What is a Hutchmoot, you ask?
Ah…where do I start? How do I describe something so profoundly beautiful and formative? It’s a conference, sure, but it is so much more.
I will, at the very least, attempt to explain.
More than ten years ago, Andrew Peterson had an idea.
A God-given one, I am certain.
After walking the streets of Oxford, England and realizing the beauty that the community of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and friends had created that still, to this day, brings light and beauty to the Church, he felt the need to foster a creative community for the glory of God right here. In Nashville.
Thus, the Rabbit Room was born.
As the online community grew and began to thrive, they began to hold conferences, naming them (of all things!) Hutchmoot.
Hutch: a place where rabbits live
Moot: an Old English word for meeting place.
If you are a part of the Rabbit Room community, “Hutchmoot” is a synonym for home.
I came with my thirteen year old daughter. The creative one. I brought her along for two reasons:
One, she is incredibly artsy and would be the most likely to tolerate the long days and heady conversations because she knows how to keep herself occupied with a sketchbook and pencils. I felt she just might thrive in the safety of a church full of “creatives” and find her people.
Two, I didn’t want to go alone.
Me…This self-proclaimed extrovert who loves conversation and loud laughter had sudden bursts of introverted shivers when I thought of walking into a room of people with more talent in their pinkies than I have in my entire body. I felt like a poser, a wanna-be. I merely wanted to sit in the same space as these gifted ones and listen, hoping to absorb bits of their knowledge and be inspired to cultivate my own.
We arrived Thursday after flying home a day early from our family’s beach vacation. Due to awakening at 5am to make our early flight we were exhausted, but anticipation fueled us as we made the drive to Franklin, Tennesse from our home just twenty minutes down the road. Neither of us knew a soul, so I was grateful that we had one another. Neither of us had any idea what to expect from Hutchmoot, so imagine my joy in realizing that in this place we would find our people and I would leave feeling that I do, in fact, belong.
It will take weeks, maybe even months, to process all that the Lord has done in both of our lives over the course of four beautiful days.
Feasting, music, art, story, laughter, conversation, books, books and more books, and Jesus. Oh, the talk of Jesus, of God the Creator and the reason He gives these good gifts, these insatiable desires to create beauty. Every session, every workshop never failed to circle back to the Gospel. Eyes filled with kindness, words of encouragement to and from complete strangers, hugs and phone numbers exchanged because we just didn’t want this to end…this magic, this feeling, this community.
Hutchmoot is the Bride of Christ at her most beautiful: serving, loving, sacrificing time and talent and leaning in close over steaming cups of coffee to hear, really hear, the stories of God’s people. At Hutchmoot you are told you CAN do this beautiful thing. I now believe God WILL use my writing, that in Him I can finish the book I’ve pecked at for almost two years. I walked away knowing I am fully able to encourage you, my friends, in your walk with Christ and trust that these words of mine each week will get to the eyes of those whom He intends to read them.
And my daughter? At Hutchmoot she blossomed and grew. At Hutchmoot she danced for strangers and came out of her shell to talk the ears off of every adult who would listen and appreciate her art. Every last one of them listened. Not a single person failed to appreciate and encourage her childish boldness. She found her people. Aslan is on the move.
There is a comfort in being pursued, a rest in feeling known. To begin a weekend in a room full of strangers and end it surrounded by familiar and dear faces is miraculous. It is the work of the Holy Spirit and I, for one, am forever changed.
One last thing…as I type these final words the song, “Don’t You Want to Thank Someone” by Andrew Peterson is taking it’s turn on my playlist. And the answer is yes. A resounding yes, I do.
My heart is full. My spirit is grateful.
Until next year, my new, rabbity friends.