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Writing for Mystic Activists Retreat

For faith-rooted activists who want to engage writing as a contemplative practice

Event details

Date(s): Tuesday, May 14th, 2018-Monday, May 20th, 2019

Venue: Franklinton Center at Bricks in Whitakers, NC

Sponsored by the Collegeville Institute in partnership with the School for Conversion

From the abolition movement of the 19thcentury to today’s movements for black lives, living wages, LGBTQ equality, carbon reduction, and human dignity, writers have been at the heart of the struggle for justice. From Frederick Douglass to Angelina Grimke, people who have written from their own deep pain have invited a broader public into understanding and engagement.

But writing is hard for people who live under the daily intensity of not only suffering injustice, but also trying to fight against it. Who has the time to write? And even if you can find it, how do you deal with the fact that millions like you don’t have such luxury? Is sitting in front of a blank screen an escape from the struggle? Or can it be a way of going deeper and sustaining transformative work?

Writing for Mystic Activists is an invitation to join Chanequa Walker-Barnes and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove for a week of attention to writing as a contemplative practice for activists. Hosted at the historic Franklinton Center at Bricks, it is an opportunity to connect with a long tradition of resistance writers, develop your craft, and build community with others who experience a similar vocation.

Who May Apply? 

  • People who are actively engaged in work for justice, whether or not you are employed to do the work

  • Activist writers with various levels of experience (no publication history expected)

About Chanequa Walker-Barnes 

Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes is Associate Professor of Practical Theology at the Mercer University McAfee School of Theology and the author of Too Heavy a Yoke: Black Women and the Burden of Strength. A prophetic voice for healing, justice, and reconciliation, her personal mission is to dismantle white supremacist heteropatriarchy while practicing good self-care. An ordained ecumenical minister, she is currently working on her second book, Disrupting Racial Reconciliation.

About Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove 

Jonathan is a preacher, author and moral activist based in Durham, North Carolina. He has been part of the “Moral Mondays” movement in North Carolina since 2006 and currently serves on the Steering Committee of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Jonathan’s books include Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary RadicalsReconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom from Slaveholder Religion, and The Third Reconstruction, with the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II.

Retreat Details

The program is limited to 12 participants and will be held at the Franklinton Center at Bricks in Whitakers, North Carolina, in rural eastern North Carolina, just off I-95. Accommodations include private rooms with baths, and all meals and snacks.

Transportation to and from the facility are the responsibility of participants, though some need-based scholarships are available. The full cost of the program is underwritten by the Collegeville Institute and the Lilly Endowment. Participants are expected to stay the full length of the workshop.

Application Process

The application deadline for this workshop is Saturday, January 12, 2019. To be considered for this workshop, you must fill out this application.

In addition to completing the application, email to by the submission deadline:

  1. Current resume or C.V.

  2. Writing sample (2,000 words or less)

Once you have emailed all of the documents, your completed application will be reviewed. Applicants will be notified on a rolling basis. You will be notified no later than February 15, 2019.