership Cohort members stay in touch via a simple newsletter. A sampling of their recent updates is below. An interview with Dorian Williams, ELC1, is included in a book highly recommended, What We’re Fighting for Now is Each Other: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Climate Justice (reviewed by Aravinda in Deep Times).

Sophie Robinson, ELC1, is completing her film, The Age of Consequences, on how climate change impacts national security. She is about to start traveling to many festivals and screenings around the world. To follow the film’s progress and Sophie’s travels, follow their page on twitter: or facebook:

Ian Mevorach, ELC2, Minister and Co-Founder of the Common Street Spiritual Center in Natick, MA is teaching a Monday night course at Emmanuel College in Boston titled “Religion and the Environment: Ethical Explorations.” Students are reading A Greener Faith, the Pope’s encyclical, and Joanna Macy’s Spiritual Ecology and experimenting with some Work That Reconnects. Also, Ian’s monthly WTR group at the Common Street Spiritual Center is going well. He writes, “It is always good to have a chance to get real about how crazy and fearful our world is.”

Daniel Kieval, ELC2: “Recently, I’ve led a class on Sunday mornings for a group of 3rd-6th graders called Shomrei Adamah (Keepers of the Earth). With games, songs, stories, and outdoor experiences we are exploring the idea that other species are just as alive as we are, though they may show it in different ways, and that all of us living beings form a community together. We are also exploring how Jewish practice can help us access these insights and felt experiences.”

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