Living in a thriving community has been my dream for over 35 years. For various reasons that dream has not materialized no matter how I have tried. I am so grateful that I own 27 acres of land with my family and that we at times are all together living in some ways as community. As much as I love my family, I want much more.
Getting involved in the pro-life movement by participating in the local 40daysforlife campaign has inspired me to expand my vision of community in a way that delights me. I have felt so deeply touched by the plight of women who have crises pregnancies. I also see a need for the pro-life movement to prove in a concrete way to pro-choice people that they really are a positive influence on society. Too often pro-choice people mistakenly assume that all pro-life folks want to do is to save an unborn baby without care for anything else going on in society.
I have long had a vision of creating a training school for community facilitators who could be extremely effective in harnessing the energy of multitudes of people in order to effect positive change in their location by building a sense of community where living creature can thrive. I now need to add to my list of who can thrive–unborn babies as well. (For various reasons I hadn’t really thought about that issue.)
I yearn to make a concrete proposal which includes every aspect of the community. I hope to find some kind of template (any ideas?) so I can make a business proposal. But in order to prime the pump of getting the vision more concrete, I want to do what I often do when I have something I want to manifest. Write about it as if it is really happening.
So here is my vision. If you have any ideas, comments, suggestions, prayers, or anything else you want to give me, I encourage you to share. Help in making a concrete business plan would be really appreciated. Thanks!
I would like to tell you about the Wellspring Community, Learning and Birthing Center
I am so excited that our Wellspring Community, Learning and Birthing Center has been going on successfully for one year now. It seems absolutely amazing that it was only eighteen months ago that I posted my dream on my blog. When someone came forward that very same day who said that she had the resources to fund my dream, I was floored. I knew intellectually that with God all things are possible, but I never dreamed that God could make things possible so fast!
After meeting with the benefactor and talking extensively, it was clear that we were a good fit. We also exchanged references and got some objective validation that we were both dependable, honest, and trustworthy.
With millions of dollars at my disposal, I hired people to help me design the whole project with input of course from family and friends. What a beautiful place we built in just three months! It was astonishing how fast things could go when lots of money was available.It took another three months to get the staff and all the training up and running. Six months to get started is not bad at all!
So now after having a year’s experience of directing this Wellspring Community, Learning and Birthing center under my belt, I can say that this is my calling. Using all my talents to help make this endeavor possible has brought me so much joy–I just want to turn cartwheels and do back flips to show how happy I am! Here is just a few of the wonderful things that have been happening.
The big picture
We have four major aspects of our Center. They are:
- Community Organizer Training
- Pro-life Organizer Training
- Birthing Center and community for families with crises pregnancies
- The over all community made up of staff and families
Our goal of having a community organizer and pro-life organizer in every city in the United States has been accomplished and they are all doing so well! The idea that I originally had about having two separate organizers worked out marvelously. The community organizer works with the organization I co-founded with Jordan called the Kindness Alliance. Organizations, businesses, faith based groups, government agencies and individuals who have a common goal of working together to make communities where every living creature thrives are now more effective than ever as they work under the umbrella of the Kindness Alliance.
The Community Organizer training has been extremely effective to equip talented, dedicated and service oriented individuals of all ages and backgrounds to build these alliances quickly in every city. Because we use the best practices that have been used such as the Coalition for a Livable Future in Portland, Oregon, we don’t have to re-create the wheel. With the abundance of resources we have from our benefactor as well as donations pouring in from many directions due to our success, we are able to pay these organizers a livable wage. We also fund an office, computer, web presence, administrative assistant and any other resources these organizers need. With the fantastic support they get from other community organizers and our Center, they have been able to achieve amazing results in a short amount of time. More about their results will be shared later in this article.
The Pro-Life Organizers have also had excellent results in their efforts to create alliances among all the pro-life organizations in their cities. By bringing all the pro-life groups together they have been effective in motivating most of the churches to get involved, showing churches how they can benefit in every way by support pro-life causes. One of the most impressive accomplishments is the many dialogues they have facilitated between pro-life and pro-choice groups. This is bringing much more unity and understanding into the cities. Pro-choice people who attend churches that stand up for pro-life are not so reactive. Although pro-choice activists still may not agree with the pro-life position, much progress has been made for full disclosure at abortion clinics and Planned Parenthood clinics. Pro-life and pro-choice advocates all agree that it is important for women to make an informed choice.
With Community Organizers and Pro-life organizers simultaneously bringing people together, after just a few months of intense outreach, all come under one umbrella of finding solutions to the problems facing the community. Helping everyone get their basic needs met such as food, shelter, healing, a sense of belonging, purpose, right livelihood, connection to God, and freedom really gets to the core of why crises pregnancies occur.
One of the reasons our Community Organizers are so successful is that they can devote full time to building trust in relationships with key people in the cities that they work in. As they cultivate many relationships and show a sense of understanding and listening to the needs of the various people, they in turn are trusted. As the people come together in a spirit of cooperation and dialogue to work in common projects that everyone can agree would be beneficial, everyone involved finds an amazing synergy and sense of accomplishment.
By empowering all the parties to do things they could never do alone as a business, organization, church, or government agency, credibility is fostered so that people are willing to listen to recommendations from the Community Organizer. Thus various educational projects such as teaching young people the scientific proof for the psychological and physical benefits of waiting to have sex until having a good marriage can be promoted.
Community Organizers really have helped the churches to become 24 hour community centers that have been very effective in reaching out to their neighborhood. By demonstrating how maximum usage of their very expensive buildings can pay for much of their expenses, churches have been willing to open their doors to meet all kinds of needs. They have also seen their membership numbers rise and people coming to Christ as they really walk their talk and be the hands and feet of Jesus. Other faith-based groups have also benefited from this model.
As the pro-life groups work more closely with other groups, the barriers are starting to come down and pro-choice and pro-life people are working together to solve the problems.at lead to abortion in the first place. Most pro-choice people do not prefer abortion–they just don’t see other options. Pro-life folks are happy to be working not only on stopping abortion, but pouring their boundless energy into prevention as well. The crises pregnancy centers are expanding and there are many more of them. But with all the prevention work going on–they will probably turn into natural birthing centers duplicated after the one we started in our Wellspring Community
While transformation is happening in the cities and more community organizers and pro-life organizers are being trained, our birthing center is thriving. There is something about having pregnant women and a birthing center in our community that brings a spiritual element that is hard to describe. But I can describe to you the idyllic conditions where our women who have crises pregnancies can thrive.
First of all, they each have a nurturing bedroom in a large house with a spacious living and dining room. With a house mother who truly is like a mom to the women, they have someone to talk to and get mentored by with love and compassion. They have super healthy food that meet every need for the baby and mom. Classes on all aspects of parenting as well as healing their past are given regularly. They have lots of time to rest, exercise, garden, do art, participate in worship and prayer, and cultivate friendships. They do some help around the community as well. Moms with supportive fathers can live in tiny houses with the father if they are married. We have many weddings at our chapel. If not married, the fathers have a dorm they can live in if the mothers are agreeable. In this atmosphere they can decide what they want to do with their child.
If mothers have children already, we also have good options to nurture this situation.
Whatever a mother decides to do–keep the baby or offer up for adoption, they are fully supported. Open adoption gives them an opportunity to choose the parents, and we highly recommend this. We have helped connect adoptive parents and a mother very successfully.
Natural birth is what we have here with some of the best midwives in the USA as well as a highly skilled doctor in case of emergencies. We have a wonderful hot tub for water births, and of course child birth training for all the mothers and fathers. The births have all been beautiful. We encourage attachment parenting so that the mothers nurse very successfully and sleep with their babies and carry them in slings. This has helped the moms bond with the child and helped with the transition from womb to world.
Mothers can stay as long as they need to stay and some have decided to make this their home and be on staff. Others we train to have a cottage home industry such as a day care center in their home which can transition to a homeschooling learning center as the children get older. We stay in touch with all of our moms and make sure they are doing well. We even help them to start urban homesteads and communities because they get training in community living while they are here. All of the women who have left us have become active in the neighborhood church community center in their neighborhood since it is an natural extension of what they experienced at Wellspring.
Now we have quite a thriving community at Wellspring. My kids are both happily employed here as well as my two former husbands. There is so much to do that our talents are all finally utilized to the max. We have funds to pay for all the staff we need who we select not only on the basis of their skill but also how they fit in with a community. We have a clustered housing situation where staff live and it is very nurturing to all to have a beautiful and earth friendly home with their jobs being a walking distance away or they have a home office. The training center is is spacious with a large dining room and kitchen where staff can share meals with students as well as mothers who want to come. There are lots of children and we have a wonderful school for all the young ones including children of pregnant moms.
We have transformed our 27 acres from a lovely forest to a beautiful park-like area with still wild areas left. But we are soon to purchase land all around so that we can have more wild areas including the beautiful waterfalls and bluffs adjacent to our land. We also are buying land with access to the air strip that is very close to us so that we can transport people quickly to our training center as well as send speakers all over the country to share about what we are doing.
We have few roads in our community but rather have designed it so that it is easy to get needs met by bicycle or walking. Orchards, gardens, berries, and lots of edible landscaping everywhere have been planted so that we can live off of the food we grow if necessary. The style of building, mostly cob, earth bag and straw bale blends into the natural landscape so that even the buildings are beautiful. We are off the grid using alternative energy for all our needs. Our water comes from rainwater catchment systems and pure spring water that runs freely on our land.
It might seem too good to be true, but with a high percentage of people who are truly following Jesus and others who have a sincere desire to serve God, we have a Garden of Eden where conflicts are minimized and healthy relationships are maximized. When all of our needs are met for food, shelter, right livelihood, freedom, belonging, and our connection to God is encouraged–healing occurs and we find that cooperation abounds. With a sense of fulfillment of working together for a common goal that is really making a difference and living in a natural healthy environment we find so much joy.
Also, guidelines like absolutely no gossip really help as has been found in other successful communities. But who needs to gossip. We are all on the same page and we love to speak life into and about each other. When we have a difference of opinion, we do our best to understand each other and have always been able to work things out similar to a good marriage where commitment is strong.
I thank God that finally my dreams have been realized. I thank God that we are making the difference I have always wanted to make. The tide seems to be turning. People are waking up and realizing that they must work together if we are to survive and thrive on this planet. For those of us who believe that God loves us and wants the best for us, we can now experience this more than ever. Using the experiences, wisdom and resources that have been developed by those who have come before us, including Jesus and his followers, our community organizers can facilitate each city to be a place where every living creature, including unborn babies can thrive.
Next year, we go international. I can’t wait!
Maybe God’s kingdom really can come on earth as it is in heaven. Just maybe.