Photo L to R: Travis Meier, Ched, Elaine, Tom Bozeman, Kristen Snow, Rhonda Newby, Ed Katzenberger
The Rev. Tom Bozeman is a Unitarian Universalist minister living in the Salish Sea Basin:
It was wonderful to get to drink deeply from this font of radical discipleship. Ched and Elaine not only offer such rich and deep reflections on the core theological issues for most North Americans, but also an entry-way into a community of practitioners. There is a stream of wisdom and practice here that is so vital for this age - and I feel a great deal of gratitude for such simply hospitable access to it. - the Rev. Tom Bozeman
Rhonda Newby is from Albuquerque, NM: I spent much of the last two decades working with Immigrant women and raising my children. Now I'm a first year seminarian working to spread Radical Discipleship in my own community.
My journey in the 2018 BIO Cohort was a time of remembering.
I was somewhat involved with Ched and Elaine many years ago through Word and World. At the time I worked for a small community development ministry and Word and World was my bridge from what felt like a somewhat isolated community of believers to a larger network of like minded folks, and of course extraordinary mentors. Word and World is where I felt I was leaning in to my true calling, although I was never truly able to make the transition to fully connect to that movement. So when I saw the chance to work with Elaine and Ched after a decade of being away from the movement, I jumped at it.
As the Cohort began, so did a new journey for me. The program corresponded to a time of struggle and transition in my life and allowed me to remember who I am. Each chapter, each step of the process presented new and radical ways to perform in the world but also new and radical ways of thinking within myself. Every topic was both profoundly needed in the world and within each of us. It was a rocky journey for me and for many of us. The vulnerability within the group lead to relationships that run deep and wide, connecting us for years to come.
Those relationships, that re-membering of the movement, of the community, is what is most precious to me from the Cohort. I can certainly read Elaine and Ched’s books and articles and partake in their wisdom from my own couch. But it is the community that is the true gift. Being grounded in a sense of place, of belonging, in a community of like minded folks is something that books and podcasts simply can’t provide. The BIO Cohort is something that we will be participating in years after the official program is over.
Rev. Travis Meier is a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and
currently serves Peace Lutheran Church in College Station, Texas, located in
the Brazos Valley Watershed.
The journey of the BIO Cohort was enriching,
challenging, and formative. We build relationships across the country and
deepened companionships of support for the world of radical discipleship. We
were challenged Theologically and Spirituality to think and act based on the
deeper wisdom and practices from a long line of witnesses to the power of God’s
love and grew in our ability to create relationships that nature and heal the
community and world around us.
I highly recommend this educational and practical
gift to anyone. It is needed and timely work, especially for our North American
context facing deep and significant questions about the role of Christianity
and discipleship in the healing and nurturing of communities.
Kristen Snow: I am a resident of the Delaware watershed, in Philadelphia. I play many roles in my community, Circle of Hope, as a leader and organizer. I spend my time cooking, reading, gardening, making art and writing, participating in social justice work and community development.
My time spent with the BIO cohort has helped me to reconcile and identify spaces of renewal and transformation within myself, my community and my watershed. It has added meat to the bones of a newly awakened form of myself. The process of studying biblical texts, our personal and shared histories, watersheds, finances and more has been deeply impactful to my experience of living. Beginning to search back through my bloodlines, songlines and landlines has helped me recognize and realize where my self has been all along, to recognize the value of being, and the deep importance of truth and reconciliation work - first with oneself, then with the world. Watershed Discipleship has helped me to orient my desire to live with and in the land with purpose, connected to my passion for reconciliation in varying spaces and community building. Sabbath economics has helped me gain footing in the financial habits that I want to improve on, as well as helping me recognize the valuable practices I’ve learned from my life with my church community Circle of Hope. The opportunity to learn alongside my fellow cohort peers and to be guided by Elaine, Ched and Solveig has been integral to my development. The experience was not just an opportunity to discuss various theologies and ideas over the internet, but instead an invitation to live intentionally with a group of dedicated learners and faith leaders for 10 months, vulnerably sharing our experiences and journeys along the way. We shared our lives openly through death, loss, transition, moving, marriage, triumph and change. I felt well loved and cared for in this endeavor, and finish it knowing that this is not really an end, but the beginning of many new friends, peers and mentors to continue living and learning with. The biocohort has changed my life, and I will be forever grateful for the experience.