The only churchy conference I have been to is the FMCiC’s 2014 General Conference. And I was busy being that annoying social media person getting in everyone’s face to get pics for Twitter and Facebook. But I did catch enough of Will Willimon to know I would like to hear more. This led to me Googling churchy conferences with speakers and topics that are near and dear to me.
Sadly, the near and dear are not so near and the cost is in fact very dear. Conferences are expensive. Like really expensive. I love connecting with my FM buddies at regional gatherings and other local events but I like any self-respecting extrovert, “I want more people, more conversations and more experiences!”
So when I saw a Cahoots! A Festival of Faith, Social Justice & DIY poster float through my Facebook newsfeed I clicked – hoping it was not yet another pricey learning opportunity I would have to miss out on. And much to my delight it is not!
I discovered that gang from Next Church in Kingston, ON attended Cahoots! so I spoke with Josh Lyon to find out more about the festival. Josh and the Next band initially inquired about playing music at the festival in 2014. Play music they did and a bunch of people from Next Church have this attended the past two years.
I asked Josh why he attends Cahoots!, “There are things that are really important to me as a Christian that are not necessarily part of cultural Christianity as we see it in North America. So it’s amazing to get together with people who see those commonalities and want to make those connections. This is the support, affirmation and education side of things. And on the other side, there is a lot of things I found really challenging and was forced to think about in different ways. Things that we assume and things we are comfortable – it’s really good to get pushed outside of that and reassess the way you approach or think about a topic. For example the first year, there was a workshop on sexual consent. How often do Christians get to get together and talk about “what does consent mean? It’s a topic we might not touch or might like to avoid. It’s not something you’re going to hear a sermon about with open dialogue that takes into account a number of different viewpoints and perspectives. And to be able to engage in that conversation with theology and with voices from all over the spectrum was incredibly eye opening and challenging.”
And the cool part about this festival, “At Cahoots, we aim to create a microcosm of the world we dream of. We believe in making Cahoots as accessible as possible. We keep prices low by mobilizing a village for the weekend. Everyone who comes contributes however they are able, from chopping veggies to presenting workshops, from doing the dishes to playing with kids. Cahoots is not just a place to consume information, but also participate in transformation. We have meals together to ignite friendship and build community. We welcome newborn babies to wise owls to foster intergenerational relationships and learning.” – Cahoots website
There are loads of workshops over the three days. The workshops I have my eye on include: Anti-Oppression 101, Doing Justice to Short-Term Experiences, Evangelicals and Social Justice, Rituals of Urban Agriculture and Yarn Bombing.
Check out the Cahoots! website for details and maybe I’ll see you there in June!