The Watershed Discipleship Panel Discussion and Workshop at Circle of Hope

Last night our fledgling Compassion Team (the Watershed Discipleship Team) brought together about seventy people at Circle of Hope 2007 Frankford Ave. They offered space for those “Feeling a little pessimistic about climate change and the general political and economic circus we find ourselves in.”

Jeremy Avellino acted as moderator and asked insightful questions to our four panelists. We had time for group talkback and an abbreviated workshop by author and wildnerness educator from Todd Wynward. Watershed Discipleship is a concept many communities and individuals we’re connected to are using to describe faith that 1. seriously and steadily engages our ecological “endgame” in our watershed moment, 2. the church orients her work by planning and action in our own watersheds as a sense of place, and 3. being faithful disciples in our watershed means becoming faithful disciples of our watershed – check out the longer description here. Below is the link to the full audio.



Our Compassion Core wants to help you join or form a Compassion Team, too. Our Compassion Core this year found Jeremy, Tevyn East, Jessica Mints, Kristen Snow, and Greg Fuguet to get us going to meet our goal for this year to “Generate teams to lead us to confront climate change.”

I’m grateful this team is trying to help us achieve these other goals we laid out in the 2016 Map:
  • Cross boundaries into distant groups and give them reasons to believe.
  • Find our voice to express alternativity.
  • The “one percent” is effectively enslaving many people. Turn our compassion efforts into a mutuality web.
  • Goal:​ Present alternativity in cells and Sunday meetings as a practical answer to the powers.

More about our panelists:


Todd Wynward is the Mennonite minister for Watershed Discipleship, Mountain States (MCUSA). He and his wife Peg started an Outward Bound public school in Taos, NM, where they live with their teenage son. He’s an author of multiple books including Rewilding the Way and serves as a wilderness guide – having spent more than 1,000 nights outside. Todd will be speaking this Sunday night at Circle of Hope 2007 Frankford at both meetings, 5 and 7.

Dee Dee Risher is a freelance writer and editor who wrote for and edited the Christian social justice magazine The Other Side and helped launch and edit Conspire magazine, an ecumenical quarterly publication. She is a cofounder of the Alternative Seminary in Philadelphia and helped start Vine and Fig Tree, a faith-based, intentional cooperative housing community in the Germantown neighborhood, of which she is a longtime resident. She has published over 200 articles in such magazines as Sojourners, Progressive Christian, The Utne Reader, and Grid magazine and blogs for The Huffington Post, Theological Curves, and other venues. Dee Dee’s new book, The Soulmaking Room, was recently released by Upper Room Books and is available in print and e-book formats.

Jessica Mints is the manager at Circle Thrift (2233 Frankford Ave), a Cell Leader Apprentice, and urban farmer. She’s been a leader in Circle of Hope for nearly a decade as a Kensington resident and simple living enthusiast. Her deep love for creation (human and non-human) and creator shape the life of her household and our church.

Tevyn East is a movement artist and teacher as well as a liturgist and worship leader at Circle of Hope. She has toured her one woman show “Leaps & Bounds” as well as made a film version. She and her partner, Jay Beck, founded the Carnival de Resistance, a traveling carnival, village, and school for cultural transformation bridging the worlds of art, activism, and faith. They were recently published as part of Ched MyersWatershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting Bioregional Life and Practice along with a collection of young authors.

Jeremy Avellino (moderator) works as a certified architect and passive house designer at Bright Common, designers engaged in radical (re)construction of the built environment. He has led Circle of Hope in various capacities since 2001, most recently being the leader of the forming Compassion Team putting on this gathering.

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