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Your Tribe is at San Francisco Theological Seminary.

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Your Tribe is at San Francisco Theological Seminary. Take the next step on your journey here. 

If Wild Goose is the festival, SFTS is the after party. Ok, we’re not saying life on our campus is on par with 3 days of gettin’ down in Hot Springs, NC… it is a graduate school, after all. And we hear that some professors (we’re not naming names) assign A LOT of reading. But we didn’t choose this path because it’s easy. We were called. Something inside told us we needed to make a difference in this big, ever-changing world. San Francisco Theological Seminary will prepare you to take that passion and put it into action, whether it’s in the ministry, spiritual direction, or using your degree to be a greater, more compassionate leader of a nonprofit.

Need more?

We Stand for All the Good Things 

DIVERSITY

EQUITY

INCLUSION

And we walk our talk.

Heard of the Beyoncé Mass? That was us. Rev. Yolanda Norton and her Beyoncé and the Hebrew Bible students came up with the concept that resulted in nearly 1,000 people attending mass at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco on a Wednesday night. It was about inclusion. It was about EVERYONE feeling God’s love and acceptance in a place of worship, AND outside those walls. That’s what we believe, and what you’ll experience at SFTS.

Need more convincing? 

Really?? 

PREVIEW WEEKEND NOVEMBER 1-3, 2018

Ok. How about you come visit us for a few days and see for yourself. We just happen to be hosting a Preview Weekend November 1-3.

Attend classes & worship. Meet faculty & staff. Hang out with current students and ask them all the questions. Visit the GTU.

Eat delicious food & stay on campus—OUR TREAT.

Here’s a quick video of what it’s like.

Did we mention that we’re in the San Francisco Bay Area?

Gorgeous.

Super fun.

Amazing food.

Your. Tribe.

Stop by our booth on Main Street and talk to Isai Garcia from our Admissions Team about our MDiv, MATS, Online MATS, and more…

Can’t wait? Sign up for Preview Weekend right now! See you there!

Bridging the Gap | Praxis Forum Group

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The Praxis Forum is a group committed to bridging the gap between academic work and on-the-ground efforts in religion. We conduct our own scholarship efforts, but our main focus is the realization of these efforts. We want to emerge from the dusty books and abstract ideas and hit the ground running, putting our knowledge into practice. Praxis!

Praxis is a group attached to the Westar Institute, a non-profit research organization committed to studying the Christian tradition. Westar works to improve religious literacy in the public as it pushes the envelope with cutting-edge scholarship.

Even for an educated audience, sometimes understanding experts can be like wading through molasses. Or maybe we understand it but do not feel like we can put it to use. The ‘so what?’ of religious studies can be stifling. This is where the Praxis Forum comes in.

What could this look like? Perhaps it is a discussion circle debriefing academic discourse. Maybe it is something more artistic, such as a podcast series or theatrical production. It could be tied to worship, such as a sermon, devotional, or Taizé service. Whatever it may be, we want to act on scholarship and make it something tangible. 

We are primarily interested in Christianity but we are not exclusionary of other faith traditions. All of us are concerned, interested, or involved with religion in some way. Many of us are pastors, work in chaplaincy, or are in religious studies. Many of us engage with material in our art or community events. Some of us are religious, some of us are not. Some of us don’t quite know what it means to be religious but see something important in faith traditions. And faith traditions are transforming rapidly and affecting everything from family structures to national policies. We are invested in the research and the conversations and desire to do more.

We hope to make scholarship more accessible and more tangible. We yearn to find more ways to engage audiences who are committed to critical thinking in their studies or spiritual lives. Whatever your interest level, faith, or education, Praxis welcomes you to join us in conversation and practice.

To be considered for membership please tell us in 500 words or less: How do you see yourself and/or your work in relation to the mission of the Praxis Forum? Submit your response along with a current resume or CV to praxis@westarinstitue.org

Praxis Membership gives you:

  • A part in an integrated network of leaders
  • Ability to apply for funding to attend Westar Spring meetings
  • Access to Member-only meetings at events
  • Access to Member-only resources
  • Ability to host, lead, and/or attend Praxis events around the country
  • Deeply discounted fees for events
  • $40 annual membership fee to be renewed every year

Website: https://thepraxisforum.com/

Twitter: @PraxisF


We are so excited to have Praxis Forum Group as a part of #WildGoose2018

Not Fences, Lord, but Tables

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In 2017, a group of students from Wake Forest University School of Divinity published a collection of prayers and poems titled Words Made Flesh. I begin by sharing one poem from that collection:

THE BODY, RE-MEMBERED

A prayer for Holy Communion

Not fences, Lord,

But tables.

No us,

No them,

But the whole body—

Re-membered.

Here at the table

We are hosted by Jesus,

Called into wholeness

Through radical hospitality,

Put back together

Through the breaking of the bread,

Filled up by the extravagant pouring out

Of your Great Love.

Here at the table

The shards of our hearts

Become a mosaic of hope.

We, the body,

Are re-membered

To be sent out again,

Grace-filled table-builders

In a fence-laden world.

— Nicole Newton (MDiv ‘17).

The unfortunate reality is that today’s religious culture no longer guarantees everyone a seat at the table. Rather, it seems that more barriers are being constructed that prohibit us from being in holy communion with one another. But, what if this reality was reimagined? What if theological education focused on providing space for religious leaders to sit at tables with the whole body? What if theological education re-membered community by evaluating new emerging patterns of religious life and built opportunities for new collaborations? Would we then see more “grace-filled table-builders in a fence-laden world?”

At Wake Forest University School of Divinity, we have explored exploring these questions with intentionality and investment. Our newest result? The Collaborative for Public Religious Leadership. The Collaborative for Public Religious Leadership connects the School of Divinity with community partners in the work of justice, reconciliation, and compassion. Through this collaboration, we aim to transform both ministry and theological education through innovative community partnerships and projects such as:

  • The Art of Ministry Curriculum which focuses on vocational formation through the integration of classroom and internship-based learning to introduce students to the life and work of ministry.
  • Clergy Making a Place: Early Career Pastors as Generative Community Leaders, a pastoral leadership initiative that connects clergy with business and civic leaders to effectively engage and respond to today’s social challenges.
  • The Faith-Based Nonprofit Leadership Certificate Program, an online course aimed at building the skillset and knowledge of those leading and forming nonprofits.
  • Food, Health, and Ecological Well-Being Program,  which helps cultivate faithful leaders to work on food insecurity, health disparity, and/or ecological degradation.
  • “The Foundry House,” an intentional Christian community that offers young adults from varying backgrounds and life experiences the opportunity to create a residential community that exemplifies the love of Jesus Christ.
  • Practitioners-in-Residence, a program that presents short-term residential experiences at the School of Divinity for ministry practitioners to reflect on, read and write about, ritualize, and be in conversation with curious students, faculty, staff, and community members who share interests in the practitioner’s field of work.
  • Worship Planning as a Spiritual Practice Congregational Partnership, a co-learning initiative between the School of Divinity and partner worshiping communities to promote worship services that cultivate a spirit of gratitude and collaborative hospitality, and embody Gospel care in and to the world.  

Through such partnerships and projects, The Collaborative for Public Religious Leadership explores place-based pedagogies with faith communities and community partners to better engage wisdom about the life and work of ministry that is emerging in the practice of ministry. Instead of building fences, we are deconstructing them through collaboration.

I invite you to take a moment and further explore The Collaborative for Public Religious Leadership on our website and see how you or your organization may be able to sit at the table with Wake Forest University School of Divinity. Additionally, whether you are a prospective student, an alumni, or a potential collaborative partner, I invite you to stop by the Wake Forest University School of Divinity exhibit tent at this year’s festival to learn how you can engage with us in the work of justice, compassion, and reconciliation.

Rayce Lamb, Director of Ministry & Vocational Exploration

Wake Forest University School of Divinity


We’re so pleased to have Wake Forest Univseristy School of Divinity as a partner and sponsor of #WildGoose2018

Your Invitation to Desanka

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What is Desanka?

For years, Desanka has joined the Wild Goose Festival and has been a staple in the community. Desanka is a spiritual community with a mission to walk in the way of Love. “We bring LIGHT and LOVE into the dark places of those who are seeking Light and choose to give our lives away to love others – right where they are.”

We are a collection of individuals from varying faith streams who love to Love – to practice BEING Love. Our goal is to walk the Desanka Way – “to implement a conscious, Jesus-centered, Spirit-aware lifestyle in our community and life” – to walk in spiritually empowered Joy-Contentment-Pleasantness- Gladness. We also seek to include others in our mission/lifestyle so that we might transform the world together, one person at time – one encounter at a time.

Desanka folks serve anywhere we are invited at events and in festivals, serving as volunteers and giving food and other gifts away as an expression of Love. This year, we will participate in 17 events and festivals, from our hometown near Raleigh, to the western US, to the U.K. and everything we do is at no charge (though “pay-it-forward” donations are welcome).

At the Wild Goose Festival we will have these offerings of service (leads) :

  • Desanka Diner – serving healthy and basic meals (for free!) to all volunteers and to those that are hungry
    • Breakfast Club (Travis Compton)
    • Lunch & Supper . ..and all through the day, there is some kind of pick-up food (Caroline Buchanan)
    • Dining Facility & Hospitality (Megan Lanier) 
  • Desanka Spirit Café – serving loving dishes of prayers, blessings, spiritual readings (prophetic, in church lingo ;), orchestrated by teams of 3 trained Desanka members to give you a blessing. (Kelly Williams & Dennis Huxley)

  • HeartSync Hotel – the antithesis of ‘heart-break hotel’, people check-in to one of two hotels (tents) for a little less than an hour to be facilitated in deep inner healing through connecting with the Spirit of Truth-in-Love (Jesus) and experience the mission of God to “heal the broken hearted and set the captives free” … in your own soul. These are 50 minutes “speedy-HeartSync” sessions (normally 2 hours) that are scheduled on the hour all daylight hours. Stop by and sign up for a reservation! Walk-ins are welcome, if the space is available. (Bill Venable & Alycia Henry)

  • Art-Xposure, CREATIVE REVIVAL:
    All of us were built with the desire to create by THE Creator; God. He gave us the desire – you can’t hide it! The Creative Revival space is dedicated to the journey in freeing our creative hearts by moving the resources of Heaven through creative expression. This is a safe, collaborative space open for spiritual exploration and exposure to our deep desire to create in which we remove the lies spoken to creative hearts, eliminate jealousy and competition, build community and glorify God. Come paint, doodle, dance, write or play and begin your journey through Creative Revival! (Megan Gordan)

  • Desanka Community Store – this is one of the ways that we attempt to help provide for the Desanka trips and service that we offer. We all work back home, and we have some amazing philanthropic givers, but this store represents some of the amazing talent in Desanka for the creative. Our store is located with the other vendors and we hope you will come in and find something that you wish to give to a loved one … or a stranger … or an enemy. (Kelly Williams & Zanan Edwards)

  • Administration & Support – may sound silly to list this here, but honor to the amazing team of leaders who work behind the scenes that seldom get noticed, without whom we would not have a Desanka presence at Goose, or anywhere … Maggie Williams (Inventory & website), Michael Buchanan (transportation & equipment, lower Village Major), Lewis Humphrey (load-in and upper Village build), Lauren Bowyer (admin & finance), Danielle Bright (Communication), Bev Hargrove (Service Projects), Alycia Henry (Prayer/Blessing Coordination) & Peter Lanier (Desanka Garden).

    We are thrillede to welcome Desanka back once again for their amazing service and support of #WildGoose2018. 

 

An Intern’s Expectations of #WildGoose2018, from Sojourners

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Sojourners and Wild Goose have a long tradition of partnership. As a Sojourners intern I’m incredibly eager to be part of it this year! This will be my first trip to Wild Goose, and I’m already anticipating drinking beer, singing hymns, and taking in the funky smells that signal trees and rain.

I imagine that Wild Goose has a special place in the hearts and minds of like-minded Christians because it is a space of safe movement – a place where your identities are celebrated and your doubts are welcomed. One quick look at the speakers and sessions attest to this core value. Some of the ones I know I want to attend are: Faith in a Fat Body: Learning to Love Our Bodies, Our Neighbors and Ourselves, Loving Our Way to Freedom: Ridding Ourselves of Internalized Transphobia, Homophobia, and Queerphobia, and Unstuck: Sex and Intimate Justice – Exploring Narratives of Patriarchal Power, Female Sexuality and Messages in the Church. We are in for a deep time of learning and understanding!

I’m hopeful that our time together at Wild Goose will reflect a vision of what the kingdom of God will look like. Although the Wild Goose attracts mostly white and white passing folks, you will find me there because I believe in spaces where faith and spirituality are in relationship with justice and acceptance. Hence, I hope our time there will leave us desiring more diversity and celebrating it in our lives.

So be sure to stop by the Sojourners table and say hello! You can pick up some of our current issues, and our widely loved, “God is NOT a Republican…. Or a Democrat” bumper sticker – for free! Afterwards, we can walk over to Beer and Hymns and raise our glasses together!


Angeles Urban is an intern with Sojourners, and we are stoked to have her and her team join us as supporters and sponsors of #WildGoose2018! 

A Prophetic Voice in the Public Square, from Wesley Theological Seminary

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By: Sammy Klipsch, MDiv 2019

I was once asked what kind of seminary Wesley is. Is it a head, heart or hand seminary? What a question! One that we should be asking ourselves as we discern what kind of seminary education we want, what kind of seminary we want to be and what kind of church we want to be. Reflecting on that question, I truly believe Wesley Theological Seminary encompasses all three. We are rooted in faith and academics, yet also provide opportunity in class and field education to translate what we learn into something practical. 

Wesley Theological Seminary is a school that cares about the practical implications of theology and faith. Our mission is to equip persons for Christian ministry and leadership in the church and the world, to advance theological scholarship, and to model a prophetic voice in the public square.

Wesley is a place that invites students to wrestle with their faith and beliefs by asking big questions like: what is the role of Christian and religious ethics in public life? What is the role of a leader? What is the role of an ally? What does it mean to have a pastoral presence? What does it mean to live in the brokenness of this world but also in its beauty? And what does it mean “to model a prophetic voice in the public square?”

The last line of our mission statement has proven to be even more important to me throughout my time at Wesley. In times of transition in our country and in different religious denominations, this goal of modeling a prophetic voice in the public square is not to be taken lightly. Wesley doesn’t take it lightly. I’m inspired by the passionate people who are creating justice within the world through our Community Engagement Fellowship, the National Capital Semester for Seminarians and all of our specializations.

I had the opportunity to participate in the Community Engagement Fellows as a Missional Fellow. The Community Engagement Fellows allow students to combine both classroom and community-based learning to form a ministry project that engages in the community they serve. Through this program I’ve learned a lot of practical skills, like how to fundraise, develop support for new ideas, and how to cast a vision and see it through step by step. I’ve experienced the importance of trust when entering a new community, which allows you take a step that maybe hasn’t been taken before. I have been able to use things I’ve learned in the classroom like different theologies, ethics, and exegesis as tools to read scripture in context and to work to serve a community that welcomed me in when I moved to D.C. to start seminary.

“To model a prophetic voice in the public square” is what we are called to do as leaders in the church and the world. Wesley has given me the tools to do this and has connected me with a network of people who work to do the same. I’m still discerning what ministry will look like in the future for me, but I am beyond thankful for Wesley for being that prophetic space to create change. I hope you follow where God is calling you and that you check out all Wesley Theological Seminary offers. Stop by our table at Wild Goose to learn more!


We’re so proud to have Wesley Theological Seminary as a partner and sponsor of #WildGoose2018

Meet the United Church of Christ at the Goose!

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We’re a mainline Protestant Denomination made up of a diverse community of believers who commit to unite together, even in difference, to serve God in the co-creation of a just and sustainable world. These are the values that link us together.

We have a vision of a just world for all. We welcome all, love all, and commit to justice in service to our neighbor and God’s creation. We have an initiative, called 3 Great Loves, where we celebrate our expressions of Love of Neighbor, Love of Children and Love of Creation through ministry and service. It’s our way of sharing the love of God and Jesus Christ with the world around us.

We believe that each person is unique and valuable. Each human being is on a spiritual journey, and each of us travels that road differently. But no matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey you are welcome here.

We believe that the persistent search for God produces an authentic relationship with God, engendering love, strengthening faith, dissolving guilt, and giving life purpose and direction.

We believe the UCC is called to be a united and uniting church. “That they may all be one.” (John 17:21) “In essentials–unity, in nonessentials–diversity, in all things–charity,” Our overarching creed is love.

We believe that God calls us to be servants in the service of others and to be good stewards of the earth’s resources.

We believe that the UCC is called to be a prophetic church. As in the tradition of the prophets and apostles, God calls the church to speak truth to power, liberate the oppressed, care for the poor and comfort the afflicted.

We believe in the power of peace, and work for nonviolent solutions to local, national, and international problems.

After all, we are a people of possibility!


Thanks so much to the United Church of Christ for being a supporter and sponsor of the Wild Goose Festival! Be sure to meet them at their tent at #WildGoose2018

7 Things First-Timers Need To Know About The Goose

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The Wild Goose Festival has been described by many as magical, emotional, life-changing, and more! It is the time of year where people from all sorts of backgrounds, denominations, spiritual practices, and life paths come together to celebrate the creative Spirit of the Living God, to learn what it is to engage with the struggle of being human.

And not to mention, it is a helluva lot of fun, too!

We recently asked on our Twitter, “What are some things first-timers should know?” And these were some of the responses:

Make a plan, but be flexible.

You’re going to have your program with all the talks, musical performances, presentations, panels, workshops, live podcast recordings, hymn-sings, and dance parties marked up. And yes, everything is incredible! But give yourself some wiggle room.

Maybe you’ll meet some new friends and decide to go to a different talk. Perhaps you’ll need some time to reflect on all you’re experiencing down by the river. Maybe you need to take a nap. (Trust us, you may want to treat yourself to that.)

As much as possible, go with the flow, do what you want, and listen to what your body is telling you.

 

Be prepared for the rain (because it always rains).

As much as we wish we could pray a hedge of protection over the Goose campgrounds, it never fails that at least a few times over the weekend, there is rain. So be prepared! Quick rain ponchos to pull over yourself, umbrella, rain jacket, rain boots, whatever is going to make you feel most comfortable.

And that means wear shoes you don’t mind getting dirty, or maybe break out those Chacos or Teevas you haven’t worn in a while. Those will be a lifesaver over the weekend.

(And btw- there are rain ponchos available in the book tent for sale.)

Eat “THE VEGGIE THING”

There are so many amazing and delicious food choices every year from a variety of vendors and food trucks. Not to mention, plenty of gluten-free and vegan options, and also tons of sweet and savory treats as well. But the crowd favorite of so many is the Veggie Thing!

Think of a giant grilled tortilla, packed with the yummiest assortment of fresh veggies, and it’s as big as your face. It’ll fill you right up.

Try it at least once. (Maybe twice.)

Bring some bug spray & a light jacket for the evening.

Friends, let’s make no illusions about our situation: we are in the forest, in nature. Of course, there are bugs. Of course, you’re going to get chilly in the evening. So come prepared with some bug spray, and if you forget, I bet your neighbor around your campsite will have one.

And seriously, bring that jacket. Even if you tie it around your waist and put it on later, you’ll thank yourself for it. Especially if you’re going to come to the fantastic nightly concerts. You’re going to want that.

Don’t be afraid to disconnect

You may have heard that in the mountains of Hot Springs, NC that there is not a whole lot of cell phone signal.

You heard right.

But that’s not always a bad thing. Wild Goose can be a great opportunity to disconnect from the rest of the world and refresh your soul. What would it be like to be present in your body, your mind, and what the Spirit is saying without the distraction of likes and notifications? (How many of you are stressed right now thinking about that?)

And, to ease your mind, we do have some wi-fi in our office and phone in case you need to get in touch with folks back home. No worries.

BYOC (Bring Your Own Chair)

There is seating under the tents for presentations, but in front of the main stage, that’s on you. Not to mention when you’re sharing food or drinks around a campfire, having your own seating is going to be essential. It doesn’t have to be big or fancy, it just has to be functional.

We suggest bringing one that folds up and swings easily over the shoulder. And if you’ve got little ones, this will be helpful for when they get tired.

Be open to surprise

The wild goose (as in the animal), if you didn’t know, is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Wild. Unpredictable. (And might bite you in your backside when you’re not looking.) And the Wild Goose Festival is no different. There’s always something new, beautiful, and profound happening.

Between the main stage talks, the musical performances, the workshops, and the friendships you’ll create, it is a time of renewal and new beginnings.

Be open to it. Be looking for it. And be ready to experience it. This is a place to come and get a fresh word for your life and some fresh ideas on how to reimagine the Church.

So if this is your first time at the Wild Goose Festival, welcome. There’s a seat at our table for you.

(…as long as you bring your own chair. )

Surprised By Hope #WildGooseMoments

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#WildGooseMoments is a series where folks are sharing the experiences that touched them, surprised them, and made them fall in love with the Wild Goose Festival. Today, Janis LeMieux shares her experience of hearing God in the quiet. 


I live on Hope Street, near the intersection with Faith Street.  It’s a good reminder where my focus should lie.  But, sometimes in the grind of everyday living, it’s easy to forget in whom my hope and faith should rest – even with street signs to remind me. 

In many ways, my life has been what some would consider unconventional.  I haven’t always taken the easiest path.  For a few years, life had been full of change, a few setbacks, and deep internal questions.  Hope was hard to maintain.  So, in the spring of 2017 when one of my pastors told me, “You NEED to come to Wild Goose Festival.” And I hesitantly agreed, not knowing what to expect. 

Although I had heard about The Wild Goose for a few years, I didn’t really know what to expect.  The more I learned, the more excited I became. I decided to volunteer, and when the festival dates were near, I packed up my camping gear and off I went, still not really knowing what was in store for me. 

As I arrived on site, I could feel myself physically relax.  Welcome and kindness seemed to permeate the air.  At the volunteer meeting on the first evening, I listened to Bec and remember thinking, “Oh my God, I am finally in a place where I am welcome, where I belong, and where I am safe to be exactly who I am.” 

On the second day, as I walked in darkness to the Desanka tent where I had early morning kitchen duty, I was struck by the dark and quiet. Standing for a moment on the dirt path, trying not to resent the early hour as is my normal not-morning-person nature, I took a moment to be thankful for all the souls and experiences I was encountering. 

I turned off my light and listened to the whisper of the wind in the tops of the trees, the sound of the river beside me, and the faint sounds of humans awakening to the day.  In the hush, as the day lightened, I felt the presence of my fellow campers and could feel the very real presence of the Holy Spirit, whispering to me that the people of God had gathered and were taking their rest. 

Surrounded by thousands of people from all walks of life, different faiths, diverse races and cultures, all committed to co-existing in peace and treating each other with respect and compassion during our time together, I was filled with hope!  That hope surprised me in the moment and has sustained me since. 

I have prayed the prayer below often since then and it is always in my heart as Wild Goose days draw near again.  The hopefulness I received has been a gift and I cannot wait to have my soul replenished, my faith in humanity restored, and my joy in the company of fellow seekers renewed once again at The Wild Goose.

Creator, touch our hearts that we may hear you in the small, silent moments of our lives.  Help us to live in hope and faith so that through our gentleness and respect, others may see your grace as a welcoming beacon.  Keep us safe in the world until we all gather again at The Wild Goose.


Janis is going to be returning to Wild Goose Festival this summer! Are you going to be there? Be sure to get your tickets today!

 

Do you have a story you’d love to share with #WildGooseMoments? email it to kevin@wildgoosefestival.org! 

Why I’m Coming Back to Wild Goose

By Goose News, Guest Post, Wild Goose StoriesOne Comment

This week, we’re beginning to share stories from people in the Wild Goose community. Things that have empowered us and challenged us. Stories that inspire and stories that keep pushing us to ask better questions. We hope you enjoy this first story from our friend, Kevin Garcia. 


My first time at the Wild Goose Festival was in the summer of 2016. I was a fresh six months out of the closet, diving headlong into LGBTQ advocacy work and desperately looking for spaces that would not just accept me for who I was, but celebrate me for who I was created to be. And being that I was super broke, working for a non-profit, a friend of mine who was a co-creator at the festival actually gave me the extra ticket.

It was an act of generosity that would affect the trajectory of my life.

As I walked into the Wild Goose grounds, I was just taken aback by the energy I felt. The joy I felt was palpable. The people I ran into were actually friendly and wanted to know who I was, and not just in that annoying Sunday morning, greet-your-neighbor, kind of way. It was genuine curiosity. Whether it was a stranger I’d sit with to share a midday meal with or a bro-looking pastor (who, admittedly, I wrote off as some white pseudo-progressive) who I shared a beer with while we sang old hymns, the relationships I began to make were authentic.

The way people treated me made it feel like I’d been a part of the community my entire life. There were no strangers. There was no hiding. I could be myself the entire time. And as I shared my story with others, as I shared my hopes for what the Church could be, and what I hoped to do to help make the Church safer for the LGBTQ community to engage with, I had so many people tell me they shared the same hope. They affirmed my aspirations and suddenly, my dreams felt less like fantasy and more like a roadmap that God laid out in my heart. And that was a first.

After the first session I went to, I met my friend Sarah, to whom I basically said, “You have to be friends with me.” Et voila, we text just about every other day. She said in her session that there is “a gospel message that only you can preach. And there are people in this world who can only hear a gospel from your lips.” It was like the Holy Ghost shook me and set a fire off in me to not wait around for anyone to give me permission. I was already empowered by God to be a preacher, a pastor, a revolutionary.

When we hung out later that evening under the beer tent, it was Sarah who told me that the work I was doing was important. “It’s like you’re living a tiny revolution!” That one conversation lead me to start my podcast and my youtube channel to talk about faith and sexuality, and how nothing can separate us from the love of God.

And my friends! That was just the first year.

The following year I gave a talk of my own. I hung out with the Wild Goose Youth we engaged in hard topics around self-image and social media. I worshiped under a tent with even more beautiful strangers. I prayed over people who hadn’t had a good word spoken over them in so long. I dreamed bigger and loved harder.

The Wild Goose Festival is not a perfect space, from one year to the next, I see improvement. And I keep coming back because there are folks genuinely trying to listen to the voice of God and grow to be more inclusive and more creative.

So! That’s just some of the many reasons I’m coming back this year. Will I see you there?


Kevin Garcia (he/they) is a speaker, creative, musician, content creator and worship artist based in Atlanta, GA. He graduated from Christopher Newport University in 2013 with a BM in Music Education and has been everything from a barista to a corporate office worker to a non-profit professional since then. After coming out in the fall of 2015 as a gay Christian, Kevin has reached thousands of individuals across the globe with his blog, theKevinGarcia.com, his podcast, “A Tiny Revolution,” on his YouTube channel where he unpacks theology and addresses life as a queer person of faith, and through speaking engagements at churches, universities, and festivals.  Kevin also works with The Reformation Project, an LGBTQ direction action organization with a mission to make the global church more inclusive for queer people. He is presently a candidate for a Masters of Divinity from Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, GA. He believes that by telling our stories, we set others free to tell theirs. In addition to LGBTQ advocacy, Kevin’s passions include vocal jazz, tacos, and really horrible dad jokes.


Want to tell your own story? It’s simple!

If you’ve got a story to share, write it up in a blog format between 500-750 words, and then send your #WildGooseStories to kevin@wildgoosefestival.org. We’ll get back to you and share it with the whole community!