InSpero

Bearing Fruit that Will Last

As InSpero celebrates its fourth anniversary, Gina and I look back in amazement and gratitude (scroll through our Stories page to see some of the reasons why) and look ahead to what’s next for InSpero. The last four years have been a whirlwind of beautiful collaborative events, new creative connections, deep conversations, and developing relationships. Many seeds have been sown.

"A seed only flourishes by staying in the ground on which it is sown. . . .be quiet, acknowledge your powerlessness, and have faith that one day you will know how much you have received."  Henri Nouwen / photo by Nancy Carroll

"A seed only flourishes by staying in the ground on which it is sown. . . .be quiet, acknowledge your powerlessness, and have faith that one day you will know how much you have received." Henri Nouwen / photo by Nancy Carroll

This year, we are slowing down to allow these seeds to develop deep roots. We've been pondering a verse in Scripture that says

"I gave you this work: to go and produce fruit, fruit that will last." 

So What is the "Work" InSpero Has Been Called To?

We believe the work we've been called is to nurture a creative community to bring long-lasting hope and healing to our city and churches. We cultivate this creative community by offering collaborative events to Birmingham; initiating conversations between artists, our city and churches; and celebrating creativity for the good of our community.

What is the "Fruit" That Will Last?

Inspero’s impact will be measured as Birmingham has a thriving creative community whose work stirs people to hope, as local churches embrace the arts as part of their message of restoration, and as our city flourishes because its creative community flourishes. We believe that a vibrant creative community can help bring healing, hope and restoration to the brokenness, pain and alienation of our world.

Where Have We Seen InSpero's Impact Most? 

Developing authentic, mutual, ongoing relationships. This is most often with artists who often feel alienated and discouraged and with those who have experienced the most brokenness in our city.

Encouraging artists and artisans that they matter and what they do matters. As we can, we give them opportunities to share their vision and work.  

Gathering a team of like-minded visionaries and volunteers. We are privileged to have people who believe in InSpero and help us carry the weight of events and offerings. They share a passion for flourishing our city through flourishing our artists and the arts. They are committed to doing this through building relationships as well as organizing our offerings.  

Offering events and conversations that are beautiful, collaborative, and bring hope and/or healing.  These include

  • Retreats and lectio divinas centered around the liturgical calendar, especially Advent and Lent.
  • Pastor/artist dinners building a mutual vision for the healing and hope for our city.
  • Bridge Builders dinners and conversations to seek understanding of the wounds of our city.
  • Birmingham Music Makers creating space and a place for all those who want to create music in our city.
  • Magic City Storytellers a beautiful night combining storytelling, poetry, and music in one beautiful evening.
  • House Shows intimate gatherings where musicians and artists can share their work and the heart behind it.

InSpero Summer Happenings 2017

Magic City Storytellers / June 8

James Mullis of Early James and the Latest  / photo by Pete Collins

James Mullis of Early James and the Latest  / photo by Pete Collins

A sold-out crowd packed the Clubhouse on Highland for InSpero's third Magic City Storytellers with performances by emerging and veteran performers in fiction, poetry, and singing/songwriting. Shout out to the best host in the city, Bob McKenna. Before the performance, people connected over wine, beer and appetizers and at intermission relished amazing desserts and coffee from The Neighborhood Brew. Plans are underway for our fourth night of story and song! 

Storyteller Jim Reed / photo by Pete Collins

Storyteller Jim Reed / photo by Pete Collins


Birmingham Music Makers

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 Birmingham Music Makers was an idea formed out of a growing sense of a need for musicians to connect with one another. As with many forms of art, music can often lead people further into themselves and further away from community and outside influence. The purpose of BMM is simply to create a space where people from different backgrounds could come together and interact with one another through their common desire to make music. These events were open to singers, songwriters, musicians, producers, engineers and anyone else involved in the creation of music in the Birmingham area and has been initiated and facilitated by InSpero Board member Corey Nolen and other local musicians.  They met in May and August.
 

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Bridge Builders

Bridge Builders comes together several times a year to share on a spiritual level the hurts and fears of racism in Birmingham and across the nation. We wanted to give creatives/artists who are considering creating for the common good a safe place to share and build relationships with friends from different backgrounds--a safe place to learn from each other. We want to know what is the artists’ role in creating art for the healing of the deep wounds in our city, especially related to racial brokenness. Who is standing up and talking about it? This August, InSpero hosted a Bridge Builder evening at one of our volunteer’s home for an open, genuinely curious and thought provoking discussion. Before this gathering, these friends watched "13th," a Netflix documentary, and processed the inequities of the American prison system together.
 

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InSpero’s Coming Events 2017-2018

October           Lectio Divina / Scriptural preparation for creating through Advent
 
November       Bridge Builders / artists and lay people gathering to discuss the wounds of
                        Birmingham
 
November 18  Alan Levi Concert /  intimate house concert
 
December       Christmas Vespers /TBD
 
January 12-13 Annual Creative “Tribe” Retreat at Pursell Farms
 
February          Changing the Picture of Birmingham
                        photo display of Vicki Hunt’s poverty/social injustice images alongside her father’s
                        Civil Rights photography from police files
 
February 12     Lenten Retreat
 
March              Pastor/Artist Dinner
 
June 14            Magic City Storytellers at the Clubhouse on Highland
 
 

Two Ways this Busy Season to Slow Down and "Come to Your Senses"


Don't “Miss” Christmas This Year

 InSpero’s fourth annual Creation Waits invites you to go from the hustle of the holidays to the wonder of what the Christmas season truly means. Wait with us in this quiet, worshipful way on Sunday, November 27 (the first Sunday of Advent) at Oak Mountain Presbyterian Church. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Performance begins at 6 p.m.

Singer and songwriter Jenny Pruitt will share her meditations on Advent through her original music.  Artist Gina Hurry will paint live in response to her music.This Advent offering is followed at 7 p.m. by a reception and gallery show of 25+ Birmingham area artists displaying new art around the annunciation and theme of “Do Not Fear” found in Luke 1:26-38.

$10 gallery donation per person through eventbrite or at the door ($20 maximum per family). Children under 12 are free.

Jenny’s Creation Waits CDs, Gina’s limited signed prints, and much of the displayed original art will be available for purchase. Gina’s paintings from this evening will also be available by silent auction with all profits going to further InSpero’s dream of renaming Birmingham #thecitybeautiful.


Coming to Our Senses:  Towards a Spirituality of Wine, Joy, and Feasting

Dr. Gisela Kreglinger, friend of InSpero and author of "The Spirituality of Wine," returns to Birmingham to give a unique evening exploring with the importance of wine, joy, and feasting for our spiritual lives on Thursday, November 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the Clubhouse on Highland. It will begin with a presentation on the spirituality of wine after which Dr. Kreglinger will introduce wine tasting as a spiritual practice. A discussion and book signing will follow the wine tasting. Books are available for purchase. The $30 ticket covers the presentation, wine tasting, and discussion. To purchase a ticket, click here.


"A Holy and Historic Moment for Birmingham"

More than 100 gather to pray for our city at 16th Street Baptist Church. Photo by Josh Vigneulle

More than 100 gather to pray for our city at 16th Street Baptist Church. Photo by Josh Vigneulle

InSpero’s The City Beautiful week of events featuring Andi Ashworth and Steve Garber culminated in a prayer breakfast at the historic 16th Street Baptist Church where more than 100 people from around the city gathered to hear from Steve Garber, pray, and sing Amazing Grace. Dr. Garber writes,

With heartache, the 16th Street Baptist Church is known for the tragic bombing in the early 1960s which killed four little girls as they walked from their class to the sanctuary one Sunday morning. In every way, that wounded the city, bringing a sorrow that still hangs over Birmingham. But over the last few years I have been watching good people do good work here, seeing themselves implicated for love's sake in the way the city turns out. These were the folks who brought me in, their loves and lives teaching me the most important things. As I walked out of the church, someone said to me, "This was a holy and historic moment." I hope so, I hope so.

Below is a video slide show and some photos from our three-day event.

Pastors and artists share a magical dinner by Chef Mac Russell at the Clubhouse on Highland and listen to each other on the fruit and frustrations of their callings and how to dream together to make the City Beautiful.  Photo by Josh Vigneulle. 

Pastors and artists share a magical dinner by Chef Mac Russell at the Clubhouse on Highland and listen to each other on the fruit and frustrations of their callings and how to dream together to make the City Beautiful.  Photo by Josh Vigneulle. 

At the City Beautiful Lunch at the Nest in Avondale.  Photo by Charity Ponter.

At the City Beautiful Lunch at the Nest in Avondale.  Photo by Charity Ponter.

An InSpero Family Feast at the Salem farm. Photo by Charity Ponter

An InSpero Family Feast at the Salem farm. Photo by Charity Ponter

Gina Hurry, Andi Ashworth, Steve Garber, and Nancy Carroll discussing a life "implicated for love's sake."  Photo by Charity Ponter

Gina Hurry, Andi Ashworth, Steve Garber, and Nancy Carroll discussing a life "implicated for love's sake."  Photo by Charity Ponter


Consider InSpero in Your Year-End Giving

There’s a story of a woman who breaks an alabaster jar of perfume and pours it over Jesus. It was extravagant. Many considered it a foolish waste of resources. But Jesus stopped them in the midst of their criticisms and calculations. He told them, “She did what she could and it was a beautiful thing.” That’s how we felt about this October's The City Beautiful events.

We did what we could. 

And it was beautiful thing.

Beauty is like an alabaster jar. It’s extravagant, foolish, and often misunderstood. But it leaves a lingering aroma of hope that gives strength to those in the midst of the brokenness of life.To continue to give these moments of beauty to our city, to our artists, and to our churches, we need your financial help. We’ve poured out our alabaster jar. Please consider giving InSpero, Inc. a 501c3 tax-deductible organization, a year-end gift. Click here to donate online or mail checks made to InSpero, Inc. to:

InSpero, Inc., 246 Marwood Drive, Birmingham, AL 35244

For more information about InSpero, to get involved, or donate, sign up at our website, www.inspero.org.