Kindlingsfest 2012!

17 Aug

I recently spent a week back on Orcas Island, Washington, where I grew up. My main purpose in being there this time, however, wasn’t to see family or to wax nostalgic or even to take photographs – though I fortunately got to do all of that as well. No, my reason for going to Orcas was to attend a marvelous “conference” called Kindlingsfest. which takes place at the church I grew up in, though is independent of any church or denomination.

Kindlingsfest, the biggest event each year sponsored by The Kindlings, styles itself as a place to cultivate the “creative, intellectual and spiritual” side of a person. Here’s their web address for more information: http://www.thekindlings.com/about/. Inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, among others, whose group, “Inklings” met frequently in a pub to discuss their writings as well as be encouraged intellectually and creatively, the Kindlings group strives after the same things. Through pod casts, two “fests” a year, and other smaller events, its impossible to leave the group without a vision for how believers in God fit into the world today.

This year, the fifth annual Kindlingsfest, was the second time that I have been able to attend. As was the case two years ago when I first went, I was not disappointed. We got to hear intelligent and provocative speakers, be challenged in our faith, hear fabulous music of all styles, and schmooze with like-minded people (“schmooze” is a much more fun word that “network”, don’t you think?).

The church I grew up in, which hosts the event. My grandfather was actually a pastor in this church, many moons ago!

The Episcopal church on the island also hosts a bit of Kindlingsfest. It’s a gorgeous site and a lovely building!

Every evening there is a bonfire around which people have the opportunity to sing, read poetry, dance, etc. I read aloud a blog post from a couple of months ago, which was very fun. It’s not often that I get to read my work out loud and I love to do so!

Many different artists/singers/writers/dancers took part in sharing their craft “around” the campfire. It’s a really great part of the event, both to get to know the artists a little, but also just to enjoy yourself! Graham crackers, marshmalows and chocolate bars were provided as well…of course!

Nigel Goodwin – a unique and fabulous character – is a vital part of the Kindglings group. He heads up the “Bag End” time around the campfire each evening…and yes, he sometimes breaks into dance just because.

On the other side of the campfire – a tent to eat beneath, chat, or just hang out.

A closer shot of the campfire by day – it’s a wonderful spot.

I came away encouraged as a writer, excited for my creative future, and inspired to work in my local church to achieve some of the things we spoke about. And, of course, as always, it’s wonderful to visit Orcas Island – an inspiration in itself.
As with all such conferences, it’s always a bit of a down-fall to return to reality. However, I have at least had The Music Man performances to help soften the creative blow. Here are a few photographs to help understand the extent of Kindlingsfest 2012.

These belong in Narnia, yes?!

J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis present a kind of an overarching theme of the Kindlings. This, in case you were wondering, is Farmer Maggot’s corn field.

Malcolm Guite was the main speaker – and yes, he also played guitar a wee bit! He spoke on the topic, “Crabbed Age and Youth Cannot Live Together?” He was not only inspiring but also just plain fun.

Jason Carter was one of the featured musicians. He plays the Harp Guitar…fascinating and fabulous.

My daughter – who plays french horn – was thrilled to see a french horn in a rock band!

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6 Responses to “Kindlingsfest 2012!”

  1. Jenny August 17, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    You have a great eye and take wonderful pictures. Thank you for helping me see it from your eyes. It was wonderful having you here for it. It is so nice to be around people who are like minded, I agree.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell August 17, 2012 at 7:46 pm #

      There was a lot more I could have said…and I certainly left out people/things…but I wanted to post about it anyway. I wish the indoor pictures were better…

  2. hotlyspiced August 17, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    Orcas Island looks so beautiful and I just love the church and surrounding buildings. What fabulous architecture. Glad you got so much out of the weekend xx

    • Gretchen O'Donnell August 17, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

      Lots of fun was had by all! Now I really need to go investigate what’s been happening Down Under…I finally have life almost back to normal so I can read BLOGS!!!!!

  3. Minnesota Prairie Roots August 20, 2012 at 8:25 am #

    The natural setting, the mixing of creative types…sounds like a perfect retreat, especially when it’s “back home.”

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