Mission

The mission of *culture is not optional is to work for the flourishing of all in our community through radical rootedness and boundless imagination.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Imagining and building collaborative flourishing in our rural city.

EVENTS

Kindling an incarnational vision of the good life through imaginative gatherings that foster belonging, learning and celebration.

PUBLISHING

Fostering storytelling and conversation around diverse models of faith practice in everyday life.

The Huss Project

Growing imagination and friendship through food, art, and play since 2009.

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pounds of produce grown every year on our urban farm
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Lunches served to school-aged kids every summer
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volunteers in 2019
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neighbors who joined us for the annual Future Festival

Recent stories

People

Welcoming new *cino staff: Melody

We are continuing our series of introductions to the newest members of our small but mighty organization here in Three Rivers.

Next up we have Melody Spencer.

Melody, most recently from Charotte, North Carolina, has always had a heart for helping others and a drive to find creative ways to do so. After spending over a decade a professional digital marketer, 2020 found her searching for something new.

“When COVID-19 hit, I suddenly found myself without a job (due to lack of funding in the non-profit sector) and a place to live. I had always had an interest in AmeriCorps positions but the timing for them never felt right. It felt like the Universe suddenly gave me permission to pursue this dream.”

Melody chose to work with *cino because of their focus on community development, creativity and sustainability. She also felt a distinct pull towards a new place (and a new state!) full of a vibrant community in which she could become rooted in.

“After the craziness of the past couple of years, now coupled with the pandemic, I was beyond ready for a fresh, new start. My experience with *cino so far has been a lovely compliment to the personal growth I am currently experiencing in this season of life.”

In the past 2.5 months, Melody has immensly enjoyed getting to know Three Rivers and Western Michigan while spending as much time outside as possible. When she’s not working, Melody enjoys reading, traveling, cooking, and working on her personal and professional goals (including yoga and herbalisim certifications).

Be sure to stop by our Saturday Market or our weekly Free Veggie Distribution on Tuesdays and say hello to Melody.

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*cino Work, People

Welcoming New *cino staff: Shaina

This week we are excited to begin introducing you to our three, new full-rime, year long AmeriCorps Vista members.

First up we have Shaina Opperman.

Shaina, a native of South Lyons, MI decided to join AmeriCorps after COVID-19 ended her social research project at the University of Michigan.

“For the past two years since finishing undergrad at MSU, I’ve been doing social research at U-M about people’s perceptions toward the concept of diverting human urine from the waste stream for re-use as fertilizer. That sounds like a highly specific—and perhaps unusual—kind of project, but in a lot of ways I feel it connects naturally to the things I’ll be doing here—building trusting relationships, sharing knowledge, staying accountable to people’s concerns, and co-creating solutions. While I’m serving with AmeriCorps, I’ll have the opportunity to continue working through the kinds of social questions that have been on my mind a lot lately. So as a personal next step I think AmeriCorps just fits.”

Since joining the team, Shaina has been really drawn to the generosity of spirit embodied by everyone in Three Rivers as well as the *cino community’s commitment to creative collaboration. She especially loves how *cino pushes ourselves to self-reflect and let experience and community input guide us toward ways to live together more responsibly. What *cino does has evolved through many different people continuously working on creating stronger community partnerships. She sees the Saturday market as an example of this. “The market works through a lot of people coming together, including our visitors, and it would never exist in exactly the same way if it had been created in a different place or emerged from another group of people. I really enjoy seeing these unique things we create together, so I view my contribution to this team with a lot of gratitude and curious anticipation.”

When she’s not working, Shaina enjoys long walks in nature, keeping the community house cookie jar full to the brim with baked goods, and working her way through her “to-read” list.

We are thrilled to have her with us for the year.

Stop by the market soon and say hi to her and the rest of the *cinocrew.

 

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