Hutchmoot 2017: Re-entry


I don’t know about you, but I had fun this weekend. From an amazing Rabbit Room LIVE (Sho Baraka!) to Fernando Ortega (“He’s come for the pimples!) to John Cal (“Hard Times Come Again No More”) to David Taylor’s laugh (and his wisdom) to Doug McKelvey’s epic delivery of that liturgy on Sunday—oh, and Ashley Cleveland, and Arthur Alligood, and Jason Gray, and Christopher Williams, too. There was so much going on that I can scarcely recount it all here. I enjoyed every inch of Hutchmoot, and I hope that’s true for all of you.

We’ll be taking a few days (the week really) to recover. If you’ve ordered from the store during the weekend, we apologize, but it’s going to be a few days before we get back on top of things. Bear with us. The office is in tatters, boxes everywhere, and we’ve got to sort through it all to regain our sanity and our shipping schedule.

We’ll be sending out a survey in the coming days to collect constructive feedback, but in the meantime, tell us how the weekend struck you. What did you think of the new venue, the modified format, the increased audience? What are you taking home from the experience?

If you are the blogging type, this comment thread is a great place to crosspost any writing that comes of your time at Hutchmoot. And if you’re an artist or a doodler or a poet or anything else, we’d love to see any work the weekend inspired.


Pete Peterson is the author of the Revolutionary War adventure The Fiddler’s Gun and its sequel Fiddler’s Green. Among the many strange things he’s been in life are the following: U.S Marine air traffic controller, television editor, art teacher and boatwright at the Florida Sheriffs Boys Ranch, and progenitor of the mysterious Budge-Nuzzard. He lives in Nashville with his wife, Jennifer, where he's the Executive Director of the Rabbit Room and Managing Editor of Rabbit Room Press.


  1. jannerjt

    Is there a way to watch a recording of Rabbit Room Live? I forgot that it was happening, but I would love to see it!

  2. Jonny

    Love the new location! Y’all did a great job planning the entire weekend, and even though it was a larger group and more spread out, the whole weekend felt even more personal and intimate.

  3. Laura Peterson


    Effusive thanks to Pete and all who make Hutchmoot possible. It’s my favorite thing. Here are a jumble of thoughts:

    New venue: Loved it! Beautiful space, loved being able to spread out a bit (although the eating area was a bit tricky to navigate when it was full).

    More people: it was so delightful to see so many first-time attendees hands raised on the first day. Glad to have more folks join in.

    Takeaways: as more of a “supporter of creative endeavors” rather than a primary creator myself, the Hutchmoot moments that I usually resonate most strongly with and remember fondly are those when I’m among a group of folks just sitting in enjoyment of a work of art – listening to a poem, a story, a well-chosen word, a song. Thursday night in-the-round stories and songs remains one of my favorite nights of the entire year, as well as any chance for an author or songwriter to get up and share something they have made. It’s even more fun sometimes when it’s a group talking about art that has been around a while, that we’ve had a chance to sit with and have impact our lives, and everyone can fully geek out together. Case in point: this year’s U2 session will stick with me a while, I think. Thanks to John Barber, Mark Geil, Matt Conner, and Andy Osenga. (Also to Matt Conner.)

  4. Emma

    Arrived back home with a full heart. Grateful and resolved to live out the vocation of being God’s child first in the realms of home, church, parish, study and gleeb. Well, after I find my gleeb, that is. But first… a nap!

  5. Emma

    Arrived back home with a full heart. Grateful and resolved to live out the vocation of being God’s child first in the realms of home, church, parish, study and gleeb. Well, after I find my gleeb, that is. But first… a nap!

  6. Alan

    I just woke up from a Hutchmoot hangover nap – a copy of “For the Beauty of the Church” balancing on the arm of my chair (“this is the ideal form of a chair”). My wife is asleep next to her copy of “The View From Here”. Neither of us is willing to truly leave Hutchmoot just yet. 

    I know tomorrow when coworkers ask me about my vacation, I’ll smile and say something like “It was a great time” – wishing I had the words to really tell them, but knowing the best way for them to find out is one conversation, one opportunity, one choice to serve them at a time.

    Hutchmoot inspires and equips us to to do just that. Thank you to all who worked so hard, and with such grace, to make that a reality.

  7. April Pickle


    “Jesus will be there,” said Lanier, weeks before Hutchmoot, after I told her how much I don’t like change.
    And she was right.
    Jesus showed up in your stories, your songs, your poems. He was in your hugs and smiles and jokes, in your eyes, as you shared your sorrows and joys. He was present as we feasted on scones and tea and Indian food, as we gathered in groups of two or three.
    And He is with us now, in our tired first day of re-entry, but it doesn’t feel like a taste of heaven, it doesn’t feel like Hutchmoot.
    I haven’t accomplished much today. I’ve done a few house chores, I figured out what I’m making for dinner.
    An hour ago, I got in my van to take three trash bags down the road to the recycling center. (I needed an excuse to get by myself to give Chris Slaten’s new album a first-listen. Man, is it good. I can’t wait to hear more.) On my way, I passed a heron at my neighbor’s pond. It was a badass heron, of course, and it reminded me of last year’s Moot.
    When I got to the recycling center, the gate was locked. They closed an hour early, or so I thought, before I noticed a sign that announced new hours. 
    I drove home in the wind and under clouds, soaking in two more songs. We’re scheduled for a storm and a cold front tonight. A new season is coming. 
    I passed the pond again. The heron was still there. He was standing firm like a Hutchmooter singing old hymns in a new building.

  8. Carrie Givens


    I sat at the airport this morning thumbing through #Hutchmoot2017 posts on Instagram. So many had a lovely weekend and I was grateful to be part of it. My thanks to all who made it happen. I continue to be grateful for the chance to be part of this community, and was so glad to be able to offer bits of my heart in sessions this year. My “Hutchmoot Moment”(TM) this year came on Sunday afternoon. I told the story here:

  9. Rachel Donahue


    This was my first Hutchmoot. At four AM of our first night home, I finally have words:

    We gather in a little garden and sit, in a circle, forever friends newly acquainted. The wind rustles the leaves around us and wafts a sweet aroma as the sun warms our skin. We open our crumpled bags and timidly pull out gifts, and we offer them to one another. One brings color; another brings melody; another offers light and shadow; still another brings motion; another lines and form; another rhythm; another flavor; another words.

    Here, in our circle in the garden, we begin to play. Color blends with rhythm and motion, words move in the light and the shadows, and melody swirls among the flavors and forms. We reach way down into the corners and pull things from within—things that surprise us and each other. “You too?” we say. The colors deepen. The melody soars. The contrast and texture become rich. Though our individual offerings feel meager, there is no scarcity here. The multiplication of our gifts has created an overabundance so that when the day draws to a close and we part, our bags are bursting at the seams. We scatter in twelve directions, each of us leaving with more than we brought, and we courageously offer our overflow of gifts to the people we meet on our way till the moons rise and the earth turns and it’s time to gather again.

    In this is love.

  10. shar

    The following is what I shared as a Facebook status and was encouraged to share here:

    I was able to attend Hutchmoot almost by accident. Friends, I told only a handful of you that I was going to Tennessee before I left. Partially, that was because it all fell together just a few weeks beforehand: a work obligation vanished, a ticket became available, a dear friend offered a place to stay. This thing completely out of my grasp became reachable.

    I didn’t say much about it because I wasn’t sure what to say. It is, sure, a gathering for those interested in the intersection of faith and the arts, but those who have formerly attended called it “notoriously hard to describe.” I didn’t know exactly what I was entering into, only that I was hungry for whatever it was.

    I didn’t say much about it because sometimes there are things I feel too deeply to share. Because there was once a whisper in my ear as a child, a whisper telling me, “This is what you were born to do,” yet I often wonder if I really heard it at all. You know it, perhaps: that moment when you first read a string of words that strikes your heart like a bell and leaves everything within you ringing, or the first time you taste the rhythm of a poem on your tongue, or the first chords that transform into arrows and pierce you straight through, or whatever the particular beauty is that has haunted you since the moment you first encountered it–the beauty that stretches its hand toward you like an invitation.

    I didn’t say much because I live and work in an evangelical world where every answer stirs up more questions, and sometimes I am clawing for more knowledge, as if a satiated intellect will resolve every deep longing inside me. I didn’t say much because to admit that to anyone who doesn’t understand it only makes me feel like more of an outsider in a world that has never fit quite right–always too loose or too snug. And while knowledge has its place, the thing that makes me certain of–and compelled toward–Christ…is beauty.

    So I tiptoed off to Tennessee for a conference that wasn’t really a conference but more of a feast. Not a call to “get excited” or “do big things” but to be still and broken, to listen and taste and see what is good. A community that already knew my questions and particular pains and invited them, not trying to solve the problems but to see the beauty and truth beneath them. A place that celebrated the quiet constance of liturgical living and creative offering.

    I’m ready to say more about it now, but I’m not certain how to say it. The gift was so great and the words seem so small (how does one wrap a mountain range in a newspaper?). I can say this: I am ringing, I am filled, I am pierced. For once again the whisper I first heard as a child stirred up again like a breeze: “This is what you were meant to do.” And there was a new whisper, too: “Beloved, this is who you are.”

  11. Matthew Cyr


    Like many doubtless have before me, I have since re-entry told inquirers that I can tell them countless things about Hutchmoot, but everything I can tell them won’t be what Hutchmoot is. We use words far too flimsy for our need, in attempt to capture it: community, united, family. Maybe it’s only in Heaven the word we are reaching for exists; then again, maybe in Paradise they have no need for such a word – the fishes need no word for wet, when wet is universal and much the same as being. But yet again, perhaps any fish that has once gasped desperately on dry land begins to know what being wet is, and we who pant for something we have never had, recognize it at once when we get a glimpse of it within Hutchmoot – recognize it as our native habitat, the atmosphere we were made for.

    Even though – or maybe because – I still didn’t know quite what a Hutchmoot was, I had many specific plans for my first ‘moot, which mostly involved meeting incredible writers that I had built into legends in my mind. Perhaps even erected idols of, if we’re being honest.
    I did get to see and hear and talk with these men and women, and this was as thrilling as I had expected. Better, even, because in the process they became real people, wonderful and lovable people, and you can’t truly love an idol – only grovel before it.
    Despite having had these aims for the weekend, I had still determined to remain open to any better plans than mine that the Spirit had for me… to “take the adventure Aslan sends us” as Lewis put it. Better plans He did have, and the most momentous meetings were those I had not been looking for, because they were with people I hadn’t known existed. Time and again, whether by “chance” or intervention so obvious as “God showed me your face and told me to find and talk to you”, I was brought into conversation with the most extraordinary people, through whom He told me exactly the things I needed to hear, just when I needed to hear them.  I was affirmed and reminded of my unshakable identity as a son of the Most High, of the eternal value and importance of my ongoing unglamorous labors that are easy to disregard in the drawn-out scuffle of everyday life. I grieved with those who had suffered, and exulted quietly in what the Healer had wrought in us through our pain, in the grace that was revealed. I was renewed in the conviction that imagination is one of our highest gifts from our Father, one of the ways we bear His image, and that my own efforts, small or great, are acts of worship to the first and true Artist, and bold claims and proclamations to His creation that the redemption of all things is coming.
    I am not usually a person given to emotional “sloppiness”, but I feel like I spent about half the weekend weeping, or on the verge of weeping, or trying to find my composure again.
    I’m the sort of person that can sometimes fall into loving the great books, those pictures of the Almighty that we paint with words, more than I do the living pictures of God that He made Himself:  we the members of His body. But as the weekend unfolded, and the Spirit sent selected members of that body my way like cannonballs to knock holes in an ugly slag-heap of a wall I had built, and let shafts of light in again…  I watched myself change from spectator and consumer who had come to hear the thoughts of talented writers, and pick their brains, to savoring the people around me for who they were and seeking to make new relationships, and deepen existing ones. I stopped agonizing over which sessions to attend, and by the end had left off attending sessions and workshops in order to spend more time just meeting and connecting with new friends, and attempting to give others a measure of what had been given to me.
    And overlaying it all, the evening gatherings at which the profound and achingly beautiful music and liturgies washed over and through us, was like sloughing off old dead layers of self and emerging alive again into the cosmos. After Sunday’s final gathering, I stumbled speechless and undone out of the sanctuary and retreated to a quiet corner, attempting sufficient recovery as to be able to say goodbye and part well from people I had come to love.
    As I said in parting to one of the remarkable people who had been essential in making Hutchmoot what it was for me:
    I go from here so much smaller, yet so much greater than I came,
    I go out into a world so much more beautiful and full of wonder than the one I came from,
    And I go so much more ready and strengthened to be part of it.

    Deepest thanks from a firstmooter to all you who labored to create Hutchmoot 2017, to my fellow Hutchmates who completed the space prepared for them, and the Holy Spirit who hallowed it.

    Also, a special thanks to Matt Connor.

  12. Alan Hald

    For those of you who were moved, as I was, by Andrew’s reading of Rich Mullins’ response to an aspiring songwriter, here it is:


    In 1989, aspiring songwriter Matt Barnard wrote to ask Rich Mullins how to get involved in Christian music. Here’s his oh-so-Mullins’ response:

    Winston Churchill is famous for a lot of things and because of his fame, his advice to the student body at his alma mater is famous as well. He just said to them simply, “Never ever ever ever ever give up!”

    I am not so famous, but if I could tell you something about getting into writing for Christian artists or growing up in Jesus or whatever, I would summarize a letter Paul the Apostle wrote to the Saints in Ephesus. I would say to you, “BE FAITHFUL.”

    Remember, God sees the big picture and is working in you to create something UNIMAGINABLY great. It is God who does the work and to an end that He alone knows. I do not know if you will be writing for Russ Taff or Amy Grant someday. Make every effort to let the desire of your heart be to write for the Lord. Write honestly. Write the truth as best as you know it. Do not be preoccupied with writing. That will choke out your ability to see what should be written. Be preoccupied with the task and privilege of following the Lord and write as you go. “Throw your bread upon the water….” Sing to those who need to be sung to. Memorize for yourself Psalm 137:4-6: “How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy.”

    If “Jerusalem” is your desire, Nashville will be just a layover. You can take it or leave it. Be faithful.

    Be God’s!


    Rich Mullins

    (found here:

  13. Laura Brown


    I need to think about all this some more, but I want to commend the map for its help in bridging the transition between old and new. It did what a map is supposed to, showing where things are and orienting us in space. It also overlaid the existing space with language of Rabbit-Roominess: rooms named for our favorite authors, hallways familiar to Harry Potter readers, a space of chinwaggery, and that curious Introvert hiding place. (I introverted there for a little bit one afternoon and wondered, what’s the introvert capacity, even with seating for 8-10? Someone else peeked in, ignored my “Come on in” and backed out, so I guess the answer is 1.) The map was welcoming because of Jennifer’s recognizable, familiar lettering, and because of all the ways that it suggested, “We’ve been expecting you and have prepared a place for you.”

  14. Sofia

    I have a hard time distilling thoughts and experiences in a small space like a comment, but I’ll try a bit here, in abstract words, then link to my Instagram account, where more specific moments have and are continually spilling out: This was a weekend that frustrated the plans I came with, even as I found myself walking through a story of God’s provision and love. I returned home full and tired, wondering how reentry would go. I’ve been surprised at how much of the weekend has come alive to me simply in a quiet welcome as I crawled into bed at the wee hours of the morning, at savoring being home, in being with and really seeing my toddler as the person he is. Somehow all that was Hutchmoot this year awakened and refined my vision to see and receive the beauty, brokenness, and holiness of my “real” life.

    (I hope that makes sense… More snapshots of Hutchmoot and reentry here:

  15. Laure Hittle


    [Second attempt. i got halfway through this once and lost the whole comment. 🙁 And my brain is somewhat wrecked because we’ve gotten on average five hours of sleep each night for the last week and a half, and when we got home from Hutchmoot we slept for four hours and then were at school for thirteen. But i know that if i wait until i’m coherent i won’t post at all. And writing is always impossible until i do it, anyway.]

    Our first year of Hutchmoot, 2015, was hard; it wrung me out. Our second year was easy—i belonged, i fit, i was known. And then while we were cleaning up on Saturday Pete told me we were moving and i felt the ground give way beneath me. i have moved so much—please don’t make me move again. You can’t do this. i don’t want to be homeless again. Please, please don’t. And so for the last year—not constantly, but frequently—i have felt waves of grief and fear wash over me. The photos of the new venue Pete posted in the Facebook Chinwag helped, but even so, i was afraid. i begged him to let us volunteer because i was afraid that otherwise i would be lost. But if i could just help, i could imprint on the new place and put down roots and maybe, with tasks enough, i could be okay.

    Wednesday night we went over to block print folders, and so by the time everyone showed up on Thursday Christ Community felt like a known quantity. Thursday was busy but good. Friday was busy and exhausting. Saturday i finally had some time to wander around and go to a session, and that was the day when everything caught up with me. i still didn’t know my way around. i spent a lot of time feeling somewhat out of my body, crying at random. There are words i write on my hands to ward off panic attacks; i needed them. i needed help and i didn’t know how to ask for it. i finally stumbled into the Introvert Hiding Place and wept. But there was goodness also. Saturday was Inkmoot and Kevan Chandler’s session, for starters. And after dinner Miranda prayed over me.

    Sunday we went to Redeemer for church. The first step into the building did feel surreal. There are the walls. Here are the stairs. There is the triptych and the ramp up to the living room—and then there are Rabbits. So many Rabbits! We always go to the 10:45 service at Redeemer when we’re in town, and we’ve never run into that many Rabbits before. And then we went into the service with Miranda—a new friend, a firstmooter—and it was so good. So, so good. Participating in the liturgy, singing together, hearing G-d’s word, receiving communion—it was good, and it was good to do all this at Redeemer, and it was good not just because i was at “home” again—it wasn’t “home;” Redeemer has always felt different on Sunday mornings because the merch tables are down and i know so few people. It was more like experiencing worship at Redeemer after having been elsewhere all week let me enter into church there in a way i hadn’t before. Redeemer could become itself, separate from Hutchmoot. And then we went out for brunch and came back to Christ Community for the closing liturgy session, and as soon as we walked in the door a new feeling settled over me: i know this place.

    i know this place.

    i told Pete all this and he said, “See? i told you so,” and he had; he was right; i knew he would be. My brain knew it. On some level, my heart knew it. My belly didn’t know it yet.

    i’m still processing all this. Thirty-eight years of rootlessness can’t be healed in one weekend. But i’m so grateful to be home with you people. Next year in Franklin.

  16. Jenna Badeker

    So much to process, and I need to take one thought at a time.  Here’s the first of them!

  17. Kyra Hinton


    @mrs-hittle “Thirty-eight years of rootlessness can’t be healed in one weekend. But i’m so grateful to be home with you people. Next year in Franklin.”
    Somehow you summed it all up for me. So thankful for you.

  18. Kyra Hinton


    @matthewcyr I sobbed through your whole comment. It was so cool to “meet” you at the beginning of the weekend, in our mutual conversation with Matt Canlis, and then to see you at the end. You came alive over the weekend, and I can testify to that from observation alone. Thank you, thank you.

  19. Matthew Cyr


    @kyra-Hinton  Thank you, I’m so glad you and your brother were part of the weekend and I got to meet you! Thanks also for making that group art activity happen, it’s been really fun to go on the Spotify playlist and see it again, and know that we all made that together – speaking of which, thank you @kaitlynluce for putting that up, I was getting desperate to find The Arcadian Wild’s “Envy Green”‘ though I couldn’t remember the title.

  20. Mark W. Schelhorn

    A lot of what I seem to do is sigh with a longing fit for an eternal home. I remember at one point walking back to my place at the table and visualized this great feast we are all partakers of and one day will sup together at this table of our King’s with no earthly thing to hinder us. I think back on this past Hutchmoot with joy and a yearning for more of this community. Thank you!

  21. MacKenzie Branch


    Ah, Hutchmoot… I slipped in late and had to leave too early, but got a sip of the beauty you’re all talking about and hope to drink deeply next year if possible. Thank you, all, for sharing.

  22. Maya Joelle


    Someday I will come. Someday I will be there. Andrew, watch out, this major Iggyfeather will bombard you with a million questions, and then tell you how amazing you are, and how soul-thirst-quenching it is to even know you exist. How your songs have changed me forever. How almost every time I listen to one, even if it’s just “Isle of Skye,” I start crying because of how beautiful it is. And Pete and Randall and Sam and Skye and @mrs-hittle and everyone else, I will be there and even if you never know it, I will thank you for the beauty you have shared.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing and someday I will meet you!

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