All Posts By

Jasmin Morrell

What We Can Do For Aleppo

By | Uncategorized

By: Jeff Clark, with Jasmin Morrell
Reports from Aleppo are grim: bodies line the streets, women and children shot in their homes, aid workers unable to reach those who need them most.

Photo Credit: Freedom House, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

Photo Credit: Freedom House, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

What can we do? What must we do? What work can we do right now in the face of a situation so overwhelming and seemingly so far-off?

In faith narratives, for some it’s common to describe our decisions to turn toward Jesus as “asking him into our hearts.” What does it look like to bring the citizens of Aleppo into our hearts?

Pray – by all means. Hope – hope that those left in the besieged city can be safely transported out of the war zone. Remind – in our holiday conversations be intentional to remind those around us and those who lead us, of this tragic rupture in our community.

This Upworthy article, 7 Real Things You Can Do Right Now About the Catastrophe in Aleppo, is a helpful start. It lists things like ways to support the White Helmets, Doctors Without Borders, and the International Rescue Committee. Or this article from Huffington Post has compiled a list of charities working to provide food and medical care. Educate yourself and use social media to spread the word, elevating the level of attention this receives.

Move our hearts. Move our lips. Move our feet. Move, not sit – that’s what we do, because like the terrified citizens of Aleppo, we’re all immigrants. Always on the move, longing for home.

Syria has been locked in civil war for more than five years, with many innocent lives lost, and many more forced to flee or hide, living day-to-day with the understanding that death is on their doorstep. The conflict escalated to an alarming degree after a ceasefire, meant to facilitate civilian evacuation of the area, was broken. UN human rights office spokesman Rupert Colville recently commented, “We’re filled with the deepest foreboding for those who remain in this last hellish corner of eastern Aleppo.”

It’s easy to erase feelings of turmoil and fear from the mangers arranged on our mantles and in our yards this time of year. The scene is familiar and the pleasant associations undeniable. Yes, Mary and Joseph had a difficult time finding a place to birth their son, but they eventually found shelter, Magi brought gifts, and we’re happy to celebrate the child whose arrival shapes our faith. But Jesus’ childhood was far from a cozy Christmas card scene.

As the story goes, when Herod ordered all male children under the age of two in Bethlehem to be massacred, Mary and Joseph fled their home, taking refuge in Egypt. Political unrest, innocents slaughtered, and fleeing refugees…the age-old Christmas story is remarkably resonant with the bloody reality of what is happening today, right now.

St. John of the Cross, a sixteenth century Carmelite friar, writes:

If,
you want,
the Virgin will come walking down the road
pregnant with the holy,
and say,

“I need shelter for the night, please take me inside your heart,
my time is so close.”

Then under the roof of your soul, you will witness the sublime
intimacy, the divine, the Christ
taking birth
forever,
As she grasps your hand for help, for each of us
is the midwife of God, each of us.*

Each of us can help bring God into the world. And there is no better time than now.

The Many, band and long-time community members of the Goose, have offered their single “Room For Us All” in response to the crisis. Available for free download on Noisetrade, all tips will collected will go to The International Rescue Committee.

*Ladinsky, Daniel. Love Poems From God: Twelve Sacred Voices From the East and West. “If You Want,” 306. Penguin Compass: New York, 2002.

 

Hope Rises Like Bread

By | Uncategorized

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This is what happens
because you make Wild
Goose happen:

Dreams are born
Visions are nourished
Minds are changed
Spirits rearranged

And people leave
With eyes and arms opened
To the whole wide aching world.

Ready to go to work
Ready to stand for justice
And sing new songs of hope
Ready to trouble the waters,

Create and awaken.
And ready to make a difference.

Tears and laughter collide,
converge,
Make something amazingly new together.
Sometimes even mercy falls like rain.

Conversations that might not happen anywhere else
Begin, blossom, blow
the lid off.

Questions are brought out of hiding
And somehow, someway,

Hope rises like bread.

This is what happens because
the Wild Goose Festival happens.

And the Wild Goose Festival
only happens because of you.

 

Introducing Our New Director of Programming and Communications

By | Goose News

We’re so excited that Jasmin Morrell has recently joined the Wild Goose Festival staff, and she has certainly hit the ground running. But she did manage to slow down one day long enough to answer some questions on who she is and what brings her to us.

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So what made you want to come work for the Goose? Probably not the money…?

Jasmin: Ha. No. But since Wild Goose’s conception, I’ve loved the idea of art, justice, music and spirit intersecting with a community of people hungry to explore those themes together. In 2011, I led a creative writing workshop at the festival around the idea that “your daily life is your temple.” We talked and wrote about where we saw Spirit in otherwise mundane or ordinary found objects. In 2012, I helped curate the festival’s “sacred spaces” and worship services. Now that I’m on staff, I’m enjoying the dynamic, co-creative process of building a movement that welcomes everyone’s scared humanity and unique visions for how to make the world a more just, safe, and beautiful place.

What were you doing before the Goose?

Jasmin: I was serving as the Director of Communications for Love Wins Ministries in Raleigh, NC, a community dedicated to hospitality for people experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity. My experience in community there changed me in ways that I’m still processing, but suffice it to say, I was profoundly impacted by my role bearing witness to and amplifying the voices of our friends who live outside. It was my honor and privilege to work and form relationships there, and I’m grateful to play a similar function with the Goose.

What kinds of things do you think have been helpful in preparing you for this job?

Jasmin: I studied English, Journalism, and Creative Writing in college, which, without the EducationView More: http://cynthiaviola.pass.us/lovewins component, pretty much prepared me for slinging mochas at Starbucks after graduation while I found myself. Which is exactly what I did before I got a job with the local school system’s department of Public Relations. I’ve always loved telling stories through the written word, but I learned there that I loved planning events and creating warm and hospitable spaces for conversation and connection to occur. Anybody who knows me knows that I love to host a party, and working for the Goose is like a giant extension of that love. If I could live in Middle-earth, it definitely would be as a celebration-loving hobbit in the Shire.

I’ve also done some ghost-writing and a lot of freelance editing over the years for publishing houses and authors in our community, so I’m fairly familiar with a lot of Goose people, which is helpful when it comes to the programming side of things.   

What do you think makes you and Wild Goose right for each other right now?

Jasmin: I’m personally invested in several central themes of the festival. The meeting of art, creativity, and Spirit has nourished and challenged me throughout my faith journey; I feel closest to God in the creative process, and I relish the incredible power of imagination.

As a person of color, issues of racial justice and equity have always loomed largely for me as I’ve grappled with them in daily life and considered my identity, the identity of my ancestors, and my place in the Church and culture at large.

Once I discovered feminist and womanist theology, it was nothing short of a spiritual awakening. “Smashing the patriarchy” is good for us all, and living a more embodied faith has been life changing.

Lastly, when my daughter was born in 2014 with Down Syndrome, a whole new world opened up to me, and I was suddenly a part of a community I knew very little about. Jean Vanier’s work has been particularly influential around inclusiveness of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the Church.

All that said, I suppose I have a pretty diverse lens through which I view the world, which I think is important for someone with my role in the Goose community. I love the metaphor of serving as a midwife, and I hope my versatility can help birth new expressions of the kind of love in action we are known for.           

What aspect of your job are you most excited about?

Jasmin: I’m most excited to help draw more people to the festival. People say that our community is an invigorating and generative experience, and when they leave the festival they are inspired to do good in their own lives and communities back home. It’s like this lovely ripple effect that has the power to touch so many. I see the Goose becoming a tsunami for holy goodness, an unstoppable force across our cultural landscape.

Do you have any sort of  hope or vision for the Goose?

Jasmin: I have the audacious hope that we can change the world!