MICAH News - December 2006
by Trey Everett
Sometimes a Couple’s Retreat doesn’t resemble a retreat at all. It’s more like shopping at the mall the day after Thanksgiving. If you’re going to get your money’s worth the schedule better be jam-packed with workshops, sessions, famous guest speakers, a marriage top ten list to memorize, a number of projects, and don’t forget the twelve latest best sellers describing what Jesus’ marriage would have looked like had he been married. There’s no time to take a breath let alone notice your lovely spouse.
The MICAH Couple’s Retreat really was a “retreat.” The weather was cold and windy but we bundled up, drove to yurt at the rural MICAH site and prepared for a day of prayer and reflection. Four couples attended the retreat on Saturday, October 28. It was a wonderful day of attending to our relationships with one another and with God. There was actually time to think, notice, talk, listen to and be with your spouse. I can't remember the last time my wife and I took a stroll through the woods alone!
One part of the retreat involved the prayer of examen. During this time of reflection we looked back on our relationship for times that brought us a sense of peace and life and freedom. We also noted times in our relationship that brought us a sense of despair and turmoil. Noticing these past times of both peace and turmoil gave us insight for the future. We were able to see what would be good to put our energy into in the future and it also helped us to see what seemed to drain our relationship and therefore avoid.
Last month Glen made some wonderful benches and a swing for the rural MICAH site. We are very grateful for these beautiful and generous gifts.
Colette brought her prayer group to the yurt for an afternoon. They ate lunch and then spent time praying and discussing a book they’re reading together. We’re amazed at how many people are visiting the rural MICAH site. Individuals and groups are always welcome.
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MICAH News - November 2006
by Trey Everett
MICAH has been working with Shelter Architecture for the last few years. Shelter has a group of cutting edge architects who have a keen sense for what MICAH is about. They helped develop the MICAH Master Plan and are currently helping us with the next phase of the MICAH project. October 3rd Shelter architects made a trip to Crookston to visit, discuss, and take another look at the MICAH rural site. It was a wonderful day of discussing, planning, questioning, clarifying, and dreaming. The weather turned rainy but after lunch we gathered our rain gear and went out to the rural site. We spent some time in the yurt, walked to the Labyrinth, visited the river, and just envisioned the future. Mud caked our shoes as we walked and talked about plans for the next phase of the rural site. We’re excited about the on going journey of MICAH.
Last week I attended the National Catholic Worker Gathering in Des Moines. I really wasn’t sure what to expect. There were people from California, Atlanta, New York, Minnesota and just about everywhere. Even representatives from other countries attended. Many looked almost, well, homeless with their huge beards and tattered clothes. Others looked more, well, normal with their LL Bean shoes and fashionable glasses. In the midst of trying to figure out what kind of people these Catholic Workers were I overheard someone mentioned that he had spent time behind bars and that his wife had just been released two weeks ago. I was thinking to myself, “I wonder what they did? Armed robbery? Mass murder? Maybe they hijacked a plane.” Then, to my shock, I found that a number of people, at one time or another had also been arrested. What kind of people am I rubbing shoulders with?! As I became more familiar with this strange group I learned about their passion for peace and justice. Anti-war demonstrations, human rights issues, not violent acts, was what landed them in jail. I also discovered that they give beds to the homeless, food to the hungry, blankets to the cold, love to the cast-a-ways. I met a couple that recently joined a Protestant Catholic Worker community in Atlanta. They now live in a Catholic Worker house with others, have given away all their worldly possessions, serve the poor, share resources, and seek to live out the life of Christ. They said all their needs were taken care of, not wants, but needs. They said they are also given $11.50 a week to spend on what ever they want. I thought to myself, “What kind of people are these?”
I knew a little about the Catholic Worker’s focus on peace, community, and acts of mercy before I went. Those are characteristics we seek at MICAH. However I didn’t realize how radical their lifestyles would be. Their passion for peace, mercy, and justice for all goes beyond their love of the comfortable American life you and I are used to. These are people who live intentionally. They choose not to just go with the flow of the culture and let their lives be decided for them. They don’t spend money like the world does, accumulate possessions like the world, treat the poor like the world, or have the same values of the world. They stick out, look weird, and have a far different lifestyle than most Christians I know. When our current Christian culture hears bits and pieces of how these people live they question, “Who are these fringe people?”
After telling a friend of mine about this experience he wrote, “That's definitely an interesting group. What kinda frightens me is they are very right; that’s just how Acts describes the early church- pooling resources, feeding homeless, getting arrested. That’s amazing to know that a group like that actually exists today.” Hmmmmmm. Maybe I do know what kind of people the Catholic Workers are.
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MICAH News - October 2006
by Trey Everett
MICAH has been working on a number of projects recently. However, I have to admit, some of them seem rather silly. For example one project for the summer of 2007 is a work camp called Sweat & Silence. I know you’re probably thinking, “Work camps aren’t silly.” But these aren’t your normal work camps where all kinds of work gets done and complexes are built and nations are fed…. These work camps have an emphasis on prayer, on slowing down, on resting. Work weeks with a focus on not working? Sounds like a kind of sissy work camp if you ask me. Who wants that? Another silly project MICAH is working on is at the clinic. It’s a project where health and spirituality are combined. Have you ever heard of a doctor checking on her patient’s spiritual life? Hey, that’s the churches job! This is America, and in America everything is compartmentalized and specialized. If you have some physical needs go to the hospital. Mental stresses? See your psychiatrist. Spiritual issues? The pastor takes care of those issues, thank you very much. Going to one place to get help and encouragement for mind, body, and spirit? How silly.
I was taking a slow look at Mark 1:12 and 13 and the words “at once” caught my attention. God seems so patient and slow, but not this time. This time the Spirit takes –drives!- Jesus out into the desert. No waiting, no talking with John and the boys. No warning. Just some sudden prompting that Jesus does not ignore. Common sense would say, “Get your things together Jesus. Pack! You need food, clothes, a gun, some friends…. Who knows what you’ll find there. You might stumble onto a group of Hell’s Angels. You might get lost and end up walking around in the wilderness for days on end. A map! Don’t forget to go home and get the map. Oh, and leave a number where you can be reached. I mean, you’re Jesus Christ, people need teaching and healing and just lots of help.”
But Jesus didn’t get a map or a gun or directions or food. He left his cell phone and immediately went out into the desert. I wonder if his friends went looking for him. Maybe they thought he died. I mean, you just don’t disappear into the desert for forty days and then walk back out like it was a camping trip at the Boundary Waters. The Spirit drives Jesus out into the desert and Jesus listens, this makes no sense! Anyone can see how silly this is. If I were the Spirit I sure wouldn’t do something that silly. But we all know what happens in the desert. We know a group of Angels do attend to him. We know Jesus doesn’t eat and is somehow supernaturally sustained. We know Satan, all evil, tries to make him fall, trust in self, revel in his own power, and just turn away from God. We know Jesus doesn’t even blink in the face of Satan. We know Jesus is victorious and walks out of that desert very alive and very well and without a GPS. No search party had to look for his remains. We now know this was part of his journey. Maybe the Spirit really knew what was best. Sweat & Silence? Health and Spirituality? A yurt in the middle of nowhere? Maybe the Spirit really knows what to do in our lives as well. But immediately following the Spirit in our lives? It’s just so silly and foolish from the world’s point of view. And I sure don’t want look silly. Do you?
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MICAH News - September 2006
by Trey Everett
“Look where you have brought us! I am sitting in the sanctuary of a Presbyterian church, of all the weird places! A Christian Church minister, Christian Church Bible College, Christian Church Seminary, growing up at Washington Christian Church, and now at First Presbyterian? …Strange! However it doesn’t feel strange at all. Yesterday at worship, it was amazing. I got so much out of it! Just the songs themselves were wonderful, the words so meaningful! ‘Not to preach our creeds or customs, but to build a bridge of care,’ from the hymn As A Fire Is Meant for Burning. And from the last stanza of the hymn Spirit, ‘You call from tomorrow, you break ancient schemes, from the bondage of sorrow the captives dream dreams; our women see visions, our men clear their eyes. With bold new decisions your people arise.’ That’s what is happening to us. This move, this church, all this…bold new decisions. I am just so amazed at what is happening!”
This is a summary of what I wrote in my journal just a few days after Corene, Maddie, Zoe and I arrived in Crookston. As I read these journal entries and just look back over this whole process of moving from the Show-Me-State to the Red River Valley I have a great sense of peace. My first encounter with Dan at a Youth Leaders Convention, our first trip to Crookston two summers ago, conversations of moving and working with MICAH, the actual move itself, settling in, new relationships, new community of worship, new job, new neighborhood, new friends…there is a deep freedom that surrounds it all. We are thankful to be part of First Presbyterian and to be part of MICAH.
Dan mentioned, as we prepared to move, that there was plenty going on with MICAH. I secretly thought to myself, “Really? What’s going on?” Well, this summer there was a Discernment Retreat and a Prayer Retreat. MICAH was also involved with the Koinonia Retreat in Grand Forks. Dustin Solberg lived in the Yurt for a month and spruced it up with a bed, sink, and picnic table. Sam and Mike spent the summer doing various work projects at the MICAH property. A new Spirituality and Healing program has been started at the Clinic. The yurt was put back together after the windstorm struck. A beautiful Prayer Path was created on the ‘back forty.’ A Discernment retreat for the future of MICAH was held at the beginning of the summer, and on it goes. Now that summer is coming to a close a number of things are taking place. Plans for a radio program are in progress. Work projects with youth/church groups are in the works for next summer. A pilgrimage route is being contemplated. The Health and Spirituality Project at the Clinic is being developed. A couple’s retreat is being planned for the fall. Continued research, connections, trips, dreaming and planning are all underway in the midst of continued prayer at MICAH. Maybe Dan was right, there is a lot going on with MICAH.
I ended my journal entry with the words from a song we sang on our first Sunday here, “Spirit, Spirit of gentleness, blow through the wilderness, calling and free, Spirit, Spirit of restlessness, stir me from placidness, wind, wind on the sea.”
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MICAH Welcomes Trey Everett on Staff
Trey with wife Corene and daughters Madeline and Zoe. Trey has joined MICAH on staff June 2006. We welcome them to Minnesota and MICAH!
(April 2006) "Two summers ago my wife, Corene, and I took the long fourteen hour road trip from Mexico Missouri to Crookston Minnesota. We were on retreat at MICAH spending time in prayer, building a prayer labyrinth, learning about discernement, and just catching our breath by enjoying the beautiful surroundings and a slower pace of life. When our friends back home asked about our retreat, our response was, "Life changing." Now, almost two years later, we're moving there!
For the last seven years we have been living and working in the town of Mexico. Corene has worked part time as accompaniest for the high school choirs and I have been the youth minister and then preaching minister of Kentucky Road Christian Church. We have two beautiful daughters, Madeline and Zoe, who are ages six and four.
Being part of a community that is free to be who Christ wants us to be and who is attentive to God's leading is something we all deeply long for. That is how we see MICAH. We are excited about this new chapter in our lives, what God has in store, and the opportunity to truly make a difference in individual lives as well as in the community."
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Shelter Architecture Hired
Master planning process for MICAH site building will begin with focus on sustainable design and usability.
March 20, 2006
The planning and visioning continue as MICAH works with Shelter Architecture from Minneapolis, Minnesota on the creation of a master planning process for our building site. Recently, members of the Shelter team joined Danial and Debra on the MICAH site to check out the land site. Although these pictures below may not look like it, Spring and new beginnings were definitely in the air!
MICAH works with Shelter Architecture on the planning and visioning
of a master plan for our building site.
Another view of our time dreaming with Shelter Architecture on the
planning and visioning of the MICAH master plan for our building site.
The vision is to build a building to house a comprehensive center for both health and spirituality ministries. The retreat center will focus on contemplative and silent prayer, meditation, spiritual direction and other retreat offerings. The Family and Integrative Medicine Center will offer holistic health including complimentary, alternative, and natural medicine, natural healing, natural menopause, bio-identical hormone and replacement therapy.
October 25, 2005
MICAH is pleased to announce that we have hired Shelter Architecture from Minneapolis, Minnesota to help begin the master planning process for our building site.
Shelter Architecture is a cutting edge group of architects who value sustainable design and have proven their abilities through other exciting projects. The goal of Shelter Architecture is to " add value to your project and, most importantly your life. You will find our collaborative approach to design encourages input from you, the builders and artisans, and the architect to produce a design that reflects your lifestyle, values, and budget. This process ensures that there are no unwanted surprises and that your building fulfills all of your expectations."
We are extremely happy to be working with them and look forward with much anticipation to the outcome of this process as we continue development at MICAH.