The Greenwich Village Proclamation
Declaring our gifts and mission in the world.
Sympara members meet with Keith Russell, center, at New York Theological Seminary, June 2014. From left, Michael-Ray Mathews, Marcie Giarrizzo, Dr. Russell, Desmond Hoffmeister and Daniel Pryfogle.
Meeting in New York City in June 2014, Sympara members felt the urging of the Spirit in the urgency of the time to make the following declaration.
The Greenwich Village Proclamation of Sympara
June 12, 2014
We, Daniel Pryfogle, Marcie Giarrizzo, Michael-Ray Mathews and Desmond Hoffmeister, having met at the Alma Mathews House in Greenwich Village, New York City, proclaim this good news.
We heard the Spirit say:
This community has reached a new clarity around appreciation of gifts. We are called to lead with and from our gifts. The Spirit has guided us since the beginning of our community. Now we are called by the same Spirit to exercise our gifts. We will engage the chaos of our time. We will practice artistry. We will be co-creators.
Having confirmed and been confirmed in our gifts, we desire to be held accountable. We are eager to break through and resolve the dichotomy between form and freedom that has paralyzed us in times past. Our truest freedom will be found in saying yes to the form of our gifts. We have gained courage to declare our mission to invite and impact the world.
New York City was a significant location for our meeting. We visited the Interchurch Center, home of New York Theological Seminary, where we learned from the wisdom of one of our elders, Keith Russell, and his honest and thoughtful reflection on his journey. We considered the reality of legion at work in our world around issues of race, gender and economics, and we understand that our community is part of this struggle. Our creative resistance of these powers will be to form a new banquet table.
We received the hospitality of Ellen Weiss and her gift of songwriting and singing, which she desires to take to the world. Our day of discernment was opened by the words of another artist, Maya Angelou, whose passing we marked by reading her inaugural poem “On the Pulse of the Morning.” The poet told us, “The horizon leans forward, / Offering you space to place new steps of change.” We discerned that we must enlarge our community to include the artist.
We heard in the words of Keith Russell the admonishment not to take this community for granted. We must confront isolation. We must remove the mask of isolation to reveal true self to each other and the world. Our isolation is perpetuated by the powers and principalities of racism, sexism and classism. Isolation serves the purpose of the powerful. Divide and control is how the beast survives.
Companionship will be our resistance. Keith reminded us we are not alone. All over the world, men and women who desire to grow in grace and love meet in community as we do. Our remembrance of this reality will connect us. Therefore, we will see ourselves and others in a matrix of relationship, returning to each other in the Creator's time and patterns, the cycles of seasons, the cycles of rituals. We will resist the lie of isolation by telling the truth of our connection. We will say yes to wholeness.
We confess that for far too long we have hid in fear and played with masked politeness. We have become fluent in the language of death. But now we are moving out from the basement, the location of our meeting at the Alma Mathews House, the metaphorical basement where we often stay. We are moving out from the basement into the world, as a gift-evoking and gift-exercising community, saying yes to life and love.
We take this step because we heard the invitation. It came from Baby Suggs, Toni Morrison's preacher on the edge who made a clearing for community when she said,
Let the children come. Let your mothers hear you laugh.
Let the grown men come. Let your wives and your children see you dance.
Women, women, I want you to weep, just weep, for the living, for the dead. Weep!
We heard the invitation to lay our burden down in community and hold each other up.
We named our gifts in Greenwich Village, and we exercised those gifts in community. Marcie shared the gift of prophecy. Desmond shared the gift of proclamation. Daniel shared the gift of leadership. Michael-Ray shared the gift of administration, providing structure through a liturgy of our time together.
We commit now to establish ritual for our community, including the ways by which we invite others to our common life and our process to say goodbye. Our creativity will find expression in practices of discernment, accountability, invitation and separation.
We commit to a monthly conference call, to be held on the third Friday of each month at 10 a.m. Eastern. We will prepare for these calls with questions and assignments according to our gifting.
We will write together. We will have the courage to write our Bible together.
We will go out into the world. We will have the courage to be a community on mission in the world.
As we go out, we will identify resources and models for our life together, and we will connect with other communities with similar goals and purposes.
We will return to Greenwich Village in six months for a two-day retreat.
As we go, we carry and we proclaim the poet's words:
Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes, into
Your brother's face, your country
And say simply