Above: The Simple Way founders: Joe Strife, Jamie Moffet, Brooke Sexton, Michelle and Michael Brix and Shane Claiborne.
Our 20 Year Anniversary celebration was an evening full of sweet moments. Friends and neighbors who’d once lived among us returned with hugs and high fives! A kid who grew up on the block and now towers over us at 6’7″; Tony Campolo, who was an influential college professor for the founders; our friend and supporter Sister Margaret, an 88-year-old nun who leads a small recovery community; and five of the six founders were some of those in attendance.
As I welcomed people and wandered among the guests, I saw folks laughing and reminiscing, connecting, and noticing changes in each other and in our work on the corner. There were people who were around twenty years ago, and people who we’d just met, celebrating with songs, stories, and hot dogs! It was beautiful.
Shane dug through a treasure trove of mementos and found photos, clippings, old protest signs, the old house meeting minutes, and other house items to form a museum of sorts. It was fun to watch former house residents look back and remember.
As the current director of the organization, I was reminded that The Simple Way is not any one thing–it’s all the things and all the people. And while there is a physical building and day-to-day life happening here in Kensington, The Simple Way is living and breathing in everyone that was there. And it’s present in you.
The Simple Way is love. It’s generosity and justice. It’s advocacy, empowerment, kindness, and creativity. It’s hard work, grace, and second chances. It is both hope and lament.
As the evening’s events ended, I left with a deep gratitude for what has been and a big yes in my heart for what is to come. Celebrating the first twenty and looking ahead for the next twenty.
– Caz Tod-Pearson, Executive Director