The Northfield Conference, Oldest in Nation

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Extended Family's Mosaic & Feet

Extended Family's Mosaic & Feet

The Northfield Conference is the longest continuously running spiritual conference in the country. Started at the turn of the last century, it has developed into a strong network of devoted friends and colleagues and extended family. It’s one of the few instances where I saw whole families and people of of all ages being and acting like a true community. Many of the adults there now were children and then teens who grew up attending the annual conference held in Northfield, Mass every June or July. There is a morning meeting, then right after, small groups called families get together to debrief lives and share whatever is on the participants’ minds. At the end of our meeting we all felt like doing a goodbye group hug/”jelly roll” in which I was the lucky receipient of being in the middle.  In the afternoon, after lunch there’s a plethora of workshops and activities, from painting and yoga to dance and informational lectures or discussions on everything from global warming to composting and family communication. After dinner, there is usually an non-denominational evening service in the Northfield Chapel. I got the play the 12-foot concert grand piano at one event there. That was fun. Around 7 PM, different activities may happen such as a talent show, or coffeehouse, or games, lots of games, in which children of all ages participate.

Getting stuck in the middle of a group hug

Getting stuck in the middle of a group hug

If you’d like to inquire about the Northfield Conference, check out their website. First time participants get a free ride, all expenses paid, if they give some sort of workshop in exchange. It’s a way of getting more people to check out the conference. If I weren’t in New Zealand, I’d be there this spring. If you decide to attend, you won’t be disappointed.

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