Holden draws people away from the world to see the world
For more than 100 years, Holden Village has drawn people away from the world's distractions into the mountain wilderness in the Cascades above Lake Chelan. In week-long communities, they explore issues of the world.
Chuck Hoffman, co-executive director of Holden Village along with his wife, Peg Carlson Hoffman, said Holden is always evolving. Its beautiful setting was changed by a the 2015 Wolvertonforest fire and then by remediation of mine tailings and water pollution from the copper mining once done there. Full summer programs resumed in 2017.
"We transform with people who come, changing leaders and staff, and reflecting the world," he said. "Holden tries to stay in tune with what we are called to do next. Our topics and conversations relate to the needs of the world."
Through community conversations, dialogue with faculty and inner reflections, community participants potentially go from their mountaintop experiences back into the world with new ideas and another way of being, he said.
"We consistently focus on our responsibility for the Earth and creation. How can we change our lives and gain discipline in the 'pursuit of less'?" he said. "We need to live simpler lifestyles with our food, purchases and consumption. We need to make changes in our lives so we preserve the Earth. For its part, Holden uses food from sustainable, local sources.
"We need to reform our relationship with the Earth, one another and the Divine," said Chuck, anticipating a "robust summer" from June 10 to Aug. 26 around conversation on the "Unity of Love."
About 100 faculty, including some from South Africa and Northern Ireland, will help guests look at "how deeply fractured we are" and "how we are called to love and justice."
About 120 staff serve the 300+ who come each week in the summer. About 60 year-round staff serve smaller guest communities who come fall, winter and spring. Powered off the grid by a hydro plant, there is less power because of lower water flow from fall through spring. Professors from several colleges lead January classes, and a growing number of colleges bring May-term classes.
We continue to grow our community around the world from those who were the forerunners in their 20s in the 1960s to the newest generation of young people and families, Chuck said. About a third of those who have come in the last two summers and this summer are new to Holden.
"The fire and remediation changed the landscape, leaving scars, but new growth coming up through gray landscape is like resurrection," he said.
"The fire and remediation are a backdrop to learn about climate change, and fires replenishing as well as destroying," he said. "It makes us appreciative of God's creation and the Earth, from which we come, and calls us to manage its gifts and resources."
For information, visit holdenvillage.org.
Copyright@ The Fig Tree, June, 2019