Activist Council — Spring Gathering 2023

May 7 - 10, 2023

Art used with permission by: Katie Blanchard


Activist Council




May 7-10, 2023

Heartland Center, Kansas City, MO


Join us virtually

There will be one portion of each day Mon – Wed that you can join our gathering virtually. See below for details.


What do we want to spread?

“Where are we right now? What time are we living in?” This is the question Prentis Hemphill asks every guest on their podcast Finding Our Way. 

In the height of the pandemic, the racial uprisings of 2020 and increasing fervor around the election: Sonya Renee Taylor, an author and activist, answered: “We are in a time of infection. A contagious time, where things are spreading, and spreading fast.” 

And then she lifted this potent inquiry:and so the question is: what do we want to spread?”

This is a critical question for us inside a time of collapse, which is to say, a time of great possibility. What do we want to spread? What do we need to grow and tend so that new ways of being can emerge?

The convergence of collapse inside of 2020 is not burning as hot as it was almost three years ago. And yet the embers of the firestorm of the last few years continue to seethe as we find our way toward what comes next. 

The fireweed is a plant that thrives after a burn. Its rhizomes can withstand the heat of a forest fire. And after the fury, in the barren ashen soil, this plant spreads quickly, each single plant containing over 80,000 seeds! The pink flowers create a brilliant spread that stretches over the land that is healing. 

Our call to abolition as praxis for all we do inside of PPF compels us to offer our attention to what we spread, what we build, what we imagine, what we seed. We know that our work is not only to tear down systems of violence and cultures of power-over, but it is also to build up a world that designs itself around interdependence, collective care and power-with. 

For the first time in three years, in the smoldering of this time, the PPF community will gather in person. And when we gather outside Kansas City in May, we will gather around these principles. We will explore our commitment to consensus decision making, learn more about abolition, recommit to organizing for change, and ground all of this in the resilience of relationships and beauty of the land.

We will weave strong roots, provide shelter and care, access resilience, allow for beauty and awe, anticipate transformation, embrace emergence and invite cross pollination. 

We will…be like fireweed. 

Guest Speakers

Rev. Anne Dunlap

Rev. Anne Dunlap (she/her) is the Faith Coordinator for Showing Up for Racial Justice.  Nurtured into faith-rooted organizing in the Central America solidarity movement in the 1980s, she is particularly grateful to the Central American, Black, immigrant, worker, and indigenous leaders who have challenged and taught her to think and act more deeply about what it means to be human, and what it means to be free.  Anne is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and also the founder of FierceRev Remedies, offering herbal consults, workshops, mentorship as well as consulting, teaching, and preaching, all towards the goal of racial justice and collective liberation that’s rooted in healing practice with the land.  She’s currently co-editing a book on congregational organizing, and led the creation of the SURJ-Faith Community Safety for All Congregational Action Toolkit.  She is proud to be from Arkansas, and has lived in a lot of different places which have taught her about the importance of the relationship of place and culture.  Now happy to call Buffalo, NY home, Anne loves life with her beloved and their kitty, herbcrafting, long nature rambles, snuggling baby goats, loving on her people, music, books, and poetry, and building community.



Dr. Reggie Williams

Dr. Reggie Williams is Professor of Christian Ethics at McCormick Theological Seminary. His book Bonhoeffer’s Black Jesus: Harlem Renaissance Theology and an Ethic of Resistance (Baylor University Press, 2014) was selected as a Choice Outstanding Title in 2015, in the field of religion. The book is an analysis of exposure to Harlem Renaissance intellectuals, and worship at Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist on the German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, during his year of post-doctoral study at Union Seminary in New York, 1930-31. Dr. Williams’ research interests include Christological ethics, theological anthropology, Christian social ethics, the Harlem Renaissance, race, politics and black church life. His current book project includes a religious critique of whiteness in the Harlem Renaissance. In addition, he is working on a book analyzing the reception of Bonhoeffer by liberation activists in apartheid South Africa. Dr. Williams received his Ph.D. in Christian ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary in 2011. He earned a Master’s degree in Theology from Fuller in 2006 and a Bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies from Westmont College in 1995. He is a member of the board of directors for the Society for Christian Ethics, as well as the International Dietrich Bonhoeffer Society. He is also a member of the American Academy of Religion and Society for the Study of Black Religion.


**Note: We are intentionally building in long breaks and meal times with some open space for people to find time for building relationships, resting, going on walks and enjoying the beauty of the land around us.


Ticket Prices Include Lodging and Meals. Ticket cost is not tax deductible. Any donations above the ticket price are tax deductible.

There is an option to defer payment on the payment information page. You do not need to pay now if you plan on paying later/sending a check/requesting mutual aid for ticket cost.

Note: There will be options to tune in virtually for a small portion of the gathering. We are prioritizing gathering in person this time, but will ensure that a portion of what we do together can be accessed virtually for those unable to join us. The planning team will publish those details as soon as we know them.

Covid Protocols:

  • Please test before you come.
  • Please wear a mask in transit.
  • We’ll keep an eye on local conditions and check with folks upon arrival about comfort with choice vs. everyone masking, and we ask everyone to be willing to mask if consensus determines.
  • If feeling unwell or you have symptoms please refrain from attending.

DONATE to the Mutual Aid Fund: If you’d like to make a contribution to our mutual aid fund to support the cost of others who are attending the gathering – you can do so here.