Writing Grief and Mystic Activists Final Workshops for 2022 Year November 14, 2022 By Collegeville Institute Leave a Comment The Collegeville Institute conducted two workshops in October to complete its Ecclesial Literature Project programming for the 2022 year. The first was Writing Grief as Restorative Justice. This workshop took place online from October 10th through October 14th. Next, on October 31st through November 6th, the Collegeville Institute, along with the School for Conversion, co-sponsored the writing workshop Writing for Mystic Activists. As part of the Collegeville Institute’s efforts to expand its national presence, this workshop was held at St. Francis Springs Prayer Center, in Stoneville, NC. Writing Grief as Restorative Justice was led by The Rev. Dr. Cheryl Kirk-Duggan. She is a retired professor of religion and director of women’s studies at Shaw University Divinity School, Raleigh, NC and an ordained elder in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. She is a consultant, scholar, preacher, author, and performer – the founder and CEO for Dr. Cheryl Enterprises, where she focuses on grief journeys and writing excellence. The workshop invited persons with curiosity and a desire to grow through interdisciplinary, intergenerational, intersectional thinking and writing to explore grief as a form of restorative justice. Group sessions focused on different aspects of grief, such as the Mind, the Emotions, the Body, and the Soul/Spirit, and how they all play a role in grief and recovery. The participants talked about their experiences in post workshop evaluations. “I valued the feedback I received from the group and from Dr. Cheryl. I felt uplifted and as if I might be able to claim my voice as a writer. I might even seek publication of my piece. I appreciated how the goal of the feedback time was not to criticize people’s work and to point out its flaws, but instead to lift one another up as writers. So empowering!” Another said of The Rev. Dr. Kirk-Duggan’s leadership, “Dr. Cheryl feels like family at this point. Her presentation style is open, inviting, and authoritative. I have recommended her to my sister, who is also a writer, as someone that she might invite to present at her church.” Writing for Mystic Activists was led by two facilitators, Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove. Dr. Walker-Barnes is a clinical psychologist, public theologian, and ecumenical minister whose work focuses upon healing the legacies of racial and gender oppression. She is a professor of practical theology and pastoral care at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. Wilson-Hartgrove is a preacher, author, and activist based in Durham, NC. He has been part of the “Moral Mondays” movement in North Carolina since 2006 and currently serves on the National Steering Committee for the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. The 12 participants were comprised of a variety of backgrounds and careers, with an emphasis on engaging in work for justice, whether or not they are employed to do the work. The workshop also is intended to help develop writers regardless of whether they have any existing publication history. The participants remarked on several aspects of the experience in post-workshop evaluations. At the start of the workshop, participants brought their own individual writing samples to the workshop and discussed them together. “I was touched by the thoughtful and intentional vulnerability in both what was shared to be workshopped, the authors’ reading of the works, and the feedback processes,” one participant said. “I felt the ways the group was more equipped to respond to non-fiction and prose, and at the same time the group treated everyone’s works respect and care.” Another participant remarked on the leaders’ facilitation skill s. “It was clear to see Jonathan’s and Chanequa’s mutual respect and care for each other, and they cultivated that among our group. I appreciated the space for each of us to chime in with questions, stories, or our own wisdom in the room.” When asked about what they learned at the workshop, one participant said, “I learned about the value of a writing community, and intend to ensure that I seek and find opportunities to gather, share, and interact with others who share the same passion.” Writing Grief as Restorative Justice participants pose for a picture during a Zoom session. Writing for Mystic Activists participants and Collegeville Institute Executive Director Dr. Jacqueline Bussie pose for a photo outside St. Francis Springs Prayer Center during their workshop. Like this post? Subscribe to have new posts sent to you by email the same day they are posted.