The Queer Spirit Story


For the remainder of 2012 and for 2013 Queer Spirit is revamping its offerings to the community.  For these many years Queer Spirit has focused its attention on serving gay men through retreats, rituals and communal gatherings, in light of exploring who we are as Queer Men in the broader community.  When we started Queer Spirit we really foolishly thought only Gay Men would be interested in what we were trying to do, perhaps not fully recognizing that we offered was a universal need.    We have recently decided to open our events and offerings to everyone who defines themselves as “Queer,” Men, Women, Gay, Straight, Lesbian, Transgender…. Open to all who are interested in a diverse world.  It amazes me how many times straight men want to come and sit in community with gay men, in these sacred circles, to find their authentic selves.   Truly the events and schedule of events are touching a powerful process for all.  Informally this has been occurring in most of our events and we have recognized that Queer Spirit is in fact serving a broader community.  We still intend on offering retreats and events to gay male only, but will also have open ended events as well that will be more inclusive.  Currently we are building our agenda for the upcoming 12 months.   We hope to do Gay Men retreats, all inclusive retreats, Transgender Lodges (and allies)…etc.
One thing that we are confident about is that we wish to incorporate a year long service project to our group, recognizing that through service we often find our selves.  This came about in interesting way.  This summer I took an African Drumming Class from a guy by the name of Andy Jones and in researching his biography was aware that his drumming business was also in alignment with a non profit organization that included an orphanage in Ghana and a water project dedicated to drilling for water and water pumps to isolated villages in Ghana.    I had little knowledge or investment in this story at first, just another non profit.  Andy learned of Queer Spirit and was intrigued by my work with Sweat Lodges and asked if he could bring his family to a lodge.   That night, in the lodge, there were some great prayers offered about WATER, it certainly had my attention and I thought it was an usually appreciation of water.   A few days later Andy and I met and he talked about the Water program his non profit was organized to serve and he also said how he was touched by all the prayers around water.  It was in this conversation that I recognized that perhaps Queer Spirt was being called to bring water to Africa by supporting Andy’s program, Africa Heartwood Project.  We both found the syncronicity of this all quite amazing and got ourselves organized around what to do next.
We quickly researched what was needed, the cost needed to raise funds for a community.  100% of the funds support the specific community identified as needing a Water Well, which total cost is $7000.  Kukwaado is the village that got my attention, a small community of about 300 people, who spend approximately 8 hours a day hiking to retrieve water from a less than desirable swamp.  Because of the efforts to get water the children do not get much formal education, because they are retrieving water, or they are ill because of the water conditions.   These communities raise 5% of the cost for their well and depend on people like Queer Spirit to raise money in their behalf.  What a beautiful and powerful concept and opportunity for us to mobilize our prayers and efforts to create these funds and resources?
Our initial fundraiser will be November 10, 2012, from 2-6 pm in which Andy Jones will lead a workshop and drumming circle around African Drumming.  The Djembe drum is an amazing tool and requires little skill to have fun.  There is a suggested donation of $50 for the workshop but no one turned away for lack of funds and of course additional offerings will be appreciated.  Queer Spirit will anticipate that many events will be offered during the year, all iwth the goal and prayer of bringing fresh and healthy water to the community of Kukwaado.
I will send to you the first flyer I sent out and hope that we can run a story or two on this awesome opportunity.
JERRY BUIE
JOHN COTTRELL