Tammy Perlmutter is a writer, editor, founder, and curator of The Mudroom, a collaborative blog for women, and co-founder of Deeply Rooted, an annual faith and creativity gathering for women. Tammy is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild, an urban beekeeper, and she lives and works with Jesus People USA, an intentional Christian community on the North Side of Chicago. She is also a founding member of the Uptown Garden Collective, an urban sustainability initiative.
Lina AbuJamra is a Pediatric ER doctor and founder of Living with Power Ministries. Her deepest desire is to help people live with power by connecting Biblical answers to everyday life. She uses the same skills serving patients in the ER as she does helping people build their faith and manage critical decisions.
Nilwona Nowlin is a redemptive artist, someone who believes in the power of the arts to bring about positive transformation in individuals and communities. She is particularly passionate about helping people discover/pursue their purpose, leadership development, and ministries of compassion, mercy, and justice such as community development, reconciliation, and intercultural development. Recent publications include “To Save Many Lives: Exploring Reconciliation Between Africans and African Americans through the Selling of Joseph,” for the Covenant Quarterly as well as devotionals for the Covenant Home Altar. She is also a regular contributor to for the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) Commission on Biblical Gender Equality’s blog and the lmdj Voices blog of the ECC’s Love Mercy Do Justice mission priority. Nilwona earned a B.A. from Columbia College Chicago, an M.A. in Christian Formation and Certificate in Justice Ministry from North Park Theological Seminary and a Master’s in Nonprofit Administration from North Park University. She blogs at thedreamerspeaks.com. You can follow Nilwona on Twitter @nilwona.
Katelyn Durst is a poet, community artist, creative activist, teacher and youth worker. Katelyn hails from the northern coast of the Great Lake State. She has worked within urban youth development and urban community development for ten years in cities such as Chicago, Denver, DC, LA, Seattle and Flint (MI) . Additionally, she has taught poetry for six years and recently conducted poetry therapy workshops at a youth psychiatric hospital and Freedom Schools summer programming in a workshop focused on healing from the unjust deaths of youth of color
Katelyn is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Urban Studies and Community Arts from Eastern University. This program focuses on trauma-informed art-making to build sustainable and transformative resiliency within urban/inner-city and displaced communities. As an artist-in-residence with Flint Public Art Project, she is developing a narrative community arts project that will give voice to family stories as they process and grow through the current state of the water crisis. She continues to work as a poetry teacher and is additionally developing a food literacy curriculum for Flint schools.
Her poems have appeared in Controlled Burn, The Lightkeeper, Deep Fried Poetry, The Offbeat, Teen Ink, New Poetry Magazine and are forthcoming in Tayo Literary Magazine and the Primal School Blog. In her spare time, Katelyn She dreams of her next great adventure and becoming an urban beekeeper.
Deeply Rooted is two months from today!! We’re so excited to announce our speakers for May and show you our new video.
Katelyn Durst is a community artist, creative activist, teacher and youth worker. She has worked within urban youth development and urban community development for ten years and has taught poetry for six years, recently conducting poetry therapy workshops at a youth psychiatric hospital and Freedom Schools summer programming in a workshop focused on healing from the unjust deaths of youth of color. Katelyn is currently pursuing a master’s in Urban Studies and Community Arts from Eastern University with a focus on trauma-informed art-making to build sustainable and transformative resiliency within urban/inner-city and displaced communities. In her spare time, she dreams of becoming an urban beekeeper. She is a poet-in-residence at The Mudroom.
Nilwona Nowlin is a redemptive artist, someone who believes in the power of the arts to bring about positive transformation in individuals and communities. She is particularly passionate about helping people discover/pursue their purpose, leadership development, and ministries of compassion, mercy, and justice such as community development, reconciliation, and intercultural development. She is a regular contributor for the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC) Commission on Biblical Gender Equality’s blog and the lmdj Voices blog of the ECC’s Love Mercy Do Justice mission priority. Nilwona earned a B.A. from Columbia College Chicago, an M.A. in Christian Formation and Certificate in Justice Ministry from North Park Theological Seminary and a Master’s in Nonprofit Administration from North Park University. She blogs at thedreamerspeaks.com.
You can hear Lina daily on Moody Radio hosting Today’s Single Christian, or listen to her popular Living with Power podcast reaching thousands of people globally. Lina’s most recent work has taken her back to the Middle East and her birth country, Lebanon, where she is provides medical care for Syrian refugees. Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Lina now calls Chicago home. She is single and a huge Packers fan – not that the two are connected. Lina loves her coffee black and her iPhone always.
2016 was a brutal year for the country and the whole world. There was so much death, destruction, and hatred that many of us struggled to wake to a sense of purpose in the mornings. Our nation is grieving the loss of a historically invaluable leader, and fearing for the future of our most vulnerable citizens and refuges. We are tired. We are struggling with disbelief. We are fighting for the tiniest sliver of light we can find.
We chose our Spring theme in December and it resonated deeply within us and knew it would with you as well. What we need most right now is hope—hope for the hurting, hope for justice, hope for peace, hope for that promised hour when Jesus returns triumphant to defeat death for good.
We are called to be purveyors of hope, bringers of Good News, liberators of the poor and oppressed. When our hope is ebbing, we need to put ourselves in the way of it. Maybe we should be reading good news after each article that discourages, reaching out to those we know have been hit the hardest by hopelessness.
We’ll be gathering on May 20, 2017 to feed off one another’s hope, to be strengthened and built up by our sisters, to bring light to each other’s darkness. Please join us. Invite your family and friends. Let’s kick hate and fear to the curb together.
It’s been a month to the day since we gathered together. We had an amazing time with all of you and are still processing how the Lord showed himself through the worship, the speakers, and everyone who attended!
We’re so thankful for the privilege of serving you this way and look forward to many more Deeply Rooted events in the future. We would love to hear your thoughts and feedback. Would you like to see workshops in between gatherings? Book discussion groups? Prayer circles? Fill out the form and let us know!
We at Deeply Rooted want to give women the opportunity to connect with God intellectually as well as emotionally which is why we’ve asked Dr. Beth Felker Jones to speak. Beth is a theology professor at Wheaton College who teaches classes like Gender and Theology, Christian Ethics, Marriage, Sex, and Family in the Christian Tradition, Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, and Human Trafficking: Political and Theological Perspectives.
I (Tammy) met Kathy Khang through Twitter. We had a ton of mutual friends so she kept coming up in my timeline. I noticed how passionate she is about social justice, racial reconciliation, and making Jesus known. I’m constantly impressed by her wisdom and discernment and always challenged by her writing. We’re so excited to introduce Kathy to you and know that you will encounter truth through her.
Kathy currently serves as a regional multiethnic ministries director with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF)/USA. She coauthored More Than Serving Tea, about the intersection of faith, culture and gender, and it tells just part of an important story of Asian American Christian women.
“How does society view ambitious women? Kathy Khang helps us understand what honorable ambition looks like in a culture that promotes the exact opposite.” Watch this short video of Kathy Khang speaking at Q.
Thoughts on Deeply Rooted, May 2016, by Diane Buell
Deeply Rooted is a gathering of women striving to break chains of oppression and lift each other up in the name of the Lord. The speakers are of excellent caliber, powerful in their messages and compassionate in their hearts. I was moved by the telling of their stories as women who have experienced social injustice and see where problems of power lie.
The speakers and worship team do not seem to just sit around hoping things change; they have spent their lives working for a difference both in themselves and their world around them. I had an encounter with Jesus that night as I worshipped, and felt the Holy spirit say: Listen and then act.
The Scriptures say to always encourage one another and this is what Deeply Rooted did for me. The evening encouraged me to stand firm in what I believe. I’m looking forward to the next Deeply Rooted in November.
Diane Buell lived at Jesus People USA from 1994-1995. She comes back every spring and fall for Deeply Rooted—and is always given a warm welcome by her old friends.
In this workshop you will be working alongside artists Suzanne and Colleen to create your own one-of-a-kind weaving with soft fibers, fabrics, plants, and flowers as you use the time for prayerful reflection.
Supply fee: $5 (cash only)
Finding Rest: Journaling with Color and Line
Many of us journal, some in time of crisis or need, while others very regularly get their responses down on things they have read or conversations they have had. Some of us would like to journal, but those blank pages seem overwhelming. Journaling using line and color may be a way to give a boost to an established journaling practice, or give us another way to respond to what is going on in our lives and around us.
Are you saying to yourself, “I can’t even draw a straight line?” Art journaling is not about making great art. It is about letting color and line speak for you when words can’t. No art ability is required. If you can hold a crayon in your hand, you have everything you need.
Come join us for a creative rest you can engage in during Deeply Rooted and beyond. We will be using easily found items (provided) to create small journal pages.
“Black feminist discourse of power in Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf depicts the struggle of black women through a rainbow of experiences. The chorepoem focuses on how the patriarchal discourse leads to their suffering and how they were able to claim back their identities as black females who only need to be loved and appreciated. Shange’s poetry expresses the many struggles and obstacles that African- American women face throughout their lives.”
Many of us white women can relate on a smaller, safer scale. We are experiencing and recovering from similar traumas; assault, depression, abuse, diminishment, voicelessness, loss of identity. Velda widens the scope to one that includes us all and suggests we title our own stories and offers suggestions:
WRITE YOUR OWN PLAY . . . THESE TITLES MAY OR MAY NOT FIT
For Women Who Consider Asphyxiation When Trauma Overwhelms Your Soul
For Women Who Want to Run Away from Home When the Covenant Binds You
For Women Who Trust Other Women Only to Get Used and Broken
For Women Who Live in Community But Find Themselves Isolated and Lonely
For Women Who Give and Give and Give and Give and Find Themselves Empty
For Women Who Want to Re-Write the Rules When Men Are Clueless and God is Silent
For Women Who Smile and Smile and Smile, But Are Weeping and Crying, Sobbing, and Wailing on the Inside
For Women Who Ask Permission to Speak But Never Get to Speak
For Women Who are Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired
For Women Who Never Get to Hear The Bible From a Woman’s Perspective
For Women Who Are Know What Freedom Is And Are Willing to Empower and Free Others
Velda offers us encouragement and hope and commissions us to find our truest, deepest selves.
June Felix joined us at our May 2016 event and shared so much wisdom with us. We are thankful for her encouraging and challenging words.
“This journey into exploring the unknown began last year, late in July when my mother passed away. Her passing left me with so many unanswered questions. So for ten months now I’ve been dealing with the fact that these are questions that simply won’t be answered—the answers died with her—as her mother’s did before her. She didn’t do this on purpose, but she passed down the mystery to her children. It was her legacy.”
Elyssa Salinas performed spoken-word poetry for us at our May gathering. Her words were a clarion call to self-awareness and strength, as she took on Hagar’s hurt and shame, and pleaded with Frida Kahlo for wisdom. Even if you think you don’t like or understand poetry, please watch this performance. You’ll never look at poetry the same way, and may even be inspired to write your own!
A Conversation I Never Expected to Have
I was made with more than flesh in mind;
A mind! Imagine that.
A mind that reasons & wonders why
All you see are body parts;
Mountains & valleys that you can walk over & conquer.
Not afraid of rough terrain or how it will fight back,
Just looking for a place to stick your flag.
A claim for all to see that you saw, you came & you conquered.
I was made with more than flesh in mind.
Given the gift of womanhood,
Of soft curves, short stature & the hope that one day
I will meet her.
The woman I’m supposed to become –
The woman everyone seems so excited to meet.
I was given the gift of womanhood.
A package filled with more than
Sugar in the raw &
Spices to fill the rack.
My womanhood lay underneath
Tissue paper and ribbon.
Gently laid and ready to be assembled.
My limbs were put together by women;
Women older & wiser than me who
Fastened me, piece by piece.
Putting my arm in a socket,
Showing me how to embrace
A mother &
Telling me one day I won’t need any instruction
To embrace a lover,
I’ll get enough practice when I find him.
Placing my hips low to the ground,
With a laying on of hands
Showing me how to sway when a beat calls to me.
They place my feet firmly on the ground & tell me
Each step I take will lead me
Through pain unbearable &
Toward pleasure unimaginable.
I was given this gift of womanhood,
As much as you might think my hips sway only in your direction,
My body submits simply to your touch,
& my lips never speak anything but your name.
You are mistaken.
My body is not a present for you to unwrap &
Discard when you’re done playing.
My body is a gift from God with
My name on the tag.
A God that gave me the ability to create or wait,
Or just to say no if I choose.
My hips are not just childbearing –
They are weight-bearing, rhythm making, melody moving &
Cocked from side to side, depending on my mood.
These breasts are not meant for you to unclasp & set free,
To fondle as you dream.
They were meant for me
To push down, push up, fill out my dress if I see fit
& if I want you step
From that plate to touch a new base
I will tell you.
And what I hold between my legs
Was never meant to be called
Chastity, virginity, purity or honor.
It was never meant to be
Property, a bicycle, or a revolving door.
What I hold between my legs is not called
It has a name
all its own,
but one I choose
& do not have to share with you.
What I hold between my legs is
Beauty beyond measure
Ecstasy without ceasing
A point of pleasure & pain
Of life & death
& it is by invitation only that you get to come.
I have the God-given gift of being a woman &
What rests between my legs is divine pleasure,
What resides between my thighs
Is something more than a switch
Madonna & Whore
Virgin & Slut
Prude & Pleasing
What I hold between my legs is more
Than a fleshy existence
More than a quick night or fleeting fancy.
It is a place where life begins
Where existence is known
And where more women have been hurt
Then you can imagine.
I never thought I would have to explain
That my body belongs to me.
That it is my own,
That it does not belong to you.
I never thought that my decisions would give you ownership
Of a body that you do not take care of.
A nice dinner might fill my belly,
But do not think of it as admission
To play games and ride around as you please.
Take a whirl all the way to the top &
If you like it,
Make it spin again.
Pay a little extra and maybe it will go backwards?
We are absolutely ecstatic that Dallas spoken-word poet Anita Scott will be performing at Deeply Rooted again! Anita is a high school teacher with a gift for creating powerful poems that capture audiences, leaving them wanting more. She is the Poet in Residence at The Mudroom, contributing a spoken-word video each month, and has performed her poetry nationally. Join us November 4 & 5 for our next gathering. Watch this video for an introduction to Anita Scott.
You never know what to expect when you throw a party or host an event. You hope people show up and are terrified nobody will. You are hyper-aware of every word spoken, wondering how this person or that one is going to receive it, if there will be offense taken or hearts opened. You see it through an outsider’s eyes and listen with an outsider’s ear, praying that God will show up even if only a few people do.
Those of us who organized the event felt all those feelings and thought all those thoughts. We learned at our May gathering that you have to make yourself slow down, look away, and be fully present.
Each of us came with expectation, anticipation, and maybe even a little bit of fear. But we showed up. We talked to people we didn’t know, raised our hands in worship, added new Facebook friends, experienced deep, new truths, and made meaningful connections with strangers. Even more importantly, God showed up. In a different way to each one of us, in just the way we needed him to.
Some of us needed to allow ourselves a voice to stand up to misogyny. Others of us needed to hear that everything will be okay even if we don’t have answers right now. Still more of us needed to be told, again, that we are loved, seen, and heard. That we belong. A few of us needed to be safe enough in our discomfort to ask what is stirring our hearts with unease.
We received good feedback from our attendees and speakers:
“Thank you for a wonderful evening with Deeply Rooted. The speakers affirmed in me that my voice as a single woman is valid and my story is worth telling. I have been making a lot of art about my journey—these women gave voice to all women who need the encouragement to stand rooted in their faith and rooted in their womanhood.”
One of our speakers, Rev. Dr. Velda Love, shared this: “Thank you for the invitation to speak. Look at God . . . always doing amazingly more than we could ever expect or imagine. The women were lovely, beautiful, ready, receptive, and very present. I had an opportunity to hug and talk with young women and more seasoned women. There is so much work to be done in our lives, so anytime you need me just call.”
Many women were challenged and moved by our speakers, and encouraged by our worship. If you missed that gathering, we are planning our next one for Friday, November 4th and Saturday, November 5th! It will be our 3rd event and our 1st anniversary so we’re making it bigger and better! We’ll have an additional worship set, 4 workshops (you choose two) and a catered lunch with the speakers and leaders.
Right now we are pricing registration at $35 for the full event. This is a limited time offer, so please take advantage of it! Invite your friends and family! Invite your pastor or your pastor’s wife, your women’s ministry leader, your small group, or your Pokémon Go team.
We are praying you here, and if there is anything else we can pray for, use the contact form below. Click here for registration!
We have our lineup finalized and are working on the details of the schedule for our November 4-5 gathering. Joy and I have that squeee! feeling, like, We’re really doing this?! Again?!
We are so excited when we get to brainstorm together how to bless, encourage, and challenge the women who will be attending.
I met Michelle Van Loon at the Festival of Faith and Writing. She squeeed all over me when we were introduced, telling me how much she loved Jesus People USA and our ministries. I told her about Deeply Rooted, and she gushed when she said, “If you EVER need a speaker, please let me know. I would LOVE to be a part of that.”
So here’s Michelle, and she’s a part of it! She is a woman who tells the stories of “spiritual ragamuffins, rebels and refugees.” I’m sure all of us fit into at least one of those categories right now, or will soon enough. You won’t want to miss her in November.
I have a contributor blog called The Mudroom and Michelle is today’s featured writer. You can read the first part of her post here, and click the link if you want to read more. If you like what you read, consider following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook, leaving a comment, or subscribing.
Requiem For a BFF by Michelle Van Loon
Being the new girl in 8th grade was like walking over hot coals every day. All the other kids were a part of established cliques. Hormones and insecurity are a double rip tide that pulls under all but the strongest and most resilient of us during middle school.
It was a life preserver to have Karen draw me into her circle of friends during a ski trip. Her clique wasn’t “cheerleader popular”, but they were a pretty cool group. As time went on, we cycled between being besties and drifting from each to connect with others in the intense friendships that characterize adolescence. Karen and I found our first bond in our respective difficult home lives and our shared weed smoking habits, then as each of us came to newfound faith in our Rescuer, Jesus.
When I got married at the end of my sophomore year in college, Karen and I learned that the bond of true friendship was elastic in nature. Our lives went in different directions for a while, and our rubber-band bond stretched farther than it ever had before.
Our lives were different for a while, as I focused on married life and then starting a family, and she traveled abroad and finished college. We fell again into closer orbit after she and her husband started a family. We were together in the trenches of parenting, and our kids grew up spending lots of time together. Even after my family moved a couple of hours away midway through our kids’ respective childhoods, Karen and I stayed tethered to one another by phone call and visit.
You never know what to expect when you throw a party or host an event. You hope people show up and are terrified nobody will. You are hyper-aware of every word spoken, wondering how this person or that is going to receive it, if there will be offense taken or hearts opened. You see it through an outsider’s eyes and listen with an outsider’s ear, praying that God will show up even if only a few people do.
You have to make yourself slow down, look away, and be fully present.
Each of us came with expectation, anticipation, and maybe even a little bit of fear. But we showed up. We talked to people we didn’t know, raised our hands in worship, added new Facebook friends, experienced a deep, new truth, and made meaningful connections with strangers. Even more importantly, God showed up. In a different way to each one of us, in just the way we needed him to.
Some of us needed to allow ourselves a voice to stand up to misogyny. Others of us needed to hear that everything will be okay even if we don’t have answers right now. Still more of us needed to be told, again, that we are loved, seen, and heard. A few of us needed to be safe enough in our discomfort to ask what is stirring our hearts with unease.
We received good feedback from our attendees and speakers. Here are two examples:
“Thank you for a wondering evening with Deeply Rooted. The speakers affirmed in me that my voice as a single woman is valid and my story is worth telling. I have been making a lot of art about my journey—these women gave voice to all women who need to encouragement to stand rooted in their faith and rooted in their womanhood.”
Rev. Dr. Velda Love had this to say: “Thank you for the invitation to speak. I just did what you asked and look at God . . . always doing amazingly more than we could ever expect or imagine. The women were lovely, beautiful, ready, receptive, and very present. I had an opportunity to hug and talk with young women and more seasoned women. There is so much work to be done in our lives, so anytime you need me just call.”
Many women were challenged and moved by our speakers, and encouraged by our worship. We want to be available to you in between events, so please keep in touch. Let us know how God used our speakers to speak to your heart. Give us some ideas for future events, workshops, gatherings, etc. Tell us how we can pray for you.
We can’t wait to see you next Saturday! We are busy working to make sure your experience is challenging and encouraging. Our worship team practiced on Thursday, here’s a sneak peek into our worship set:
Meet Rev. Velda Love. She is the director of justice and intercultural learning in the Office of Diversity’s Collaboratory for Urban and Intercultural Learning at North Park University. Velda collaborates with various academic schools to develop curricular and co-curricular opportunities designed to encourage greater integration of students’ in-class and out-of-class experiences with an emphasis on social justice related issues.
Velda completed a MATS from North Park Theological Seminary and is Ordained to Specialized Ministry in Social Justice in the Evangelical Covenant Church. She is a pastoral assistant at Second Baptist Church in Evanston, Ill., and serves on various boards and task forces that address interfaith dialogue, homelessness, and youth incarceration. She is completing her DMin in social transformation from Chicago Theological Seminary. This is an audio sermon she gave at Jesus People USA Covenant Church in Uptown, Chicago:
June Felix is the best person to share about wonder. She is an author, speaker, avid gamer and sci-fi geek. She evens dresses up for Comic Con! She is one-half of the Moody Radio duo Karl and June in the Mornings.
Elyssa Salinas will be bringing us some spoken-word poetry. She is the Program Assistant for Hunger Education, a recent graduate of the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago and plans to pursue a doctoral work in sexual ethics and theology in the coming year. You can see her perform one of her poems here:
Deeply Rooted is coming up close. We’re exploring Wonder through poetry, worship, teaching, and fellowship and we have fantastic speakers who love to bring the Word. We can’t wait for you to see what we have in store for you. In November, when we met for the first time, we decided Deeply Rooted needed to keep going. Connections were made. Truth was spoken. Community happened.
We want you to experience that too. All over the internet, in churches and small groups, families and friendships, we are seeing that women are lonely. We’re afraid of initiating friendship. We’re terrified of going deep, getting close, and being known. We’re comparing ourselves to other women: their bodies, their families, their successes, their relationship with God. And we always come up wanting.
We’re in want and wanting at the same time. We long for healthy friendship. We are craving connection. We’re killing our desires because they frighten us and aren’t being met. There is hope. There is possibility.
We created Deeply Rooted because we, (Joy & Tammy) discovered a shared felt need. We needed to know and be known. And we wanted to invite others into the longing.
So many of us don’t have the time, energy, or money to attend Christian women’s conferences that offer community and encouragement. So we made our own, especially for local Chicagoland women.
We want to meet you. Please consider joining us and bringing a friend.
A special thanks to Juan Carlos and Jessica Quiroga for their beautiful filming and video production and Grrr Records for allowing us to use the song “Come Before the Lord” by Mike Troxel from No Greater Love by Glenn Kaiser and friends. Please share this around and invite your friends!