Our founder, Deb Turnow, followed the whisper of the Spirit almost 10 years ago when she gathered a group of friends and shared the call she felt God had put on her heart ~ to create a place and space where individuals could grow and transform their relationship with God. From that whisper and that gathering of friends, Kavanna House was born. Its first year was in borrowed space from one of those dear friends ~ holding the first spiritual practices class in her living room. In its second year, Kavanna House was provided a beautiful respite at 1516 East Market Street.
As you know, our recent world circumstances called upon Kavanna to shift its gatherings from the house to online. This was not something that we had envisioned or planned for, but something that we felt called to do in order to continue our work and our communities. While we've experienced a technical glitch here or there, overall the shift has been full of moments of transformation, awakening and a keen sense of the Spirit's presence. We are grateful and in awe of God's work and desires for us.
For some time prior to COVID-19, we started paying attention to declining enrollment in some courses and to the inquiries we were receiving from outside the York area. Not ever wanting to ignore the invitations God presents, we wondered how we could begin offering courses in other areas of Pennsylvania, as well as what other offerings or audiences we could serve. There was no pressure or urgency to the invitation, just a mindfulness. We were also paying attention to the growing cost of maintaining the house each month. Then, COVID came and the invitation became more real and more urgent as we closed the house, yet strongly desired to continue our cohorts and other offerings.
As a board, we decided to take the summer to discern what the invitations were for Kavanna. Were there things that we were clinging to that needed to be released? What feelings arose from those answers? What was the best way to be fiscally responsible? What does the future look like in terms of cohorts and programs when 'business as usual' in the house seems a long way off, when social distancing, masks and mitigating risks are the calls of our world? Is it time to re-imagine and re-vision Kavanna and its ministry? This global health crisis has offered all of us individually and collectively much to think about and consider ~ What might God be inviting me/us into as we grieve the loss of our 'normal'?
On Monday, August 24, we gathered as a unified body to listen to what the whisper might be now, almost 10 years later. After insightful and emotional discussion, our collective and shared decision was that it is time to release the physical building that has been the gathering place for Kavanna House…release the building but not the mission or the work.
What does this mean? It means that the building will be sold and that for at least the next year, Kavanna will offer all of its programs and services online. During that year, we will seek input and insight from those who have journeyed with us and from those we feel called to connect and partner with…it means that there is much listening to do and that the invitation to again co-create with the Spirit is wide open. We are excited and hope that you are too.
We know this is a lot to absorb. Our building has been the vessel for hundreds of people to participate in classes, retreats and spiritual direction. Many have said it is filled with the essence of the Spirit and warms them immediately upon stepping into the yard. For many of us, hearing that the house is being sold feels like losing a friend. We hold this grief with you.
Peace and Blessings,
Kavanna House Board of Directors
Sam Miller, President
Deb Turnow, Founder