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What The Goose Gives Me

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I wonder what the Goose will give me this year.

When I pull into Hot Springs, it will be my sixth consecutive Wild Goose. Each year I attend on behalf of Chalice Press, which has sponsored Wild Goose since 2012. I’m there to work: Finding new authors, promoting our new titles, creating connections, scouting the future of progressive Christianity, that kind of stuff. There are the constants: inspirational worship, imaginative presenters, unique participants, and of course pop-up thunderstorms followed by breathtaking sunsets.

But Wild Goose has made a deep personal impact on me – it’s left a mark. Whether it’s the setting, the mindset, the culture, or in my case merely coincidental timing, each Wild Goose has been a different experience for me. And it’s not always about the programming.

In 2013, I brought my son with me. We celebrated his 14th birthday with the Indigo Girls, the Lost Dogs, fireworks, mud up to our ankles, and the spellbinding Rev. William J. Barber II. My son still talks about his Wild Goose experience – as he continues exploring a call to ministry while heading off to college in August. Wild Goose gave me a son who listens for God.

In 2014, I came solo to Wild Goose catching my breath, my marriage having just avoided breaking up (for the moment), my heart mending, my mind needing a change of scenery and a change of pace. Wild Goose gave me hope.

In 2015, I came solo and broken. The divorce I’d worked so hard to avoid finalized while I was at the Goose. I needed time to sit by the river to reflect, to mourn, to let go, to hold on, and to begin the process of figuring out who the new me was going to be. I found a few rocks, figuratively labeled them with my pain and guilt, and threw them away into the river, hoping to be relieved of those negative emotions and start anew. Wild Goose gave me a new start.

In 2016, I came with friends, feeling better about my situation yet heartbroken that one of those friends had a cataclysmically awful month, far worse than where I had been the year before. Our circle of friends hoped and prayed to provide support or relief or hope or whatever was needed, at that moment and in the tough times to come. Wild Goose gave me compassion.

In 2017, I came with my new girlfriend, on top of the world. Sharing that experience with a Goose newcomer – but, more importantly, with a woman/pastor who has helped me see the world and my ministerial work in new, God-embraced ways – has given Wild Goose a new depth I hadn’t seen before. Wild Goose gave me new vision.

In 2018… well, I don’t know about that yet. I know who’s on the program and what work I will have to do while I’m in Hot Springs. But as I walk beneath the verdant canopy and watch the French Broad River flow by and wring out my rain-drenched clothes (because let’s be honest: it’s gonna rain), I know the Goose works in mysterious ways, and I can’t predict what that experience will be like. I just have to go with the flow.

May you find yourself going with the flow at the Goose, at home, sitting in traffic  – wherever you need to think differently, to rest, to find inspiration and hope.

We’re so thankful to have Chalice Press as a longtime partner of the Wild Goose Festival. Learn more about their work at

Your Tribe is at San Francisco Theological Seminary.

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Your Tribe is at San Francisco Theological Seminary. Take the next step on your journey here. 

If Wild Goose is the festival, SFTS is the after party. Ok, we’re not saying life on our campus is on par with 3 days of gettin’ down in Hot Springs, NC… it is a graduate school, after all. And we hear that some professors (we’re not naming names) assign A LOT of reading. But we didn’t choose this path because it’s easy. We were called. Something inside told us we needed to make a difference in this big, ever-changing world. San Francisco Theological Seminary will prepare you to take that passion and put it into action, whether it’s in the ministry, spiritual direction, or using your degree to be a greater, more compassionate leader of a nonprofit.

Need more?

We Stand for All the Good Things 




And we walk our talk.

Heard of the Beyoncé Mass? That was us. Rev. Yolanda Norton and her Beyoncé and the Hebrew Bible students came up with the concept that resulted in nearly 1,000 people attending mass at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco on a Wednesday night. It was about inclusion. It was about EVERYONE feeling God’s love and acceptance in a place of worship, AND outside those walls. That’s what we believe, and what you’ll experience at SFTS.

Need more convincing? 



Ok. How about you come visit us for a few days and see for yourself. We just happen to be hosting a Preview Weekend November 1-3.

Attend classes & worship. Meet faculty & staff. Hang out with current students and ask them all the questions. Visit the GTU.

Eat delicious food & stay on campus—OUR TREAT.

Here’s a quick video of what it’s like.

Did we mention that we’re in the San Francisco Bay Area?


Super fun.

Amazing food.

Your. Tribe.

Stop by our booth on Main Street and talk to Isai Garcia from our Admissions Team about our MDiv, MATS, Online MATS, and more…

Can’t wait? Sign up for Preview Weekend right now! See you there!

Not Fences, Lord, but Tables

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In 2017, a group of students from Wake Forest University School of Divinity published a collection of prayers and poems titled Words Made Flesh. I begin by sharing one poem from that collection:


A prayer for Holy Communion

Not fences, Lord,

But tables.

No us,

No them,

But the whole body—


Here at the table

We are hosted by Jesus,

Called into wholeness

Through radical hospitality,

Put back together

Through the breaking of the bread,

Filled up by the extravagant pouring out

Of your Great Love.

Here at the table

The shards of our hearts

Become a mosaic of hope.

We, the body,

Are re-membered

To be sent out again,

Grace-filled table-builders

In a fence-laden world.

— Nicole Newton (MDiv ‘17).

The unfortunate reality is that today’s religious culture no longer guarantees everyone a seat at the table. Rather, it seems that more barriers are being constructed that prohibit us from being in holy communion with one another. But, what if this reality was reimagined? What if theological education focused on providing space for religious leaders to sit at tables with the whole body? What if theological education re-membered community by evaluating new emerging patterns of religious life and built opportunities for new collaborations? Would we then see more “grace-filled table-builders in a fence-laden world?”

At Wake Forest University School of Divinity, we have explored exploring these questions with intentionality and investment. Our newest result? The Collaborative for Public Religious Leadership. The Collaborative for Public Religious Leadership connects the School of Divinity with community partners in the work of justice, reconciliation, and compassion. Through this collaboration, we aim to transform both ministry and theological education through innovative community partnerships and projects such as:

  • The Art of Ministry Curriculum which focuses on vocational formation through the integration of classroom and internship-based learning to introduce students to the life and work of ministry.
  • Clergy Making a Place: Early Career Pastors as Generative Community Leaders, a pastoral leadership initiative that connects clergy with business and civic leaders to effectively engage and respond to today’s social challenges.
  • The Faith-Based Nonprofit Leadership Certificate Program, an online course aimed at building the skillset and knowledge of those leading and forming nonprofits.
  • Food, Health, and Ecological Well-Being Program,  which helps cultivate faithful leaders to work on food insecurity, health disparity, and/or ecological degradation.
  • “The Foundry House,” an intentional Christian community that offers young adults from varying backgrounds and life experiences the opportunity to create a residential community that exemplifies the love of Jesus Christ.
  • Practitioners-in-Residence, a program that presents short-term residential experiences at the School of Divinity for ministry practitioners to reflect on, read and write about, ritualize, and be in conversation with curious students, faculty, staff, and community members who share interests in the practitioner’s field of work.
  • Worship Planning as a Spiritual Practice Congregational Partnership, a co-learning initiative between the School of Divinity and partner worshiping communities to promote worship services that cultivate a spirit of gratitude and collaborative hospitality, and embody Gospel care in and to the world.  

Through such partnerships and projects, The Collaborative for Public Religious Leadership explores place-based pedagogies with faith communities and community partners to better engage wisdom about the life and work of ministry that is emerging in the practice of ministry. Instead of building fences, we are deconstructing them through collaboration.

I invite you to take a moment and further explore The Collaborative for Public Religious Leadership on our website and see how you or your organization may be able to sit at the table with Wake Forest University School of Divinity. Additionally, whether you are a prospective student, an alumni, or a potential collaborative partner, I invite you to stop by the Wake Forest University School of Divinity exhibit tent at this year’s festival to learn how you can engage with us in the work of justice, compassion, and reconciliation.

Rayce Lamb, Director of Ministry & Vocational Exploration

Wake Forest University School of Divinity

We’re so pleased to have Wake Forest Univseristy School of Divinity as a partner and sponsor of #WildGoose2018

Your Invitation to Desanka

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What is Desanka?

For years, Desanka has joined the Wild Goose Festival and has been a staple in the community. Desanka is a spiritual community with a mission to walk in the way of Love. “We bring LIGHT and LOVE into the dark places of those who are seeking Light and choose to give our lives away to love others – right where they are.”

We are a collection of individuals from varying faith streams who love to Love – to practice BEING Love. Our goal is to walk the Desanka Way – “to implement a conscious, Jesus-centered, Spirit-aware lifestyle in our community and life” – to walk in spiritually empowered Joy-Contentment-Pleasantness- Gladness. We also seek to include others in our mission/lifestyle so that we might transform the world together, one person at time – one encounter at a time.

Desanka folks serve anywhere we are invited at events and in festivals, serving as volunteers and giving food and other gifts away as an expression of Love. This year, we will participate in 17 events and festivals, from our hometown near Raleigh, to the western US, to the U.K. and everything we do is at no charge (though “pay-it-forward” donations are welcome).

At the Wild Goose Festival we will have these offerings of service (leads) :

  • Desanka Diner – serving healthy and basic meals (for free!) to all volunteers and to those that are hungry
    • Breakfast Club (Travis Compton)
    • Lunch & Supper . ..and all through the day, there is some kind of pick-up food (Caroline Buchanan)
    • Dining Facility & Hospitality (Megan Lanier) 
  • Desanka Spirit Café – serving loving dishes of prayers, blessings, spiritual readings (prophetic, in church lingo ;), orchestrated by teams of 3 trained Desanka members to give you a blessing. (Kelly Williams & Dennis Huxley)

  • HeartSync Hotel – the antithesis of ‘heart-break hotel’, people check-in to one of two hotels (tents) for a little less than an hour to be facilitated in deep inner healing through connecting with the Spirit of Truth-in-Love (Jesus) and experience the mission of God to “heal the broken hearted and set the captives free” … in your own soul. These are 50 minutes “speedy-HeartSync” sessions (normally 2 hours) that are scheduled on the hour all daylight hours. Stop by and sign up for a reservation! Walk-ins are welcome, if the space is available. (Bill Venable & Alycia Henry)

  • Art-Xposure, CREATIVE REVIVAL:
    All of us were built with the desire to create by THE Creator; God. He gave us the desire – you can’t hide it! The Creative Revival space is dedicated to the journey in freeing our creative hearts by moving the resources of Heaven through creative expression. This is a safe, collaborative space open for spiritual exploration and exposure to our deep desire to create in which we remove the lies spoken to creative hearts, eliminate jealousy and competition, build community and glorify God. Come paint, doodle, dance, write or play and begin your journey through Creative Revival! (Megan Gordan)

  • Desanka Community Store – this is one of the ways that we attempt to help provide for the Desanka trips and service that we offer. We all work back home, and we have some amazing philanthropic givers, but this store represents some of the amazing talent in Desanka for the creative. Our store is located with the other vendors and we hope you will come in and find something that you wish to give to a loved one … or a stranger … or an enemy. (Kelly Williams & Zanan Edwards)

  • Administration & Support – may sound silly to list this here, but honor to the amazing team of leaders who work behind the scenes that seldom get noticed, without whom we would not have a Desanka presence at Goose, or anywhere … Maggie Williams (Inventory & website), Michael Buchanan (transportation & equipment, lower Village Major), Lewis Humphrey (load-in and upper Village build), Lauren Bowyer (admin & finance), Danielle Bright (Communication), Bev Hargrove (Service Projects), Alycia Henry (Prayer/Blessing Coordination) & Peter Lanier (Desanka Garden).

    We are thrillede to welcome Desanka back once again for their amazing service and support of #WildGoose2018. 


An Intern’s Expectations of #WildGoose2018, from Sojourners

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Sojourners and Wild Goose have a long tradition of partnership. As a Sojourners intern I’m incredibly eager to be part of it this year! This will be my first trip to Wild Goose, and I’m already anticipating drinking beer, singing hymns, and taking in the funky smells that signal trees and rain.

I imagine that Wild Goose has a special place in the hearts and minds of like-minded Christians because it is a space of safe movement – a place where your identities are celebrated and your doubts are welcomed. One quick look at the speakers and sessions attest to this core value. Some of the ones I know I want to attend are: Faith in a Fat Body: Learning to Love Our Bodies, Our Neighbors and Ourselves, Loving Our Way to Freedom: Ridding Ourselves of Internalized Transphobia, Homophobia, and Queerphobia, and Unstuck: Sex and Intimate Justice – Exploring Narratives of Patriarchal Power, Female Sexuality and Messages in the Church. We are in for a deep time of learning and understanding!

I’m hopeful that our time together at Wild Goose will reflect a vision of what the kingdom of God will look like. Although the Wild Goose attracts mostly white and white passing folks, you will find me there because I believe in spaces where faith and spirituality are in relationship with justice and acceptance. Hence, I hope our time there will leave us desiring more diversity and celebrating it in our lives.

So be sure to stop by the Sojourners table and say hello! You can pick up some of our current issues, and our widely loved, “God is NOT a Republican…. Or a Democrat” bumper sticker – for free! Afterwards, we can walk over to Beer and Hymns and raise our glasses together!

Angeles Urban is an intern with Sojourners, and we are stoked to have her and her team join us as supporters and sponsors of #WildGoose2018! 

A Prophetic Voice in the Public Square, from Wesley Theological Seminary

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By: Sammy Klipsch, MDiv 2019

I was once asked what kind of seminary Wesley is. Is it a head, heart or hand seminary? What a question! One that we should be asking ourselves as we discern what kind of seminary education we want, what kind of seminary we want to be and what kind of church we want to be. Reflecting on that question, I truly believe Wesley Theological Seminary encompasses all three. We are rooted in faith and academics, yet also provide opportunity in class and field education to translate what we learn into something practical. 

Wesley Theological Seminary is a school that cares about the practical implications of theology and faith. Our mission is to equip persons for Christian ministry and leadership in the church and the world, to advance theological scholarship, and to model a prophetic voice in the public square.

Wesley is a place that invites students to wrestle with their faith and beliefs by asking big questions like: what is the role of Christian and religious ethics in public life? What is the role of a leader? What is the role of an ally? What does it mean to have a pastoral presence? What does it mean to live in the brokenness of this world but also in its beauty? And what does it mean “to model a prophetic voice in the public square?”

The last line of our mission statement has proven to be even more important to me throughout my time at Wesley. In times of transition in our country and in different religious denominations, this goal of modeling a prophetic voice in the public square is not to be taken lightly. Wesley doesn’t take it lightly. I’m inspired by the passionate people who are creating justice within the world through our Community Engagement Fellowship, the National Capital Semester for Seminarians and all of our specializations.

I had the opportunity to participate in the Community Engagement Fellows as a Missional Fellow. The Community Engagement Fellows allow students to combine both classroom and community-based learning to form a ministry project that engages in the community they serve. Through this program I’ve learned a lot of practical skills, like how to fundraise, develop support for new ideas, and how to cast a vision and see it through step by step. I’ve experienced the importance of trust when entering a new community, which allows you take a step that maybe hasn’t been taken before. I have been able to use things I’ve learned in the classroom like different theologies, ethics, and exegesis as tools to read scripture in context and to work to serve a community that welcomed me in when I moved to D.C. to start seminary.

“To model a prophetic voice in the public square” is what we are called to do as leaders in the church and the world. Wesley has given me the tools to do this and has connected me with a network of people who work to do the same. I’m still discerning what ministry will look like in the future for me, but I am beyond thankful for Wesley for being that prophetic space to create change. I hope you follow where God is calling you and that you check out all Wesley Theological Seminary offers. Stop by our table at Wild Goose to learn more!

We’re so proud to have Wesley Theological Seminary as a partner and sponsor of #WildGoose2018

Meet the United Church of Christ at the Goose!

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We’re a mainline Protestant Denomination made up of a diverse community of believers who commit to unite together, even in difference, to serve God in the co-creation of a just and sustainable world. These are the values that link us together.

We have a vision of a just world for all. We welcome all, love all, and commit to justice in service to our neighbor and God’s creation. We have an initiative, called 3 Great Loves, where we celebrate our expressions of Love of Neighbor, Love of Children and Love of Creation through ministry and service. It’s our way of sharing the love of God and Jesus Christ with the world around us.

We believe that each person is unique and valuable. Each human being is on a spiritual journey, and each of us travels that road differently. But no matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey you are welcome here.

We believe that the persistent search for God produces an authentic relationship with God, engendering love, strengthening faith, dissolving guilt, and giving life purpose and direction.

We believe the UCC is called to be a united and uniting church. “That they may all be one.” (John 17:21) “In essentials–unity, in nonessentials–diversity, in all things–charity,” Our overarching creed is love.

We believe that God calls us to be servants in the service of others and to be good stewards of the earth’s resources.

We believe that the UCC is called to be a prophetic church. As in the tradition of the prophets and apostles, God calls the church to speak truth to power, liberate the oppressed, care for the poor and comfort the afflicted.

We believe in the power of peace, and work for nonviolent solutions to local, national, and international problems.

After all, we are a people of possibility!

Thanks so much to the United Church of Christ for being a supporter and sponsor of the Wild Goose Festival! Be sure to meet them at their tent at #WildGoose2018