We wanted to make the world a better place. Most people do. But those who give themselves to the hard work of fighting for justice, building peace, and bearing witness to hope find themselves in constant conflict.
After serving 20 year with an international organization fighting human traffickers, caring for children dying from AIDS, and working to disarm child forced to fight as soldiers in civil war, we saw a few consistent symptoms of activist compassion fatigue:
- Many practitioners involved in causes, charities, or communities of hope often do a much better job of taking care of those they serve than they do taking care of themselves. There’s an obvious break down in credibility and integrity when we try to heal our own wounds through serving the brokenness in another.
- Folks working in difficult communities find it nearly impossible to ground themselves—stability seems like a far-off ideal that activists desperately long for, but seldom embraced.
- Often those engaged in the difficult work of justice perpetually teeter on the edge of burnout. Countless young people sign-up for volunteer opportunities, internships, and even careers of service, and while some find ways to sustain and thrive in these callings most are not as fortunate. It’s not uncommon for activists to leave vocations of service disillusioned. Some even walk away from their faith.
We can live better.
We can love better.
We can serve better.
…we can do good better.
And last year was a great start.
It’s hard to believe we’re well into a new year with new possibilities and new opportunities.
Before we get too far away from 2013 we wanted to thank each of you for helping make Gravity’s first year a huge success!
Thank you for believing in the vision. Thank you for getting behind the movement. Thank you for standing with us in solidarity and support.
To capture just a small handful of the highlights from 2013 we:
- Spoke to over 27,000 people in 25 states at 13 universities, 10 churches, and 3 conferences
- Hosted nearly 500 guests at our 45 contemplative prayer sits
- Offered 30 Spiritual Direction sessions
- Led 7 retreats, 2 hosted by Gravity and 5 hosted by other organizations or congregations
- Participated on Father Emmanuel Katongole’s Africa Pilgrimage of Pain & Hope
- Co-Sponsored the 2nd Annual 21st Century Freedom Ride
- Published 1 book, 5 articles, and were featured in Religion News Service, the Omaha World Herald, NPR, and Caring Magazine
- Produced 19 new films with The Work of the People
Thank you for making so much possible. The work of Gravity is shaping the imagination for social engagement of thousands of people—forming people in the contemplative tradition to live thriving lives of justice and peace.
Your support has inspired us to look into a new year with holy ambition and hopefulness for so much more that needs to be done.
Looking back it’s clear that 2012 was a year of transplanting—in many ways an unexpected transition, in many ways a transition that was long overdue. 2013 was a year of rooting—establishing the infrastructure to build the capacity for the future of Gravity. We believe 2014 will be a year of cultivating—launching a series of new programs and initiatives to make the world a better place through contemplative activism.
In addition to our already full speaking schedule, in 2014 we are ready to roll up our sleeves to launch the following programs and initiatives:
- Host 50 contemplative prayer sits
- Offer 75 Spiritual Direction sessions
- Welcome our first Contemplative Activist in Residence, a visiting practitioner sabbatical program
- Lead our first Africa Solidarity Pilgrimage to Rwanda to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide
- Facilitate our first spring “Deepening Retreat”
- Lead 2 Solidarity Pilgrimages to South and South East Asia
- Facilitate our 3rd annual fall contemplative “Grounding Retreat”
- Co-Sponsor the 3rd Annual 21st Century Freedom Ride
- Formalize retreats and training partnerships with national survivor networks of persons trafficked into the commercial sex industry
- Hire our first part-time administrative staff member
We’ll keep you posted on all the great things that come together in this New Year.