Partnership got started 2002 when it was learned that a residence
in the town of Bernalillo, N.M., near Albuquerque, belonging to the
Order of St. Francis, was to be sold. One of the sisters living there,
Joan Brown, sought sponsorship to purchase the house as an educational
center for earth spirituality. “Partners” quickly rallied
to this cause, funds were raised, pledges made, program plans discussed,
architectural drawings sketched out.
But in the end, it was not to be. The Order had a need for an uncomplicated
infusion of funds—and without delay—not the responsibility
of backstopping a farflung enterprise whose funding prospects were interesting,
but shaky. And so, the venture fell through. No one was angry, or even
very disappointed. For we had created a Partnership in the process.
That was our “real” real estate—a group of fine people
who believed in earth spirituality and wanted to share its vision with
others. Some day, perhaps, a house or other structure will be offered
to carry on the work—the “great work” as Thomas Berry
calls it—but in fact the work goes on in the way intended.
At a day-long meeting in Placitas, New Mexico, after we had finally
realized that a “center” was not to be, a new vision, having
nothing to do with real estate, began to evolve: That ours should be
a ministry in motion, and more a vital one for being so. The “partnership”
is the key, and you who are reading this, can be a part of it. Our aim,
through this website, a newsletter, and other means is to seek new partners
drawn from those who are looking for fulfilling ways to experience,
and then express a spiritual connection with the earth. With our partners,
then, we have created projects and programs that are intentionally innovative,
transferable, and which give us a sense of wholeness with the Earth.
Since then, the Partnership became incorporated and is now a nonprofit,
501(c)(3), tax-exempt membership organization. Some of our projects attract
a hundred people or more. Some just a handful. Some require a bit of separate
funding from donors, some have (quite modest) fees attached, some require
only that participants just show up.
Women's Wilderness Soul Quest Retreat, Pecos Wilderness, June 2005