(Graphic design by Mona Juckett)

LIVE YOUR VISION!
THE GATHERING 2007:
HERE'S THE REPORT!
THE GATHERING IS A WEEKEND RETREAT CELEBRATING OUR SPIRIT
HELD
SEPTEMBER 22nd & 23rd, 2007 at
COKER CREEK VILLAGE

SPONSORED BY THE HOLSTON CONFERENCE and THE NATIVE AMERICAN MINISTRIES TEAM

 

BILL MILLER DRUM
BILL MILLER HITS IT!

THE GATHERING WAS GREAT, START TO FINISH, & OVER THE TOP, ONCE AGAIN!

bill
BILL HITS IT AGAIN!

Hi, everyone!

Merry Christmas! Sweet Kwanzaa! Happy Hanukah! Lovely Diwali! Whatever your spiritual preference, we of the Gathering and the Native American Ministries of the Holston Conference join you in prayers, worship, devotion and love at this sacred season. We are blessed!

This is Sandy Nathan, your incredibly slow and not very competent web . . . something. Not master. Well, I've progressed enough to get these pictures up as a holiday treat. I didn't get all the pictures of the Gathering that people sent processed and onto the site. I'm going to try and get slide shows set up for those after the holidays. It's just as well that I couldn't get all the pictures fixed up. If I'd tried to load them all, the site probably would have crashed.

Can you tell what it's like to attend the Gathering? Spirit is THERE! I didn't even go this year, and I'm high as a kite just from Photoshopping the pictures. This can happen to you! Please attend, if you haven't. And come back if you have.

I'm doing a slightly different format from previous years. Earlier, I summarized the Gathering in photos, showing shots from other Gatherings if I didn't have one from that year to illustrate a particular point. This report is only pictures from the 2007 Holston Conference Gathering. Please use the arrowhead links at the left to look at the photos from previous years. THEY ARE AMAZING!

And so are the ones that follow:

All my love and blessings at this holy time,


THE SCHEDULE:

SATURDAY:  
8:30 - 9:30
Registration
9:30 - 10:15

Orientation/Devotion

10:30 - 12:00
Workshop 1

12:00 - 12:45

Lunch

1:00 - 2:00

Spiritual Enrichment with BILL MILLER

2:00 -3:00
Free time: Stroll one of the trails, browse the gift shop, or relax on the porch in a rocking chair. Bill Miller will be available part of this time for autographs and photos. Crafts will be demonstrated and offered for sale.
3:15 - 5:45
Pow Wow
6:00- 7:00

Dinner

7:30
BILL MILLER CONCERT Featuring Bill Miller with opening acts Mona Juckett, Emerson Beay and Friends, and Jamie Russell.
SUNDAY:
   

8:00

Breakfast
9:00- 9:30
Devotion and Music
9:45 - 11:15
WORKSHOP 2
11:30
Closing Circle


MAKING THE PRAYER TREE

MAKING PRAYER BUNDLES
The prayer tree is a Native American tradition followed at the Gathering.
At the beginning of every retreat, everyone makes a prayer bundle, cloth wrapped around tobacco, sweetgrass & sage tied with yarn. While making the prayer bundle, the participant puts his or her prayers and blessings into the bundle. Bundles are tied on a prayer tree, which holds the hopes and needs of those at the retreat.

The invocation, opening remarks, and making of the Prayer Bundles begin the Gathering. After the opening ceremonies, participants have a choice of workshops.


Emerson Begay (Navajo) leading a class on the basics of Powwow drumming and singing.

A variety of different classes is offered. Some are two day classes, attended each morning. Others are one day only, so participants can take one on Saturday morning and another on Sunday. This year, the Gathering's Workshops included:

WORKSHOPS AND LEADERS AT THE GATHERING
WORKSHOP TITLE
PRESENTER
DESCRIPTION
A. CHEROKEE POTTERY
MARY T. NEWMAN
Mary taught this class how pottery was made in the old days. She also included instruction and hands-on opportunities for working in clay. Of Cherokee descent. Mary T. resides in Ashland City, TN. with her family. She conducts pottery workshops and displays throughout the southeast and as far away as Alaska.
B. THE SPIRIT OF THE DRUM
EMERSON BEGAY
Emerson taught the basics of pow wow drumming and singing, as well as the important place of the Drum in Native culture. Leadership features full-blood Navajo, Emerson Begay, of Kinsport, TN, originally from the Farmington, NM area.
C. POW WOW 101
JONATHON FEATHER
Jonathon designed this class for newcomers to powwows, as well as those who have attended pow wows and had questions they were afraid to ask. It includes powwow etiquette, explanations of each dance style and the regalia associated with it , other powwow customs (such as giveaways, etc.), and a discussion of common mistakes (offensive questions,etc.) often made by unknowing newcomers. Jonathon is Cherokee/Lakota. He grew up on the Qualla boundary in Cherokee, NC where he now lives with his wife, Cindy, and three daughters who are all accomplished dancers. Jonathon has been involved in powwows his entire life in every aspect from champion hoop dancer to MC and judge of dance competitions.
D. HONEYSUCKLE BASKETS
DALE CLOER
Participants in this two day course learned about the history and construction of traditional Cherokee honeysuckle baskets from Eastern Band Cherokee, Dale Cloer. Dale instructed the class in every detail from gathering and preparing the materials, to the actual construction. He and his wife, Vicki Standingdeer , a well-known women's traditional dancer, reside on the Qualla boundary in NC.
E. BEADWORK
LINDA CASH
Participants learned the history and significance of the various styles and techniques of traditional Native American beadwork from accomplished beader, Linda Cash. A native of Clinton,TN., Linda is of Cherokee/Metis'. Her exquisite beadwork is museum quality and is treasured by those fortunate enough to own one of her pieces. This was a two day class.
F. TRADITIONAL NATIVE COOKING
VICKI STANDINGDEER
Vicki Standingdeer, full-blood Cherokee, taught how to prepare the traditional favorite bean bread. Born and raised on the Qualla Boundary in Cherokee, NC, Vicki will also share other traditional recipes learned from her mother and grandmother.
(F) CHILDREN'S ACTIVITIES
SCOTT CRISP
Scott Crisp (Cherokee descent) once again entertained children ages 12 and under while teaching them about Native American culture. Activities included stories, basic dance steps, blow gun, a few Cherokee words, powwow etiquette for children, etc. All are taught in "Papa Bear's" unique fun-loving style. From Etowah, TN., Scott is well-known throughout the southeast as a men's traditional dancer and educator and is one of the most popular MC's in the area.

When the morning class is over, Gathering participants have a chance for another treat: LUNCH! Food is plentiful and delicious at the Gathering. If you're new to the South, like I am, meals include the chance to sample real Southern cookin'.

After lunch, Gathering spiritual leader Bill Miller gives his keynote address. Bill's ability to speak his truth absolutely stuns me. This was the first year since the first time I attended in 2003 that I've missed the Gathering (I was sick. The flu–five weeks of misery.) I was so sorry to miss my Tennessee treat. Bill's talk is always thought provoking, soul stirring, and inspirational. I heard that this year was no different.


Bill Miller opening his inspirational talk with song and drum.

(At least I think that's what he's doing. I wasn't there.)

Look through the other year's reports, accessed through the tabs to the left and above. You'll see other great photos of Bill speaking. These talks aren't available elsewhere; Bill is very open and intimate at the Gathering. If you's like to know "the real Bill," come to the Gathering.


Believe it or not, free time exists. These folks are playing in Coker Creek.
That's the real creek in the Coker Creek Center!

After Bill's talk, it's powwow time! Dancers don their regalia and get ready to move!


Head Lady Dancer, Siouxsan Robinson (Lakota Blackfoot),
& Head Man Dancer, Charles Robinson (Choctaw)

What a beautiful photograph!


2007 POWWOW OFFICIALS
Master of Ceremonies
Scott Crisp Cherokee descent)
Head Lady
Siouxsan Robinson (Lakota Blackfoot)
Head Man
Charles Robinson (Choctaw)
Hoop Dancer
Jonathon Feather (Cherokee/Lakota)
Host Drum
Color Guard
All Warriors Color Guard
Head Veteran
Ronnie Johnson



Venders at the powwow offer great opportunities to exercise your shopping muscles.

After the powwow, it's dinner and then . . .


THE CONCERT!


Bill Miller and friends give a great concert in the Coker Creek main hall.

Joshua Yudkin, Bill's keyboard guy.
I hear he had that old piano rocking like it never has before and never will again!


Scott Crisp
On spoons!

 


Jimmy Yellowhorse on flute.



Mona Juckett sings.

Emerson Begay on guitar.


Scott & Bill
Dueling spoons & guitar?


Originals: Jaimie Russell, Mona Juckett, Bill Miller

Fast as it begins, the concert's over. Sunday brings one more class, and then the Closing Ceremony.


Burning the prayer bundles . . . Our prayers rise with the smoke to our Creator.
Prayers are answered . . .

The closing ceremony at the Gathering is particularly moving. People pass a prayer feather from hand to hand, saying what they need to say. Some offer their gratitude for their experience at the Gathering. Others share feelings and needs. The safe, warm atmosphere of the Gathering allows people to open and grow. Many people, including me, feel like they've met lifelong friends at the Gathering, and yet they've known them just a few days.

This is a blessed event. And then it's over . . .
Until next year.

Click for info about the Gathering 2008

A final message from Sandy Nathan:

Prayers are answered, if you cooperate and do the work you're guided to do every day. In 2005, I brought some introductory copies of a book I wrote, Stepping Off the Edge, to the Gathering. The book features the Gathering. Several chapters took place at the Gathering. I talk about my experience, the people I met the first year I attended. I talk about how God touched my heart in Tennessee, and has kept touching it every day. Many of you were kind enough to buy one of those copies.

Since 2005, we've produced the final version. And Stepping's been busy. It's now won six national book awards in very large competitions which included independent presses and major publishers such as Random House. These contests are so big that you get to say you're an award winner if you're a finalist, life Academy Award nominees do.

STEPPING OFF THE EDGE has won SIX NATIONAL AWARDS!

  • 2007 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN AWARDS FINALIST in the New Age/Spirituality Category. Only three finalists are named in each category.
  • 2007 IPPY AWARDS in Self Help Category. BRONZE MEDAL WINNER
  • 2007 NATIONAL INDIE EXCELLENCE AWARDS, FINALIST in Memoir (First Runner Up), New Age (First Runner Up), & Spirituality
  • BEST BOOKS OF 2007, FINALIST IN MEMOIR (USA BOOK NEWS) included books by Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Random House, Houghton Mifflin Co., and other major publishers.

Vicki Collins has a few copies of Stepping Off the Edge left. If you want to buy one, contact Vicki. One hundred percent of the price of these books books goes to support the Gathering. When Vicki runs out of what she's got, I'll work out a way of benefiting the Gathering with the book with her. I can't do that until after the Holidays––I'm outta here in a couple of hours.

If Vicki's out of books and you'd like to buy the book before January 2008, Amazon's got it. ORDER FROM AMAZON! Vendors on Amazon are offering it "used" for less than my printing costs. I don't know where they're getting it. I don't make anything on those, but, hey . . . If I was in it for the money, I'd be a brain surgeon.

While you're on Amazon, if you've read Stepping Off the Edge and are moved to write a review of it on the Amazon page, I'd love it. I'd really love it if you gave me five stars, but whatever. We must be tell our truths. Amazon reviews really matter in terms of sales and magazine reviewers picking it up.

Love, love, love to you at Christmas. I feel my heart quickening as I await His birth.


Vicki Collins made my fan!


GO TO BILL MILLER'S WEB SITE
GO TO BILL MILLER'S PAGE ON SPURS MAGAZINE
GO TO SANDY NATHAN'S WEB SITE
EMAIL THE GATHERING DIRECTOR
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