Welcoming over 60 people to a new yearly event, Springhouse Community School celebrated and honored growth, love, and the path ahead
Springhouse Community School held its first Annual Gathering on Saturday, May 25th at The Floyd Center for the Arts. The morning began with a heartfelt welcome by Dr. Jenny Finn, co-founder and Head of School.
Finn shared, “Much like a springhouse, we seek to create a structure that protects, contains, and makes useful the source that is emergent. In the case of a springhouse, the source we are talking about is water. In the case of Springhouse Community School, we are talking about the Love that is alive in every single person, though as we know, many live far away from that Love. In both cases, the structure is in service to the creative, vital, and transformative source within it. At Springhouse, that source is Love.”
Finn continued, “A springhouse itself is made of bricks, wood, and more, but what makes up the structure of Springhouse Community School? Love is the foundation. Connection and relationship are the roots of this place and this foundation gives rise to beautiful things.” Finn concluded, “We are a community, imperfect, committed to learning and growing, and devoted to learning how to love ourselves, each other, and the planet. There’s so much beauty in this world. Let’s do all that we can to take care of it.”
The event brought together students, families, staff, Advisory Council and Board of Trustee members, including several Advisory Council members from across the country. Community singing was led by Dean of Students, Chris Wolf, with a crowd open to learning songs old and new and Springhouse students carrying the tunes with zeal. Dr. Len Fleischer, Professor Emeritus from Keene College in New Hampshire gave the Keynote address, We Will Move with the Mother When She Rocks: Building the Beloved Community.
Fleischer stated, “I am learning that Springhouse is a place with a vision and intention that matters, with a largeness of spirit and a passion for soul that can and does change the world.” Fleischer added, “One of the many great things I have learned about Springhouse is that it is a community which strives to examine and experience the coming together of the personal and the academic, to narrow the boundary between the people we are and aspire to be and the work we aspire to do.”
Fleischer probed, “How will we do our real work in the world, our life work, in morgues or in schools, in businesses or agencies or government, dedicated to social justice and nature, addressing the urgent issues of a world in need? In need of our authenticity, our integrity, and our love?”
With a bold answer, Fleischer responded, “It starts with each of us. It starts within us. Civil rights activist and member of Congress John Lewis has said that the ‘most important lesson I have learned in the 50 years I have spent working toward the building of a better world is that the true work of social transformation starts within. It begins inside your own heart and mind….to truly revolutionize our society, we must first revolutionize ourselves.’”
Fleischer finished his keynote sharing, “None of us gets out of childhood without a wound. Personal transformation starts with coming to terms with our wounded, vulnerable heart, knowing that an understanding of suffering and the end of suffering is the great work that we are capable of doing in this life… And this is the heart of service—knowing that we are all wounded. We are all capable of awakening to who we really are, who we can be in this life.”
The day continued with a community lunch and moved into small group discussions with a focus on exploring questions to help build the groundwork for Springhouse Community School’s next strategic plan. Kim O’Donnell, Board of Trustees chair, facilitated this time of sharing that invited those present to tell the school what they believe it does well and what it needs to do better as it moves towards achieving its vision of creating a community of lifelong learners who feel a sense of belonging to each other, their community and the earth.
Closing out the day, Finn led 60 people in Sacred Dance, a practice that Springhouse Community School uses on a regular basis. As stated on their website, “Movement is a natural doorway to knowing ourselves more deeply. On the dance floor, it is harder to hide from ourselves, and vulnerability is a constant friend keeping us awake to the present moment.”