Sun, May 21, 11:45 AM: Communities of Abundance, Stories of Possible Futures

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Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

During their time at Mountain Haven, First Church’s mountain retreat house, Theologians-in-Residence (TIRs) Mark Latta, Jordan Ryan, De’Amon Harges, Wildstyle Paschall, KC Chan-Brose, and Aaron Wilder are finalizing the draft of their textbook, Social Action Writing: Public Narratives & Methods of Community.

Join these TIRs on Sunday, May 21st, from 11:45 am to 1:00 pm in the church parlor for a light lunch, and an opportunity to learn about their work in Indianapolis. During their session, Communities of Abundance, Stories of Possible Futures, you’ll hear about how Mark, Jordan, De’Amon, Wildstyle, KC, and Aaron use writing, literacy, storytelling, and archival research to reveal stories of abundance. Engaged forms of literacy have been used to resist and subvert oppression since the dawn of language. This discussion and group storytelling session will explore the use of public narratives and social action writing to advance community visions for more equitable futures.

This program is FREE and open to all! RSVPs are not required, but would be appreciated to help us plan for how much food we’ll need. If possible, please RSVP to the CHURCH OFFICE by Thursday, May 18th, at 12:00 noon. Thank you! (But if you don’t RSVP, please come on Sunday anyway! We’ll have enough food, and you are welcome.)


Learn More about These Visiting

Mark Latta is an assistant professor of English and Director of Community Engaged Learning at Marian University, and will soon be stepping away from higher education to focus on systems change work. His research and teaching interests focus on the intersections between community engagement, social change, and the ways literacy is used to resist oppression and enact futures. Latta gained his first experience teaching through an AmeriCorps term of service at Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility and remains involved in carceral education as a faculty member of the Women’s College Partnership at the Indiana Women’s Prison.


Jordan Ryan is an architectural historian, archivist and activist-scholar currently working on built environment, land use, and other site-specific projects under the independent consulting firm, The History Concierge. Some of their ongoing projects include reference and archiving for the City of Indianapolis’ Department of Metropolitan Development and facilitating oral histories and research for the NEH-funded Central State Hospital memory project for the Indiana Medical History Museum. Before that, Ryan managed the Indianapolis Bicentennial Collecting Initiative and curated the Indianapolis bicentennial exhibition. Their scholarship revolves around the built environment, urban planning, historic preservation, marginalized communities, and spatial equity.


De’Amon Harges – faculty member of the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) Institute, Community Organizer, Creator of The Learning Tree, chairperson of the Grassroots Grantmakers Association Board, and featured in the new documentary The Antidote: On Kindness in America – is a frequent speaker on ABCD in secular and religious groups around the world, and is a layperson at Broadway UMC, Indianapolis, IN. De’Amon’s role is to listen and discover the gifts, passions and dreams of citizens in his community, and to find ways to utilize them in order to build community, economy, and mutual “delight.” The bulk of De’Amon’s work is based on the principles and practices of the Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) that brings neighbors and institutions together to discover the power of being a good neighbor. De’Amon builds on what is already present and in place in the neighborhood, using those formerly undiscovered assets to connect and empower rather than working only from the community’s needs and deficits. De’Amon now describes his role on this planet as a social banker. He utilizes the intangible currencies that are cultivated and used by human assets and relationships to build a more abundant community.


Wildstyle Paschall, also known as Keith (that’s his government name), is a great example of how we are more than what we see! Wildstyle (appropriately named because of his unconventional skating techniques) is gifted with the skill of being a mechanic. He understands how mechanics and processes in human development work, but he is more interested in telling stories through music and visual arts. He uses his time to cultivate young hip hop artists to hone their skills like Jedi Knights. He promotes and manages them. He says that “if I don’t model how to be a productive person how can young people see how to be one?” Wildstyle also partners with The Learning Tree. He plays the role as the Roving Illustrator. His job is to make the invisible visible. Kind of an evaluator with a hip hop flare. Y’all should check out his work.


KC Chan-Brose is a recovering academic and community writing coach from Indianapolis. She is the co-founder, and CFO/CMO of Indy CALL: Community Action, Language, and Literacy support. Her work centers on empowering marginalized voices through writing, storytelling, and making. She has collaborated with local organizations to create writing programming, workshops, and literacy support programs for community writers and artists. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking, gardening, and doing yoga with her 3 daughters.


During his time in higher education, Aaron Wilder served as the Director of the Marian University Writing Center and was instrumental in creating and operating the Flanner Community Writing Center, the first community writing center in the Midwest. Wilder has an MA in English from Indiana University and is currently one of the managing partners of Indy CALL: Community Action, Language, and Literacy, where he is focusing his research on social agency through writing.