Last night was another great edition of our monthly Community 101 gathering at Green Wood's downtown location. If you haven't visited Community 101, it's an interactive series that explores ways of becoming a more healthy and vibrant community through caring for each other and seeking long-term change. Community 101 is an interactive series that explores ways of becoming a more healthy and vibrant community through caring for each other and seeking long-term change.
A highlight of last night was a presentation by Christian Harvey, of Peterborough's Warming Room, about what he calls "transformative volunteering". He also talked about "relational practice" and the struggle to hold onto a human approach, in spite of pressures toward more efficient systems. "Efficiency demands results," Christian said, "and results are harder to show when we're working with people with more complex needs." We really need to have this guy back for another visit!
November's Community 101 is set for Monday, November 28 at 7 PM.
Our garden crew spent part of the day putting the Green Wood Community Garden to bed--then gathered around the table for lunch and good conversation. What a great season it has been!
No matter how you slice it, our fourth Pie-Off with Catherine MacLellan was a delicious success that basked in an afternoon of autumn sunlight. This year's Pie-Off was presented in partnership with Cultivate: A Festival of Food & Drink, in downtown Port Hope. As with previous pie celebrations this was a sweet community fundraiser for Green Wood's work with those who are hungry, homeless and hurting.
The lingering taste of fresh pie helped to balance hard work and tough decision-making as home-made pies were judged by a panel of qualified adjudicators.
P.E.I. (that's pie misspelled) singer/songwriter Catherine MacLellan (a pie-baker of some reputation, herself) was quick to congratulate Katie Flindall, winner of the competition's top prize 'World's Best Pie' with her apple pie. Katie noted that she learned to bake such fine pie while growing up on the American prairie.
Along with Katie Flindall (top left), Allison Casteels (top right) took the prize for 'Best 100 Mile Pie', while Alex Lang (lower left) won 'Best Gluten-Free Pie' and the trophy for 'Best Sweet Pie' was taken home by Andrea Kalil and Adam Gibson (lower right). Congratulations all!
Don't miss this week's performance of the play 'To Shut the Mouths of Lions' at The Capitol Theatre in Port Hope, on Saturday, October 1.
This is one of two nights this piece is being re-mounted with the original cast (the other being Harbourfront Theatre in Toronto), and proceeds from this production will benefit Green Wood Coalition. Beyond being a great piece of theatre (funny, poignant, provocative) by talented Northumberland playwright Dave Clark, the underlying themes of disconnection and effects of trauma offer a different lens for viewing our community and possibly our relationships.
The brilliant cast of Lions includes Neil Torrie and Derek Cunningham (pictured here in a scene from the play), Sarah Foord, Jeff Caine, Nick Storm and Jan Crane.
We recently had the opportunity to have a conversation with the play's writer and director, Dave Clark:
To Shut the Mouths of Lions is a broad swath of real life with all of its hilarity and painful moments. Did you feel personally vulnerable in the writing of the play?
"I am more open on the page than I am anywhere else in life. I find it easy to open up and tell truth on the page. My ego disappears when I write and all I want to do is tell truths. This play is not about me or my family or even really about anything I know. I just followed the characters around and they provided the story."
It must have been difficult to cast some of the roles, especially the central character of William McBride.
"I was very happy to get Neil Torrie because he has such a natural delivery on stage and he’s also likeable so that when he takes on an unlikeable character like McBride, audiences somehow don’t mind when he says cruel things and espouses despicable attitudes and beliefs."
What’s the impact you’re hoping for with this play?
"I am thrilled that my writing can be seen as something that might work to heal people who have been scarred by past events they had little or no control over. When we share communally in art that mirrors life, people feel closer to one another and that to me is the reason for writing, or acting."
You're mounting this as a fundraiser for Green Wood Coalition—what’s the connection there?
"I think in many cases the play’s action made people feel exposed about past events in their own lives – which makes it such a good fit for Green Wood. The Green Wood community deserves to be supported because the work they all do and the difference you make in our town is often under-appreciated."
Thanks to our team organizer, Dave Leonard, we fielded our first Green Wood sports team at the recent Slow-Pitch Tournament, in Grafton, ON, to benefit the Salvation Army's homeless outreach program. We were contenders--well, we won one of our games, but we had great jerseys! Thanks to Mystic Signs for hooking us up with great fashions. There is much discussion about reassembling a team next season.
Green Wood Coalition is pleased to present the acclaimed play, To Shut the Mouths of Lions, for one night only on Saturday, October 1 at Port Hope's Capitol Theatre.
To Shut the Mouths of Lions is an original play written and directed by long-time Northumberland Players member, Dave Clark. Nominated for The Carol Bolt Award for new plays in 2016, the play tackles important and difficult subject matter in a compassionate and insightful way, using humour, pathos and drama in its portrayal of a family burdened by secrets and assumptions.
The action occurs over Boxing Day as the autocratic William McBride, faced with his own demons, fumbles to connect with his two alienated sons – one of whom is gay. The family dynamics are recognizable in both their poignancy and humour, as this timely story unfolds.
All proceeds from the performance will go to Green Wood Coalition, with thanks to Cameco for their support.
Tickets are available through the Capitol Theatre Box Office.
Read more here.
Through Green Wood Coalition, our friend Sayed Sharifi found community and a place to belong after moving to Port Hope, five years ago. This past weekend, he was able to act as a welcoming host and cultural interpreter for Syrian refugees, recently immigrated to Northumberland County, who were offered free weekend passes to attend Shelter Valley Folk Festival, near Grafton, ON. The festival added a "peace tent" that provided a quiet location for meditation or prayers. Sayed provided welcoming hospitality and connections that will extend well beyond the festival as these former refugees find a home in our community.
[Sayed is pictured here on a tour of the festival site, during setup.]
Read the full story here.
Popular demand has been insisting that Green Wood host another Pie-Off in Port Hope, so we're happy to say that we're going to make that happen on Sunday, September 25, in partnership with Cultivate: A Festival of Food and Drink.
We're also very pleased that Juno Award-winning, singer/songwriter Catherine MacLellan--herself a Pie-Off veteran--will be on hand to host and perform, for this fourth Pie-Off.
Click here for Pie-Off registration form.
Participants in our UNITY Project, this past weekend, at the Port Hope Arts Festival were intrigued, surprised, delighted, and moved by the experience--one person said, "When I walked into the space, I started to cry. It felt like a spiritual space, connected to so many things."
With over 100 people telling their personal story through yarn webs, the art installation was a great success on many fronts. Green Wood organized this event as our gift to Port Hope, believing that it would present a striking visual image of the kind of community we are seeking to build in Port Hope, connecting relationships across imaginary barriers that seem to separate us.
UNITY is the brainchild of Nancy Belmont who created the first project on June 2, 2016 in Alexandria, Virginia, encouraging other communities, like Port Hope, to repeat the model. It's a participatory, community art project in the form of a circular arrangement of 32 poles in a 40-foot field. Each pole is labeled with an identifier--for example, “I’m a parent,” “I speak English as a Second Language,” “I identify as LGBTQ.” With yarn, participants tie onto each pole with which they identify. A canopy of interconnectedness forms as more people participate.
Here is a link an Upworthy video about the original UNITY Project
The UNITY project celebrates diversity and the uniqueness of each individual while raising awareness of how labels impact our perception of, and interactions with, the world.
By all accounts, the Port Hope UNITY Project was a success on a number of fronts. Big thanks to Nancy Belmont of #welivebig for the idea, and to Northumberland United Way for their support for this kind of project.
Our outreach staff installed a window fan for an elderly individual in poor health, this week, and were reminded of the vulnerability of many people living with few resources during periods of extreme heat. If you know of someone who is being put at risk by the inability to stay cool on hot days, here are a few suggestions.
1. If they are in distress, call for emergency help (9-1-1).
2. Ask about their fan/cooling situation. Would it help them if you could provide them with a fan?
3. Are they able to get to a cooling station, safely? Locate cooling stations in the area (see map below for Port Hope locations and offer a ride if needed.
4. Encourage drinking of more water, fewer alcoholic drinks.
5. Feel free to call us for more problem solving ideas (905-885-8700).