NOURISH

Nourish is a network of ongoing gatherings where people meet to explore ideas while enjoying food and drink. We gather at participant’s homes in small group settings for discussion, meals, socializing, and celebration.

Our goal is to create an interwoven community of diverse friends who sanely, safely, and respectfully discuss politics, religion, culture, and current events, while also having fun. We’re committed to keeping things simple, meaningful, and welcoming.

We seek a holistic sense of Nourishment:

  • Nourishing the Mind through Exploration – we discuss ideas, read books and articles together, and engage questions on the meaning of life.
  • Nourishing the Body through Food & Celebration – sometimes we’re celebrating a seasonal holiday or event together, sometimes we’re just enjoying a meal or snacks.
  • Nourishing the Soul through Friendship – we socialize and strive to support one another and become friends.

Nourish aims to revive a version of the Salon – a lost tradition of ongoing intellectual and social gatherings aimed at discussion, friendship, and community building. In our turbulent times, we understand the profound need for people to come together to discuss pivotal topics and ideas in a measured, safe, and open manner. Sadly, we recognize the rarity of such spaces.

Themes and topics are announced ahead of time and each conversation is facilitated yet free flowing. Every participant is committed to the following ground rules:

Mutual Respect – we have zero tolerance for personal attacks, shaming, or ridicule – we all need not agree, but our disagreement doesn’t break our bonds of friendship or lead us to treat anyone unkindly or hold them in disdain.

Privacy & Discretion – we all commit to not repeating or sharing anyone’s opinions, comments, or thoughts with others outside of the group.

Listening with an Open Mind – we earnestly seek to engage the ideas and concerns of others, not merely waiting our turn to speak, but actively listening with an open mind and heart.

Sharing with Informative Kindness – we strive for our own input to be constructive and informative and shared in a spirit of kindness and humility.

Nourish strives for vibrant engagement, where everyone has a chance to speak and question, and where no one and no ideology dominates.

Each gathering has a designated host and a designated facilitator. We aim to rotate hosts and locations as well as facilitators.

The role of the host is to provide a welcoming space, introduce participants to one another, coordinate food and drink, and maintain an eye for practical concerns.

The role of the facilitator is to introduce the topic for the evening (in 3 to 5 minutes) and then invite questions, comments, and insights. It is also the role of the facilitator to gently ensure no one is dominating the discussion, speaking too long, or violating the ground rules.

Each gathering tends to follow the same pattern. People arrive and we mix and mingle and socialize for the first 20-30 minutes. The facilitator then focuses the group and introduces the topic for the evening in 5 minutes or less, ending the introduction with one or more questions for the group to possibly consider. Conversation typically lasts 45 to 90 minutes. We conclude the evening with further socializing and small talk.

For some gatherings, the conversation will take place at table over a meal. For others, in a more casual setting with light food and drinks.

FAQs

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE?
Anyone interested in exploring ideas, life, and questions of meaning usually from a progressive, often humanist, sometimes religious lens. If you’re interested in checking us out, get in touch with Gregory and introduce yourself, gregory@gregorygronbacher.com.

DO I NEED TO AGREE WITH EVERYONE?
No, everyone is welcome. We aren’t seeking to evangelize or convert anyone to anything. With that said, the flavor of the group is progressive, diverse, open-minded, inclusive, and aims at reasoned understandings of our own opinions, values, and convictions.

ARE YOU TRYING TO START A NEW CHURCH OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT?
No, we’re not trying to start a new church nor are we affiliated with any specific tradition, church, denomination, or other organization. We’re not looking to replace anyone’s other communities. We’re simply experimenting with ways of being community and friends rooted in a shared set of values.

WHAT DOES IT COST?
We don’t do formal membership and our events are free. If we’re doing a meal together, then it’ll be potluck style and you’d be asked to bring a dish to share and something to drink. In the event there was a cost for some event (likely small), we’d notify folks ahead of time.

HOW BIG IS THIS GROUP?
Due to COVID, we’re still in formation. There are currently several people interested in participating. We envision the group staying on the small side, maybe gatherings of 5-9 people, perhaps reaching a core of 10 to 20 individuals who don’t all participate in every gathering or event. If it grows beyond that, excellent, but we’ll need to address logistics and meeting spaces.

DOES THIS GROUP HAVE A HIDDEN AGENDA?
No, our individual members have various commitments, affiliations, and views, but Nourish is not affiliated with any party, church, or other group. We share the conviction that authentic, organic community can form when people fearlessly, honestly, and respectfully engage one another socially and intellectually. We seek opportunities to nourish our relationships, communities, and minds by gathering to socialize and engage in ideas together.

WHAT TOPICS DO YOU ENGAGE?
We’re open to engaging any topics that interest our members. We think it’s important to discuss ways to unite people, heal political, social, and racial divides, promote mutual understanding, and address issues confronting our culture and local community now – economics, the environment, education, matters of social justice – we’ll happily explore any set of ideas.

DOES EVERYONE AGREE WITH EVERYONE ELSE?
No. We encourage the expression of different views, questions, and polite exchanges. We highly value an atmosphere of curiosity, mutual respect, and open mindedness. While we encourage honest exchanges, we discourage attempts to convert others to our own way of thinking and seeing the world.

All content copyrighted with all rights reserved. Gregory Gronbacher, 2021. (C)

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