Spiritual Nourishment Through Encounters with Poetry

by | Sep 29, 2022

“Becoming a church that our children and grandchildren will love to attend…”

As Bishop Mariann reminded us earlier in September, embedded in our diocesan strategic plan is an audacious goal to close the generational gap in our congregations, for all of our faith communities to become compelling places for our children, grandchildren and their peers, inspiring them to live Jesus-centered lives. We believe getting to that place will take time, creativity, and a willingness to try new things–including getting outside of our churches and providing opportunities for people to encounter the sacred. The poetry event we describe below is one such exploration. – The Rev. Canon Anne-Marie Jeffery

This autumn, poetry is coming to Northeast DC as the Episcopal Diocese of Washington welcomes the Rev. Dr. Travis Helms, founder and curator of the LOGOS Poetry Collective, to facilitate a liturgically infused reading at the launch of a new arts-based ministry in Brookland.

Helms launched LOGOS in 2018 with a view towards cultivating a space where persons of all faiths and none could build connections with the divine and each other through shared encounters with poetry. The project later merged with EcoTheo Collective, a nonprofit founded to “celebrate wonder, enliven conversations, and inspire commitments to ecology, spirituality, and art.”

LOGOS first came to DC in November 2021 via the Henry Luce III Center for the Arts & Religion at Wesley Theological Seminary, where EcoTheo board member Dr. Devon Abts serves as Assistant Director and Visiting Assistant Professor. Abts invited Helms to curate a LOGOS reading as the concluding event for the Luce Center’s “Art of Discernment” project, a major study of arts-based theological education funded by the Templeton Religion Trust. Abts worked closely with Helms to plan the event, which saw a huge crowd turn out to Brookland’s City-State Brewery on a dreary Tuesday evening for a reading with acclaimed poets Jericho Brown and Marilyn Nelson.

Inspired by her experience of LOGOS, Abts–a Brookland resident–began to discern a vision for a new missional project designed to foster creative forms of spiritual nourishment in her community. The Diocese has partnered with her to bring this vision to fruition, and it is fitting that the new project should launch with another LOGOS reading.

All are warmly invited to this liturgically infused reading, which will take place at City-State Brewery on Wednesday, October 19 from 7:00–8:30 p.m., and will feature legendary DC poet and activist E. Ethelbert Miller and emerging talent Kirsten Porter.

The event is free of charge, and food as well as libations will be available for purchase.