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Winter Talk XX Goes North to Minnesota for Spiritual Growth and Storytelling

Episcopal Life Online (New York, NY) , January 25, 2008


Winter is a time when the crops are in and the food is stored. For many peoples, it is a time to sit around the fire and tell stories, to remember recent events and to pass on their lore to the next generation -- to have a "Winter Talk."

From January 20-23, scores of people visited Buffalo, Minnesota, for the 20th annual "Winter Talk" gathering, sponsored by the Native American Ministries Office of the Episcopal Church. The group represented 21 tribes from 29 congregations, 11 dioceses, and two Anglican provinces. There were clergy and laity, elders, middle-aged people, young adults, and children (the youngest attendee was aged one year and one week). They came to learn, to discuss issues common to their communities, and to renew friendships and make new ones. But through it all, they came to tell stories.

Everything at Winter Talk happens in a circle, and everything (and everyone) is part of a story. When participants answered to a registration roll call and confirmed their room numbers, they told of their lands and their people. When they brought objects from their homelands to "build the altar," they told the stories of these things and how they had touched their lives. The conveners told their own stories as they began their sessions. And every night ended with songs and stories, lasting as long as people wanted to tell them. The entire gathering -- workshops, business, and worship -- was marked by affection, laughter, and storytelling.

Subjects Covered: education, storytelling festivals

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