Building, Event, People

Family Fun Nights: Ceremonial Play

This summer, *cino has been hosting Family Fun Nights every Thursday from 5-7 pm at the Huss Project in Three Rivers, Michigan. Attendance was a bit sparse the first couple of weeks, but over the past month we’ve managed to attract a fairly consistent group of folks from the neighborhood for crafts, gardening, snacks, and sports. It’s been a great addition to our weekly schedule, and (I’ve found) a time to be re-energized by the Three Rivers community.

While lots of activities take place at these events, kickball is undoubtedly the favorite–for our guests and *cino staff, alike–whether playing or watching. I’m pretty terrible at it, but every week I look forward to running our homemade carpet bases on the crunchy grass behind Huss (especially when my team conquers!). I know, I know…it’s “just a game,” but it’s slowly becoming the place where I remember how to be a kid. I like to think it means something like that for the rest of the *cino folks, too.

Of course, remembrance is a funny thing these days. As many who are reading know, *cino recently made the difficult decision of canceling Practicing Resurrection due to a lack of registered guests. We’ve scratched our heads and asked the obvious questions–did it cost too much? did we advertise enough? are others as excited about this stuff as we are?–only to find ourselves empty and waiting for answers that aren’t coming. Over the past few weeks, silent waves of disappointment and frustration have occasionally reminded us of our story, our attempt and our lack of success. Perhaps the situation isn’t as traumatic as varied vocabulary makes it sound, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t upset about this inevitable choice.

Even so, I’m equal parts reminded of *cino’s mission as an organization attempting to exhibit qualities of the coming Kingdom–ideally, a taste of what is “already, but not yet.” While part of me definitely and concretely laments our situation, the other asks: “how do we respond faithfully in this Christian community?” I don’t have all the answers, but I am hopeful that together we will continue (attempting) to foster an atmosphere of ridiculous joy because of our faith.

Indeed, the Hauerwasian ethic — “the faithfulness of doing nothing” — rings truer than ever in times like these. And while I am well aware that there is an apprehension to accept such “quietist” perspectives, particularly among those of us who desperately desire to make good culture, I still believe there is a place and time for such perspectives and reflection; perhaps, even, a place and time much like this…

¨In the wake of this story of “failure,” we’ve continued our Family Fun Nights (and lots of other events, too). Appropriately, we’ve had a lot of fun at them. We’ve made new friends and walked through misters. We’ve sat in the shade and chatted in the garden. We’ve drank from the hose and completed puzzles with missing pieces. Again, we’ve smiled, and it’s been great.
Thus, weekly we return to kickball liturgy: the joy of a game for it’s own sake, a score that never get’s counted, and a time that asks to be wasted on something as precious as childhood. Together we stand in the sun, watch in the shade, and (sometimes) feel the breeze: a whispered reminder that another story–a story of hope–continues to unfold in our midst, even in the hot heat of this extraordinary summer.

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Huss Future Festival 2012

On Saturday, July 21st *culture is not optional hosted it’s annual Huss Future Fest at the Huss Project in Three Rivers, Michigan. The event included art vendors and installations, musical performances, mural paintings, instrument making, local produce, a fish fry, veggies from Triple Ripple community garden, a media sale, baked goods, a garage sale, face-painting, and much more! Over 300 guests joined us.
Faces Painted
Children’s activities were a big hit this year at the festival.
The art vendors caused for a busy hall throughout the day.
A collaborative mural was painted.
Grand Rapids’ CARE closed the day with a set.
Thanks to all who participated. Check out our Future Festival 2012 photo set on Flickr for more great photos from the day. We look forward to seeing you again next year!

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Organization, People

Home, sweet home: 2012 *cino summer interns get started

2012 interns
Last Friday, June 1, marked the beginning of the *cino summer internship program here in Three Rivers. This year, five interns (including myself) signed up to live in community alongside existing members of *cino, with the intent of helping the organization live into a kingdom vision for this small town in southern Michigan. Our first weekend here consisted of an array of happenings, which served as a great introduction to the area and gave us plenty to do, too.
After move-in Friday afternoon, we loaded up and drove to the middle school for Stand for Children Day, our first “official” *cino event. Stand for Children is a celebration of the local youth that includes food, games, and a variety of activities. At our booth, we shared information about *cino with members of the community and helped children paint wooden squares for a collaborative art project (to be unveiled at Future Festival on July 21). The kids seemed to really enjoy using their imaginations, and I know we had a great time assisting, watching, and listening to them throughout that process.
Next was our first weekly community dinner at the Trinity Episcopal Church rectory (where we live together). If there is one thing I have already grown to love about this community, it is the food that we share. With a few interns (myself included) working for a couple of generous local farmers, our supply of fresh produce seems infinite. Many of the interns are quite skilled in the kitchen, as well. Needless to say, all of this makes for wonderful meals, for which I am very grateful.
The evening was capped off by a showing of The Big Lebowski at the recently renovated Riviera Theatre. Some of us left the theatre shocked, while others left even more convinced that the Rectory is in need of a new rug (something that would really tie the room together). Nevertheless, we all left anxious for the morning to arrive.
Saturday began with a biking tour of Three Rivers. Our first stop was Hescott’s Donuts where Rob and Kirstin treated us all to some delicious pastries (I got a maple frosted cinnamon roll and it was fantastic). Other stops and sights included the Three Rivers Public Library, Hidden Marsh Sanctuary, and finally — our destination — Huss School. When we arrived, Rob gave us a tour of the building while Emily prepared the space for our picnic and discussion on the back lawn. Once again, the food was delicious, and the conversation that followed was a great time of sharing and learning about each other. Saturday continued, and ended, with some much appreciated “free time.” The house spent the evening chatting, reading, post-meal lingering, and Bananagramming. In my opinion, the evening marked one of the first truly memorable experiences of the summer. I’m hopeful that many more evenings will be and feel as warm as that one did.
Sunday morning the entire *cino crew met at Trinity. After the service, we helped the congregation with some yard work and chores around the building. Emily and I had a good conversation while we stubbornly trimmed the bushes in the backyard by hand (no electricity for us, thank you). When we had finished working, Father David invited us to eat with some members of the church, which is exactly what we did. Gathered around a table, we got to know a few folks from the church-a kind bunch of people who do a lot for *cino and provide us with a place to stay. The rest of Sunday was (for the most part) filled with a healthy bit of nothingness, as we put to rest our first weekend spent together-a collection of days that I will not forget.
Of course, this is not all that happened. Throughout the weekend we relaxed on the porch, drank coffee, and told stories. Margaret considered leading an “ice-breaker” game before we all shot it down. Jay was introduced to Craig Thompson. Hannah made some cookies. And everyone listened patiently to my absurd ramblings (about Magic, mini-horses, and the dentist). The people with whom I will be living for the next three months are an inspiring collective.
Perhaps it is the flickering optimism inside of me; or the naivety that comes with youth; or, perhaps — dare I say it — it is the truth. Regardless, the more time I spend in Three Rivers, the more I believe that something truly amazing is happening in this place; that it is beautiful. That discovered in the flavor of every bite and beneath all the torn up carpet and hidden in the silence after the thundering roar of the Rectory toilet, there is a gentle whisper of hope.

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