The Whidbey Institute combines elements of a spiritual retreat
, a conference center
, and a school
on one hundred acres of forest, meadow, and wetlands on the south end of beautiful Whidbey Island
, Washington, an hour north of Seattle
Originally a nineteenth century Finnish farmstead, the Institute was founded in 1993 when new buildings were combined with old to create the Chinook Center, a place meant to engender "a spirit of thoughtful inquiry, contemplation, and renewal… in order to cultivate creative leadership for earth, spirit, and the human future."
An assessment of the enormity of the task at hand can be found on the Institute's website at www.whidbeyinstitute.org:
The integrity of the natural environment has become not one issue among many, but the comprehensive frame for all other issues. Therefore, learning to understand our place within Creation, and to respond in sustainable and just ways, lies at the heart of the Whidbey Institute.
The challenges before us will not yield to technological, economic, and political solutions alone. In our fast paced society, thoughtful dialogue and contemplation are both essential and scarce. The Whidbey Institute provides time and space to nurture a vital spiritual life of depth and substance, restoring our relationship with God--the Holy, the Sacred--the natural world, and each other.
The Human Future:
The future calls for the courage, skills, and commitment that are needed to build healthy institutions, meet the claims of compassion and justice, restore natural systems, and create a positive and sustainable future. The Whidbey Institute assists in developing an understanding of the strategies and practices that are now needed in personal and public life.
Interfaith in its perspective, the Institute embraces life-affirming values and practices from traditional as well as newly emerging sources. The Institute is also linked to a network of collaborating organizations and projects.
The Pacific Northwest--Cascadia-- is one of the most spectacularly beautiful bioregions in North America. At the same time, environmental threats to the forest, water, wildlife, and the natural beauty are especially acute. As Northwest Environment Watch director Alan Durning believes, this area has the potential of becoming a model of sustainable culture.
"The Pacific Northwest is a test case," he writes. "If this place on earth--the greenest part of the richest society in history--can't reconcile people and nature, it probably can't be done."
"The Whidbey Institute is actively engaged in meeting this challenge--addressing the ecological, social and spiritual issues of the region, while maintaining a global perspective and drawing a national audience."
The Chinook Center is also home to The Whidbey Island Waldorf School, perhaps the most efficacious realization of Rudolf Steiner's theory of K-12 education in North America.
Whidbey Institute, P.O. Box 57, Clinton, WA 98236. 360.341.1884
firstname.lastname@example.org * www.whidbeyinstitute.org