Right now, I’m looking out of my window at one of the most stunning displays of fall foliage I’ve ever seen. This may seem an unual backdrop for musings about the summer that just passed, but Claudia, our founder and Executive Director, has recently returned from a 4-month sabbatical, and we’re doing a lot of reflecting back at the moment. I think I speak for all of us, staff and board alike, in saying that I didn’t know what to expect when Claudia began her pilgrimage last June. We certainly had done enough planning to have high hopes that all would go smoothly, but the reality of how it would all play out was unknown. Four months later, we find ourselves a bit more wise, a little more tired, and a lot more invested in the future of stone circles and The Stone House.
Our core team was reduced in size, yet our ambitions for the summer were as expansive as ever, as we sought for ways to provide space and sanctuary for those doing the work of progressive social change in the world. In addition to our regular rentals, we hosted our first ever SOUL Sanctuary for Artists, and forged new relationships with old friends like the Highlander Center for its anniversary fundraiser, and Windcall, for its 3-week residency program. We opened our doors for fun and fellowship in July with our 2nd annual concert featuring Rising Appalachia and Justin Robinson, and our 4th Anniversary celebration in September. We laid the groundwork for two powerful institutes – Transforming Movements and Food Justice - that will be taking place at The Stone House this fall and winter. Additionally, our Board kept things growing by adding two new members (please see below for more details).
And, we launched our new website on September 1st. What do you think? We’ve been ironing out the final kinks and hope you find it to be a useful source of information and resources. Please try it out to read more about what’s going on here, and drop us a line to give us your feedback. We value your opinions!
All in all, these four months without Claudia required us to stretch, deepen, grow and learn, both individually and collectively. We gelled as a team, had some fun, and strove to embody our mission while doing more with less. For myself, achieving this balance remains a work in progress, so, it is a blessing to be in an environment in which this standard of sustainability is held up as a North Star. As we welcome Claudia back, we are all changed, and I look forward to seeing the yields from what we have planted. Many thanks to you all for your prayers, your support and your well-wishes during this period of transition.