Hutchmoot 2018: Re-entry


Let us now collectively exhale.

If you’ve taken three or four spontaneous naps since this weekend, please know you’re not alone. I write from North Wind Manor after our weekly staff meeting—I believe all our eyelids are a little heavier than they were a week ago, but our hearts are full to overflowing.

The Gray Havens shared some delightful brand new songs with us, one of which involved us finding out that Dave Radford can shred the trumpet. We joined in celebration of our beloved Ben Shive, who was awarded the first ever Resonator Award. Andrew Peterson led us in singing of Christ’s resurrection. The Tokens Show taught us about the sacraments and their role in daily life. John Cal blew our minds repeatedly, both with his delicious food and his profound stories. Andy Crouch delivered a stirring call for artists to forgive and love the church. Dave Trout introduced us to amazing new music (he’s very good at that!). Stephen Trafton truly brought Paul’s letter to the Ephesians to life, reciting it not only from memory, but from the deepest resonances of his heart.

I love to pay attention to themes that arise of their own accord, from sessions and songs and stories. This year I picked up a lot of discussion around “immortality projects” and the ways that we humans try to outlive ourselves and make our marks on the world—bringing these coping mechanisms to light in dialogue with the gospel and what it has to say about death.

Did you pick up on that as well? What else did you pick up on?

Now is the time to share your stories. There are already several blog posts about this year’s Hutchmoot going around Facebook—please link to them here in the comments! We would love to hear from you about your experience of this weekend, what made an impact, and where you sensed renewal of life throughout our time together.

So comment away, and thank you to everyone who came and who prayed for those who came. It was such a gift to be with you.

Photo by Mark Geil


  1. gllen

    I was blessed to be at Hutchmoot 2014 – but not this year. Instead, this year I was blessed to remember you all in prayer. (Thank you Drew for yours, and Douglas’ words to begin a purposeful gathering. I was not there in person, but my heart sure was! I am so thankful for the Rabbit Room and the impact it continues to have on my life in Christ. I pray you all were very blessed, encouraged, strengthened, and comforted – and “re-envisioned” for the journey ahead. Christ is worthy!

  2. Jeanine Joyner


    I can’t tell you how many sentences I deleted in the attempt to describe all that God did in me and my daughter this weekend. It was unforgettable and I am forever changed. I am sitting in the fellowship hall of CCC while she takes her band classes and we both wanted to cry as we entered the church. Just so much beauty that we now desperately miss and long to recreate in our everyday lives. But I guess that is the point, right? We now have much to share and countless souls need to hear the great message that He is Worthy through the gifts our loving Creator has given us! Thank you, Rabbit Room, for your faithfulness to do this hard work for the Glory of God. Only eternity will reveal the impact this has had on the Kingdom.
    And here is my blog post:)

  3. Bethany K. Warner


    I absolutely heard the “immortality projects” idea, but in conjunction with how our art is really a gift and a service to our reader/listener/whomever. Combined, these were a powerful message for me over these past four days.

  4. Missy Kamps

    When my husband and I walked away from Hutchmoot this year we were spiritually, socially and creatively filled to the brim. Threads were winding their way through all of my moments, particularly that God’s true beauty is seen especially through weakness, pain, suffering, and loss.
    We arrived home yesterday, leaving our hotel at 3 am. I had scheduled a meeting with one of our child’s teachers at school for as soon as we returned. Worn out as we were, I did not expect to hear Andy’s words calling me to “forgive” so soon upon re-entry. I was sitting in a 5-year-old sized chair while my daughter’s teacher was elevated on her adult-sized chair, when word after thoughtless word kept coming out of her mouth. This was a pain from a different type of institution than he was referring to, but the pain was the same. The Lords call to me through Mr. Crouch and through Andrew on the night before were the words of “forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness.” Through the weakness of myself in this moment, of the teacher, and the weakness of my daughter, I saw an opportunity for God’s beauty to radiate. Douglas McKelvey shared that “weakness is part of a divine plan.” I saw a glimmer of his sentiment yesterday.
    One of the beauties of Hutchmoot is that it speaks to us not just in our big moments and our great dreams, but speaks even more in this daily walking out of our faith.

  5. April Pickle


    Years ago, when I first heard Andrew Peterson’s “The Queen of Iowa” on the album entitled “The Far Country,” I thought it was a made-up song about how grace can ride on the sound of music and open the hearts of a people afflicted by an American culture that had lost its creativity.
    “I met the Queen of Iowa. She was dying on a couch in the suburbs.”
    I figured those suburbs had ‘bout killed her. She was dying, she was blind, but “she opened her eyes when she heard the music play.”
    I was wrong, though. “The Queen of Iowa” wasn’t made up, and it wasn’t about the culture.
    She’s real. The Queen of Iowa is real.

    She was pretty as a flower in a crystal vase
    It lights up the room as it withers away
    And she opened her eyes
    When she heard the music play
    We sang a hymn to the rhythm of the river that flows
    Down from the mountain of the Holy Ghost
    And into the souls
    Of those who know His name
    Like the Queen of Iowa
    She was the Queen of Iowa

    At Hutchmoot a few years back, Andrew and Jonathan Rogers gave a talk called “Writing Close to the Earth.” Jonathan said that while Christians like to describe God with words like omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, God doesn’t refer to himself that way. God calls himself a rock.
    In that moment, I realized how detached from the earth my life had been, how detached from the earth the churches I attended had been.
    After all, the gospel is about the attachment of the Creator to his creation. Jesus died on a cross that was set into the earth, for heavens sake — for earth’s sake, actually — for our sake.
    I later learned that the Queen of Iowa’s name is Jody, that she suffered from AIDS, from brain tumors, from constant pain and discomfort. Andy Gullahorn sings about her in “Resurrection.”

    Jody is a queen reigning prone upon a couch
For the past few years of numbered days
Because the virus in her body and the cancer in her brain
Are buying up the real estate
The medicine they give her trades nightmares for her dreams
Of memories too tragic to describe
    Oh, but I believe
    Though it’s hard sometimes
    You are the resurrection and the life

    Over the years, Andrew sometimes has requested prayer for Jody and for her husband. Thursday night at Hutchmoot, Andrew said Jody wasn’t dying on the couch anymore. She wasn’t reigning on the couch, either. She wasn’t on the couch at all.
    She had been out for dinner with her husband, with Andrew and his wife, Jamie.
    Her tumors are gone.
    In her own body, she is giving us the best kind of art, a foreshadowing of our own deaths and resurrections, an image of what was and is and is to come.
    Thank God for the Queen of Iowa.
    Long Live the Queen of Iowa.

  6. Greg D


    This was my first Hutchmoot and I am still processing and gathering thoughts from everything that occurred and the feelings that were brought to the surface. As I work through those, I did ponder how I would describe what Hutchmoot is. I wondered what is my 90 second elevator pitch. In my attempt, I came up with the following to be fleshed out at the soonest opportunity on the blog.
    Hutchmoot is a gathering of people who hope to learn and study at the feet of their creative idols, but in the end are welcomed to their table and encouraged to behold, hear and hold on to the wisdom of The Creator.

  7. Hannah Holman

    It feels like camp. You’re scared and nervous the first night, wondering why you came and thinking this is going to be no fun at all. Then you start making friends, start enjoying yourself, you forget about social awkwardness and just revel in the beauty and fun. There are shared meals (and if you are a redshirt, lots of dishes to wash afterwards!). There’s even a campfire! By the last day, you can’t believe you haven’t known these lovely people for years. And you want to remain friends for years to come. Also there are books.

  8. Matthew Cyr


    I’ve resisted any temptation to blog up till now, but I wasn’t sure of pasting something too long directly into the comments section. So, here’s this. It may be a one-shot, or maybe I’ll find something to add to it.
    To all of you that I got to meet or renew friendships with this year, the time I got to spend with you was a delight and much too brief. Four days is far too short a time to spend among such excellent and admirable hobbits. For those I failed to connect with before we had to disperse, know that I’m very fond of you if even we haven’t yet met. I look forward to knowing you, whether at Hutchmoot 2019 or, as the song says, in the New Jerusalem.
    Maybe Next Year!

  9. Hannah M.


    Life is a funny thing. And by funny, I mean terribly tragic and unspeakably lovely within the span of a few breaths. For me, right now at least, these breaths come at the beginning of October every year. By mid-September the world is bright, the colors vibrant, but it is harsh to my eyes. Everything is just a little less beautiful—a little less enticing. Dread settles in my subconscious. I hate the beginning of October. The first few weeks, well, the whole month of October in general, of 2016 was one of the most traumatizing of my life. But four days, October 7-10, haunt me. It’s a long story to hear it in its fullness, but at its core, someone very, very dear to me died. And I was alone on the other side of the world as it happened over four excruciating days. I hate the beginning of October.

    But in the span of a few breaths, four days in October make the world more right. For just a few moments I live and breathe among people who see my haunting and love the beauty of its breaking, just as I do. They grieve with me and I with them, for everyone has hauntings of their own. It is four days of community in the purest sense that I know. Truths are shared. Breakings are seen and loved and wept over. Music is made. Stories are told. Meals are rejoiced in. People are seen and known and loved. Beauty, both its golden light and dark shadows, is dwelt in joyfully. We live the lives we have longed for, and in doing so we glimpse, however murky through the haze, our lives that are to come. I love the beginning of October.

    Life is funny that way. It’s a swirl of glory and shattering so intertwined you can’t begin to comprehend one without the other. This is why I long for this time I dread. These days of glory remind me that beauty is not something sent to redeem my sorrows, but something found in them. And these days of my devastation remind me that there is an un-laden beauty to come—a beauty that washes over my scars, chasing away the shadows of my lingering grief until Lovely is all I see. But that is yet to come.

    Maybe that’s why it’s right, these days of glory and haunting being so indistinguishably woven. They allow me to glimpse, ever so feebly, eternity—the groaning beauty that was and is, and the redemption that will be. They induce an ineffable longing for the rightness I have but faintly tasted in the few breaths before these early October days are again gone. It is a glorious beauty to live in this dichotomy of dread and longing—to know how un-right things are and to have glimpsed how right they might be. This is October. This is Hutchmoot. This is living in a viciously broken world being made tenderly new. This—is living.

  10. Rachel Donahue


    I’m a little late to the party here, but I just wanted to say how very thankful I am for all of you who make Hutchmoot what it is. I have returned home with renewed energy and perspective for both my work of homemaking and caring for the needs of my family, and for my craft of writing. In this season of discovering (and re-discovering) gifts, I’ve been given timely reminders that it is in embracing my weaknesses, not my strengths, that invites others to the gospel. And yet, I have also been encouraged to work hard at my craft, to exercise my strengths toward excellence for the glory of God. I have witnessed again the value of true humility, and I’ve been reminded what it means to be hospitable to others, even down to the way that I write. I have been thoroughly challenged and encouraged, and I came home ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work on the things that are set before me. When the doubts and insecurities creep back in, I keep bringing my thoughts back to that audience of One. Thank you for pointing me His direction again and again.

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