2012 Convening

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The Story of Now: Affirming Pathways / Building Spiritual Communities

Our theme for this years Convening is a clear and loving reminder to all, that spirit lies in the heart of Being and our story of “me” grows into the story of “us” and finally to the story of “Now”.

This year the Council is blessed to be with community of South Puget Sound Washington, September 19-24. Public programming starts Friday evening with an Opening Address and will end with a Writing workshop a few days later. And here’s the full schedule!

DHARMA TALK Wednesday, September 19, 2012, 9-10pm, Transgender Discussion Group/Gender Alliance of the South Sound, Olympia

Prior to the official Convening of the Council, Leeza Edwards, whose spiritual pathway leans toward Eastern traditions, will lead a “Dharma Talk” with the Transgender Discussion Group of Olympia, focusing on the current state of the LGBTQI community as well as how to live from a more inspired perspective. The title of the topic is “a blessed transgender community: living mindfully”. A traditional dharma talk is one that teaches/presents a Buddhist text or precept. Which is often followed by inquiry from the listeners/attendees and addressed by the presenter.

LOCATION: 4th floor, 317 4th Ave. East (next to Jake’s). Please arrive before 8:15pm, and ring the “UCAN” buzzer outside to access the building.

RSVP: Not required.

THE OPENING ADDRESS/TOBACCO OFFERING Friday, September 21, 2012, 7-9pm, The Rainbow Center, Tacoma

The official opening of the Convening of the Council takes the form of a traditional Native American invocation and “tobacco offering,” in which Wren Walker Robbins, Two Spirit pipe-carrier and master storyteller of Mohawk ancestry, guides a meditation on some of the energies and spirits that infuse Indian spirituality. This is a moving and growth-inducing ceremony and talk. If you have never experienced Native American spirituality, this is your chance.

LOCATION: Rainbow Center, 741 St. Helens St., downtown Tacoma, WA.

RSVP: Not required.

ONENESS BLESSING & AFFIRMATION CEREMONY Saturday, September 22, 2012, 2-5pm, Point Defiance Park, Tacoma

With assistance from the entire Trans-spiritual Council- Virginia Stephenson, who brings experience from mystic Christianity, Buddhism, Wicca and the Mystery Schools tradition, will lead and officiate a grand “Blessing and Affirmation Ceremony” for LGBTQI individuals and allies this afternoon at the Gig Harbor overlook on Five Mile Drive at Point Defiance Park.

LGBTQI people are rarely provided with symbolic community affirmation and blessing of their accomplishments and pathways. This ceremony seeks to address this situation by creating sacred space amidst a gathering of friends and allies, celebrating each other’s lives, choices, achievements and commitments, and at the same time building community and solidarity. We invite you to join in this remarkable and uplifting celebration of the Rainbow Tribe! The ceremony is non-denominational, open to those of any or no particular spiritual tradition.

Please arrive promptly by 2:00pm so as not to disrupt the service in progress.

LOCATION: Five Mile Drive, Gig Harbor Overlook, Point Defiance Park, Tacoma, WA.

PREPARATION: This is an outdoor event and we highly recommend that you bring a cushion or blanket as we will be sitting for the first half of this ceremony. Be prepared to be in the park for a couple of hours. GASS organizers will have a cooler of water. You may like to bring your own. Hydration is essential in these gatherings.

RSVP: Yes, please email contact@SouthSoundGender.com

SPIRIT WALK/PIPE CEREMONY Sunday, September 23, 2012, 2-4pm, Kopachuck State Park, Gig Harbor

The Trans Spiritual Council will lead a “Spirit Walk” and Native American Pipe Ceremony this afternoon at Kopachuck State Park in Gig Harbor, WA.

The Spirit Walk entails an approximately 1.5 mile hike through the State Park. Near the end of the walk, the group will participate in a Pipe Ceremony led by Mohawk pipe carrier and Two Spirit medicine woman Wren Walker Robbins. Participants may, at their discretion, participate in ritual smoking of sacred tobacco. Smoking of the tobacco is not required to attend; however an attitude of reverence toward the tobacco is requested. Tobacco is regarded as one of the four sacred plants by many Native American tribes.

The terrain is hilly, so the hike is moderately strenuous. Wearing sturdy walking shoes or boots is recommended. Unfortunately, this event may not be appropriate for those who would have difficulties with such terrain.

A PotLuck dinner will follow the Spirit Walk at Rainbow Ranch, just a short distance from Kopachuck Park.

Please RSVP to contact@SouthSoundGender.com if you are planning to attend either/or the Spirit Walk or PotLuck.

LOCATION: Kopachuck State Park. You may join us at Rainbow Ranch before the walk, or meet us promptly at 2pm at Kopachuck Middle School track parking lot, at the southwest corner of Kopachuck Drive and 56th Street.

PREPARATION:¬†We’ll be traveling uneven tarrain for the vast majority of our walk. Though the walk will be quite leisurely and contemplative. Only a couple of points along the way would be considered “steep”. The vast majority of the walk is quite tame and scenic. Wear sensable shose and bring water. We’ll be stoping regularly along the way to dialoque and connect with the elements as we come by them. For those who may have ¬†physical challanges, simply talk with one of the organizers about accommodations.

RSVP: Yes, please email contact@SouthSoundGender.com

WRITING WORKSHOP/TALKING CIRCLE Monday, September 24, 2012, 3-4:30pm, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma

Wren Walker Robbins and the Trans Spirit Council will lead a Writing Workshop and Talking Circle at the University of Puget Sound this afternoon. Participants will be asked to write and share on the subject of the Intersection of Gender and Spirituality. How does your gender inform your spirituality and vice-versa?

This is the final public event of the 2012 “Convening of the Council,” an annual gathering of transgender spiritual leaders and teachers. This year the Council comes to the Pacific Northwest for the first time!

LOCATION: Trimble Forum, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA.

RSVP: Not required.

All events are open to the public. Note the events that we request you RSVP, so we can have an estimate of number of attendees. We are happy to have you join us in a spirit of unity and compassion! Please fill out and submit our questionnaire.

Read the heartfelt testimonials of those in attendance!

Our wonderful and gracious hosts

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Please visit the websites our our amazing hosts and express your appreciation for their generous and blessed support! The Council also acknowledges the Gender Alliance of the South Sound for their amazing financial and organizing support! We’re so grateful for you!