When I was the communications director for Christ Together/Chicago, the thing I loved most about the job was collecting and sharing information about events (prayer gatherings, conferences, speakers, service opportunities) that people in the area might not otherwise discover. Last week, I passed on information in this space about the Kesher Forum. I realize I have readers all over the US and beyond, so the local focus isn’t necessarily pertinent to all of you. However, even if you live in Boise, you may have a friend living in Chicagoland who’d benefit from one of these events.
Today, I’m pleased to share info about a unique women’s “unconference” happening November 4th and 5th. I’m so looking forward to being a part of this event, and I hope you’ll consider participating, too! It’s called Deeply Rooted: A Gathering (click here to link to the Facebook info page). One of the Deeply Rooted facilitators, Tammy Perlmutter, shared a bit with me about the genesis and vision for this gathering:
We launched our first event in November 2015.
Q. Where did the idea/inspiration for this gathering come from?
My co-founder, Joy Williams, and I have been friends for 23 years. We were roommates when we were single and we loved having spontaneous worship times in our apartment. We would invite all our girlfriends, Joy would play guitar, and we would sing and pray together. We both really miss doing that and when the Christian women’s conferences became more prevalent, we longed to be a part of it. Many of them are very expensive and far away. We were discouraged by that. Who can shell out $700 for a weekend? We can’t. We asked each other, “If this is a longing in our heart but feels impossible, why don’t we start our own?”
Q. What makes this different than a standard women’s conference or retreat weekend?
You can choose to go to a conference where you’ll hear speakers discuss social justice issues, or you can come to the center of an urban area and join people whose lives are impacted daily by the needs and city life. We partner with Cornerstone Community Outreach homeless shelter to promote awareness and encourage volunteering. We’re very economically diverse, attracting homeless women from our neighborhood tent city to women in the suburbs who love our mission. We’ve made a commitment to diversity. We don’t just “make room” for women of color, we want Deeply Rooted to be an event that honors and includes women of color as attendees, speakers, leaders, and visionaries. It’s a very casual, inviting, grassroots gathering.
Q. Who are some of the people you’ve invited to speak at previous events?
We’ve had two spoken-word poets, Anita Scott and Elyssa Salinas who made poetry haters into exuberant fans. Sandy Ramsey, director of Cornerstone Community Outreach, one of the biggest homeless shelters in Chicago, shared with us how serving homeless women has changed her. Katherine Williams, is a writer and speaker who spoke on how to let go of fear and claim truth. June Felix, author, public speaker, and host of Moody radio show Karl and June in the Mornings, reminded us that God is still at work in the mysteries of our lives and we can trust him with our unknowns. Rev. Dr. Velda Love, Director of justice in the Office of Diversity for Urban and Intercultural Learning at North Park University, brought down the house with her impassioned commission for women to not grow weary as they struggle for healing and freedom.
Q. Who is the intended audience for these gatherings?
Girls 13 and up and women who live in Chicago and need a place to worship and connect and hear God’s truth spoken over them.
Q. Tell me a bit about the November event. What can attendees expect from the day? Why is this theme (rest) so essential at this place in time in the life of the church and our city?
Our next event is our one year anniversary so we’re broadening our scope a bit. We will have a Friday night gathering with poetry, worship, and a message from Kathy Khang. After that is the very popular dessert reception. On Saturday, we meet at 9 a.m. for poetry and worship. We will have two speakers that day, Michelle Van Loon and Dr. Beth Felker Jones, Theology Professor at Wheaton College. Interspersed will be two workshops with our speakers on faith and rest, and two with a creative, hands-on focus. You can choose one track, or mix them up. There will be a catered lunch with the speakers and Deeply Rooted leaders, or you can eat locally. (Below, you’ll find a link to a short video that’ll give you a taste of what’s to come.)
As women we feel like we have to be busy and overwhelmed to prove our worth and secure our positions. We’re left with no margin to process our lives or sit still and listen to God and our own hearts. It’s not just poetic language David uses in Psalm 23 when he wrote, “you MAKE me lie down in green pastures.” We’re not creatures naturally drawn to rest, sometimes God has to make us do it. The first four letters in restore are REST, so if we want our hearts, minds, and bodies to be restored, we need to create a discipline of rest and soul care.
Q. What is the cost? Where can people find out more information about Deeply Rooted?
The full event is $50, lunch is $10. We also have a Pay What You Can donation option if the ticket price is a problem. We don’t want anyone to not come because of that. You may choose either day if you can’t make both and they are priced accordingly. You can register at bit.ly/dr-reg. You can contact me at deeplyrooted(at)jpusa.org. We have a blog, and are on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Q. Do you have a dream “next step” for these gatherings?
Our vision is to see smaller, more frequent gatherings in between May and November, a place to get to know women of faith in our city, and offer a space to learn, engage, grow, and connect. We’d love to see monthly workshops on how to study the Bible, hand lettering, writing skills, art, textiles, recovery and support groups and whatever else comes to mind.
Thanks, Tammy! I hope to see some of you reading this in November!