The Proclamation—Sharing the Story of Me feature (image)

The Proclamation—Sharing the Story of Me

by Rev. Tom Berry

Proc·la·ma·tion: a public or official announcement, especially one dealing with a matter of great importance.

The Proclamation, patterned after The Hearth Community in Ashland Oregon, is a new model of community building based on personal storytelling, reflective listening, and community service. The Proclamation develops community storytelling events in which people explore, craft, and share stories from what they have lived. At these events, The Proclamation raises money for nonprofits in the White Mountains. The Proclamation believes that developing community through storytelling, listening and community service is truly a matter of great importance.

The Proclamation has hosted three storytelling events this year. Twelve members of our community have shared stories about love, family and hunger. Four more members of our community will be sharing stories of home and the holidays on Thurs., Dec. 1st. Along with our storytellers, local musicians perform and each event sponsors a local non-profit. Our goal is to create a community event that offers personal stories, song, and service to strengthen our community.

Added together Pinetop, Lakeside, Show Low and the surrounding neighborhoods and towns don’t even come close to the population of a large city, but that doesn’t mean we are not a diverse community. The people who live here represent many different ethnic backgrounds, religious beliefs and political views. The people of our community are young and old, wealthy and poor, gay and straight. Our community is made up of business owners, waiters, doctors, teachers, students, retired folks, construction workers and more and everyone one of us has a story to tell.

Maybe you are thinking, why tell stories? There are many reasons to tell stories. Storytelling is fun and entertaining. But, there’s more to it than that, personal storytelling can strengthen our community by cultivating compassion, challenging stereotypes and building intergenerational relationships.

These storytelling events are not an opportunity to rally support for our party or candidate. They are not designed to promote one religious view over another. Although many of the stories shared are humorous this is not the place to work on our stand-up routines. We do not gather to tell someone else’s story we come together to share our own stories. When we do this we celebrate our similarities and our differences. Personal storytelling allows us to laugh and to cry together. Personal storytelling makes it easier to empathize and harder to judge. Personal storytelling can create new relationships and strengthens the bonds of community.

You are invited to our fourth storytelling event! The theme is Home for the Holidays and will be held on Thursday, December 1st at 6:30 PM at Community Presbyterian Church (1940 S Penrod Ln, Pinetop). Come and hear four local storytellers share their own true stories about home, the holidays and more. A local musician will be sharing their gifts as well. A $5 donation will be collected at the door. All proceeds of the night’s event will benefit White Mountain Clothe-a-Child, a non-profit organization that raises money to provide clothing for local children in need.

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