Reflections on the 40th Anniversary Festival

The 40th Anniversary Festival which took place here in September 2013 was an incredible experience on so many levels. As a new member of the Whidbey Institute staff, I was personally grateful for the opportunity to meet so many of the volunteers, supporters, founders, former board members, and neighbors whose infusion of love, energy, and effort have made this place what it is today. I was also grateful for the compelling words of our keynote and Ignite speakers, and I came away with a renewed sense of purpose in my personal as well as my professional work.

While I missed Friday evening’s festivities, I’m told they were compelling and enjoyed by all. My daughter Dylann and I arrived on Saturday morning to beaming faces, brightening weather, and a powerful presentation, Honoring 40 Years of Commitment to the Great Work, in celebration of Fritz and Vivienne Hull. Thereafter, we were inspired by Joanna Macy to think in terms of Deep Time: to invoke those that have come before and those that are to come, drawing on the wisdom of all Earth’s life—from all time—in this place, at this moment.

After a delicious picnic lunch, we reconvened on the beautiful new Farmhouse patio to hear from David Spangler and members of the audience on The Importance of This Place. He spoke of the long range view of time:  the seeds of war are bearing fruit today, he said, but the seeds of peace have already been sown. I came away with the hope that a new harvest is coming.

From the Ignite talks, a powerful collection of five-minute presentations on the work of the Whidbey Institute and other organizations, I drew inspiration to engage more fully in direct action for the causes I truly believe in. We are so lucky to live in a time and a place where transformative work is being done all around us! Check back for footage of these talks, which included updates from the Center for Ethical Leadership, Young Women Empowered, New Stories, and other organizations doing compelling work.

A recap of Saturdays events would not be complete without acknowledging our beautiful children, who formed a roving gang of smile-bringers, and offering a huge thank you to the brave, witty, talented, wise, and sonorous souls who shared during the Open Mic Night. If you’ve never heard Peter Sugarman’s version of the Little Red Riding Hood story, you’re missing out on something truly special.

Sunday’s program was equally rich, with a brief presentation by Jon Ramer on the Compassion Games preceding Drew Dellinger’s Keynote address on Moving Foward in the Spirit of Thomas Berry. Fueled by Drew’s eloquence and hope, we convened after lunch for a festive procession. The weekend ended with a beautiful Honoring of Place, Spirit, and Community, during which we sang, dreamed, and celebrated together. The raising of our dreams to the sky felt like a marvelous way to kick off the next 40 years!

Marnie Jones, Communications Manager

Enjoy these videos from our festival:

DREW DELLINGER from Whidbey Institute on Vimeo.

DAVID SPANGLER from Whidbey Institute on Vimeo.

JOANNA MACY from Whidbey Institute on Vimeo.

September 18, 2013

People & Partners


  1. Lucinda Herring says:

    Wonderful capturing of our weekend together, Marnie! And so happy to be here with Cary, like old times when we did festivals together. Thank you and to all the staff now, for all you are doing. The land and the Institute are in very fine hands!

    1. Marnie Jones says:

      Thank you, Lucinda! It was lovely to have you there.