A Whitsun message, May 2020

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Whitsun celebrates an event in sacred time when, inspired by truth, justice, and righteousness, human beings learned to speak a language that all humanity could understand.  In religious imagery, the Whitsun event is represented by individuals baptized with tongues of fire, which can overcome the boundaries of nationality, race, class, and creed to establish a new community.  This new community is one that does not suppress our diversity but celebrates it—one body of many members.  While this imagery is rooted in particular spiritual traditions, the community it envisions is one that belongs to all humanity.

Camphill Academy is dedicated to the work of inclusive social development: the building-up of diverse, inclusive communities within which individuals can unfold their potential to contribute to the healing of the human being, society and the earth.  This is a Whitsun-mission, and today this mission takes on a new hue. Amid a global pandemic that has distanced us from those with whom we build community, the profound trauma of racial oppression and violence has broken through the surface of American society. Today we express our solidarity with those who bear witness to the universal language of justice in our time: Black Lives Matter, community organizers, anti-racist activists, and individuals who are demonstrating for the dignity of Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and other oppressed and marginalized communities in our society.

Their witness is not new today, this week, or this lifetime.  Their calls to change have always been with us. For far too long, we as a society have had neither the ears to hear, nor the hearts to be transformed.

On the eve of the Camphill movement’s 80th anniversary, the Camphill Academy celebrates all those who work towards this Whitsun-mission and teach us its meaning in the world today. We know that we still have much work to do. We strive to keep our ears ablaze so that we too can hear, learn, and through this contribute to building communities of the future and creating societies that work for all people.

Painting of people with their heads turned toward the sun above them, with light raying into their ears
Whitsun, piece by Carlo Pietzner. Part of a private collection, hosted by the Camphill Research Network

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