Summer in the Forest
$12 General Admission
** Q&A on June 1st with Jennifer Kelly, past director of L’Arche in Seattle, and David Bishop, a core L’Arche member! **
Imagine if instead of being sent to a violent asylum due to society’s “rules” you were brought to an idyllic commune near Paris to live a life that allows for self expression. It was a young philosopher named Jean Vanier who took a stand against such institutions that were labeling those with developmental disabilities as failures in the 1960s and created L’Arche – a place where a community could flourish and people could live how they choose.
Vanier is now in his 80s and still lives and works with those who have Down syndrome and other conditions at L’Arche. Tender and observant, Randall Wright interviews Vanier but also follows many of the residents, allowing them to tell their own stories from war to dating. By observing how they each live, this once radical experiment challenges preconceptions around disabilities and what it means live.
“Summer in the Forest is an extraordinarily tender documentary that asks what it means to be human. Here, even the most gentle scenes raise mighty questions.” – Ken Jaworowski, The New York Times
Jennifer Kelly, member of L’Arche Seattle for 33 years, serving as its Executive Director for eight years and Formation Director for the past 20 years. Jennifer over saw the “L’Arche Signs of Hope Gathering” in Seattle for L’Arche communities in North America in 1996 and was a founding member of the L’Arche Formation program for Executive Directors in North America.
She has worked extensively in retreat ministry, spiritual direction and music ministry, releasing her first album in 2013.
Along with great lessons learned from her friends with an intellectual/developmental disability, she increasingly incorporates into her ministry her love of the arts and graces given through her journey with cancer.
Jennifer works extensively with Ignatian Spirituality and holds a degree in Theology from Seattle University. Most recently, she has been profoundly affected by the experience of working with Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative in bringing Ignatian retreats to prisons. Jennifer is married to the current L’Arche Seattle Executive Director, has a son who just graduated college and is delighted to be in the process of recording her second album.
David Bishop has been a L’Arche core member in Seattle for 23 years. He is considered a leader in our community and cares deeply for his housemates and L’Arche around the world. He presents throughout Seattle at universities and care-giving classes on what it is like to live with what he calls ‘special abilities,’ life in L’Arche, and the teachings of his friend, Jean Vanier. He is also an avid cross country skier and artist.
Jean Vanier founded L’Arche with the vision of creating an intentional faith community in which people with and without disabilities could share life together. In 1964 Jean welcomed Philippe and Raphael from an institution to live in the first true home they ever knew. From its humble beginnings L’Arche has grown into an international network of communities. Today, there are 147 L’Arche communities in 37 countries throughout the world. There are 18 L’Arche communities in the United States, including the Seattle community, which was founded more than 40 years ago.