The Porch Gathering builds a better world through telling better stories. We gather around art and activism - those who desire to heal our personal and cultural wounds as a diverse community, laugh and cry around the “campfire experience” of transformative storytelling, and gain tools for constructive, respectful, and thoughtful dialogue across boundaries.

We're opening a space for significant ideas of grounded hope, individual and communal purpose, provocative and meaningful storytelling, and - frankly - enjoying life together. We truly believe that we are here not just to save the world, but to be changed.

Our work is forged in real suffering, conflict, and trauma - as individuals and in the societies in which we were born and raised. What we seek to offer is not a panacea or quick fix, but deeply rooted in the history of transformative storytelling, authentic spirituality, and courageous creativity for the common good.

Our vision is that the Porch Gathering would be a place where a couple hundred people could come together to take life seriously without taking ourselves too seriously; meet brilliant people from all kinds of places; and better understand ourselves, our place in the world, what we can do for the good, and the ways in which we can authentically give ourselves a break.

The third Porch Gathering runs from Thursday evening March 6th through Saturday evening morning March 9th, 2025 (the program ends on Saturday night, with breakfast available on Sunday morning for those staying over**) with a range of storytelling, music, breakout sessions, talks, movies, and opportunities for quiet or just connecting with friends old and new. We'll have a dozen or more speakers/musicians/facilitators distinguished in their fields, and lots of options for engaging a better story and way of being, including deepening a sense of community together, and practical tools for the journey of living with courage and creativity.

It's not a typical conference - more like an informal festival-meets-retreat, where conversations on the sidelines matter as much as anything that happens on a stage. The times are showing us that we need each other - and we need truer and more helpful stories to guide us beyond cultures of domination and polarization, hopelessness, and constant activity. The Porch Gathering is a place to find those stories, and to meet people who will share the journey.
Location
Montreat, near Asheville, NC
Date & Time
March 6 - 9, 2025
For a flavor of what we do, here's the 2024 Porch Gathering Schedule. Information on the 2025 Gathering will appear here in the coming months, and registration will open soon.

Of course the schedule is subject to change, but whatever unfolds for us on the weekend itself, the purpose is to convene a transformative storytelling (and story-learning) gathering who can find some fuel for the journey of living into a vision of creativity, courage, and community. We hope you'll join us.

*Please note - to find your way around the site at Montreat, go to www.montreat.org, click on RESOURCES and then Montreat Map
THURSDAY MARCH 7TH.
5.30pm-6.30pm
DINNER* 


*While you do not have to eat on site at the Porch Gathering, meals are available at Montreat Conference Center; all meals from Thursday dinner through Sunday breakfast are provided for around $100 total. This meal package must be booked separately in advance of the Gathering - details are linked here.
THURSDAY MARCH 7TH
7-9.30pm
Opening Night: Transformative Story Party - at UPPER ANDERSON, MONTREAT
For over seven years The Porch has hosted a regular storytelling night delving into community, creativity, and the common good. Tonight we're pulling out all the stops, with some of our favorite storytellers and music, and a deep dive into the way stories shape our lives, as Brian Ammons gives a keynote address on Transformative Storytelling as Vocation

A meaningful beginning to a weekend embodying a vision for Transformative Storytelling and how it can relate to current events in the world, our communities, and ourselves.
FRIDAY MARCH 8TH
7.30-8.30Am
BREAKFAST
FRIDAY MARCH 8TH
9-10.15Am
MORNING SESSION #1 - UPPER ANDERSON
James Alison in Conversation with Gareth Higgins
James Alison is a Catholic theologian, priest and author. His principal claim to fame is as one of those who has done most to bring the work of the great French thinker René Girard to a wider public. In addition, he is known for his firm but patient insistence on truthfulness in matters gay as an ordinary part of basic Christianity, and for his pastoral outreach in the same sphere. For texts, books, and videos by James see www.jamesalison.com

Gareth Higgins is an Irish writer and storyteller, co-founder of The Porch, and a number of festivals. He has been thinking about peace building, courage, creativity and community for as long as he can remember.

FRIDAY MARCH 8TH
10.45 - 12Pm
Morning Session #2
Take a walk, hang out, or participate in a profound exploration with wise friends, choosing between the following:

1: Kaitlin Curtice (via Zoom) - Becoming a Caring Resistor - UPPER ANDERSON
What does it mean to be a caring resistor? In this session, Kaitlin Curtice will share on this topic through three lenses: caring for ourselves, caring for one another, and caring for Mother Earth. Based on wisdom from her book Living Resistance, Kaitlin will share ways to stay tethered to sacredness in the world and within yourself.

Kaitlin B. Curtice is an award-winning author, poet-storyteller, and public speaker. As an enrolled citizen of the Potawatomi Nation, she writes on the intersections of spirituality and identity and how that shifts throughout our lives.

2: Michelle LeBaron - The Artistry of Conflict - THOMPSON-BROWN
Come to this session and explore with kindreds how creative modes can enhance our capacities to work with conflict. These questions provide a starting point:
* Where does conflict dance/move within me?
* Which creative modes are a part of my repertoire when conflict happens?
We will then journey through somatic, expressive experiences to learn more of our inner geographies and build artful resources for working with interpersonal and intergroup conflict.
This workshop is led by Professor Michelle LeBaron, an internationally-recognized scholar/practitioner on conflict transformation, arts, and resilience. Her current work is on conflict across religious and worldview differences, and the role of arts in collective memory and reconciliation. Professor LeBaron’s books include Changing Our Worlds: Art as Transformative Practice (2018); The Choreography of Resolution: Conflict, Movement and Neuroscience (2013), Conflict Across Cultures (2006); and Bridging Cultural Conflict (2003).


3: Ted Lyddon Hatten - An Ornitheology - Bird to Bird - WALKUP
Few things can compare to the hold that birds have over human beings.
From our ancestral cave paintings 30,000 years ago, to breakfast this morning,
birds run through every aspect of the human story. They can be found wherever
you look, particularly in those places where we find and make meaning.
With Ornitheology, artist Ted Lyddon Hatten takes a theopoetic look at birds
and the stories they bring with them. Bird to Bird is a global art installation that
uses haptic and visual art to establish and animate connections across the world and across the room. His stories are told with intent - to aid the healing of the world, to re-stitch that which has been torn asunder.

His contemplative art serves an invitation to plumb the depths of thought,
feeling, and the passage of time. The stories he tells some from the world around us: birds, trees, wood, and from the worlds within us: the human need for belonging, justice, hope, peace, love, beauty.

His interest in the salvific power of beauty has lead him to work with a wide
variety of materials, including: myrrh, coffee grounds, tea leaves, frass,
gunpowder, sand, wax, glass, and wood.
Ted Lyddon Hatten is an artist, theologian, and educator in Des Moines, Iowa, who works in ephemeral installation art, dry painting, and beeswax.

4: Open session - Suggest your own session and we'll help you find folks who would like to join you

12pM-1PM
LUNCH 
FRIDAY MARCH 8TH
1pm-2.15pm
Afternoon Session #1
Take a walk (or a nap!), hang out, or participate in a profound exploration with wise friends, choosing between the following:

1: Julia Robinson Moore & Billy Price - UPPER ANDERSON
For the past decade, Julia has been researching and uncovering the truth of burial grounds for enslaved people in churches and communities across her home city of Charlotte, NC. Now, she’s building communities committed to racial justice and reconciliation—truth-telling and healing. She’ll be interviewed about this work by Billy Price, and they will preview a documentary they are making together.

Julia is an ordained Presbyterian minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) and an Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at UNC Charlotte. She teaches courses in African American religion religions of the African Diaspora and racial violence in America. She is the author of "Race, Religion, and the Pulpit: Reverend Robert L. Bradby and the Making of Urban Detroit”. In getting to know Julia, you discover that along with her kind spirit, there is a flame burning for truth-telling and a heart beating for forgiveness and healing.

William Price, III is a storyteller with an eye—and an ache—for transcendence. In his award-winning work as a writer, director, producer, and actor, William pulls viewers toward the brutal tension of life—beauty and suffering, terror and mercy. William’s collaborations possess these darkly hopeful undercurrents while revealing a notable artistic malleability: he’s created alongside Grammy-winning artists, healthcare companies, non-profits, start-ups, and social justice movements. The tensions emanating from William’s work spark from his own filmmaking journey: learning his craft as a trade instead of through higher ed, he began in the early 2000s as a PA and grip on sets, seeking and working and growing, and is now a working actor, sought-after screenwriter, and Addy Award-winning director. As a cancer survivor and father of two, William’s personal life has also been marked by the specter of suffering and healing. Follow William’s path towards meaning-making and hope at @williampriceiii and @_929film.

2: Dan Snyder - How (if) we pray: Exploring the hidden stories that shape spirituality - THOMPSON-BROWN
From Dan: “You must know you are in a story, and you must know the story you are in.” This comment from one of my clinical supervisors when I was in training some thirty years ago has stuck with me ever since I first heard it. I learned to listen for the metaphors of everyday speech, especially as they shape religious ideas and spiritual practices. Not only depth psychology, but also my studies in theology, and strategic nonviolence, have shaped my own approach to spirituality. I call it Nonviolence for the Soul: More than a moral commitment, nonviolence is a strategic map for change. Let’s see how nonviolent strategies can also map inner transformation. If you attended last year’s session, no worries. This year will not just be a repeat, but a deepening exploration into how we can take nonviolence into our inner lives. If you did not attend last year’s session, again, no worries. We will review the core models of strategic nonviolence, look at how they illumine both theology and psychology, and then we will work with some applications in how we do our inner work. There will be opportunities for discussion as well as exercises to work with in the session and at home.

Daniel O. Snyder, PhD is a Quaker, a spiritual director, and a pastoral psychotherapist with a background in Jungian and family systems therapies. He is the author of Praying in the Dark: Spirituality, Nonviolence, and the Emerging World (Cascade, 2022), a book that brings together the four disciplines of theology, depth psychology, strategic nonviolence, and spirituality. The resulting conversation points toward a reimagining of God, self, and world.


3: James Navé - Writing From the Imaginative Storm to the Creative Form: For memoirists, storytellers, poets,  journalists, and curious sojourners. WALKUP
James Navé is a poet, storyteller, manuscript consultant, and producer. He founded The Imaginative Storm Writing Project, designed to help writers at all levels build their confidence, free their thinking, and produce quick, tangible results that surprise and delight their readers. He holds an MFA in writing from Vermont College. He is an advisory board member of LEAF Global Arts, TEDx Asheville, and WPVMFM-Asheville. His latest work, 100 Days: A Poetic Memoir After Cancer, was published by 3: A Taos Press in May 2023. 


4: Open session - Suggest your own session and we'll help you find folks who would like to join you
FRIDAY MARCH 8TH
2.30pm-3.45pm
Afternoon Session #2

Take a walk (or a nap!), hang out, or participate in a profound exploration with wise friends, choosing between the following:


1: James Alison - Finding Sanity - UPPER ANDERSON
James Alison on finding sanity amidst the bombardment of insane stories - so many people in the US are so afraid precisely because they see the mimetic war playing out at so many levels of society, but they don’t know how to “unlock” from the story that leaves them feeling powerless or overwhelmed with compassion or dangerous empathy.  Join this conversation about how to live well and truthfully, without denying suffering on one hand, or the possibility of redemption on the other. 

2: Christine Ruth - The Heroine's Journey - THOMPSON-BROWN
Many of us are familiar with Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, but feel called to far more than serving as mere “temptresses” or “helpers” on the stereotypical male quest. Join ordained pastor and therapist, Christine Ruth, LMFT, as she hosts a discussion on the 10 Stages of the Heroine’s Journey. Discover your own stage in your personal narrative, the obstacles arrayed against you, and the tasks you must face to move forward. Whether your meeting ogres, fighting dragons, or healing the mother/daughter split, your epic quest awaits!

Christine Ruth, M.Div., MS, LMFT is an ordained pastor, a grief counselor, and licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT). She founded Princeton Family Counseling Center in Princeton, New Jersey and the Podcast, “The Soul Enchilada.” Christine has twenty-one years of ministry and counseling experience facilitating retreats, grief workshops, and conducting individual and marriage therapy. She is a program assistant for Internal Family Systems, a therapeutic approach to trauma.

Christine’s passion centers around counseling, writing, teaching, Jungian psychology, and spiritual growth. She loves providing safe spaces for people to wrestle with doubt, struggle, and questions of faith. Christine also loves good coffee, blues and jazz music, world travel, musical theater, camping, and as a Wisconsin native- can never get enough cheese.

3: MOVIES & MEANING: BULLS AND SAINTS - AT WHITE HORSE BLACK MOUNTAIN, 105 MONTREAT ROAD (TWO MILES FROM MONTREAT - LEAVE GOOD TIME TO GET TO WHITE HORSE)

After 20 years of living in the United States, an undocumented family decides to return home. Little do they know it will be the most difficult journey of their lives. Set between the backdrop of the rodeo rings of North Carolina and the spellbinding Mexican hometown they long for, Bulls and Saints is a love story of reverse migration, rebellion, and redemption. Director Rodrigo Dorfman will moderate a conversation on the complicated ethics of non-extractive, community centered storytelling.

With director Rodrigo Dorfman in person - please note this special session will go from 2.30pm-4pm, and take place at White Horse Black Mountain - 105 Montreat Road; a five minute drive or 45 minute walk from Montreat Conference Center



4: Open session - Suggest your own session and we'll help you find folks who would like to join you

FRIDAY MARCH 8TH
5.30-6.30pm
DINNER 
FRIDAY MARCH 8TH
7pm
YOU ARE HERE - a transformative story in many parts, told by Gareth Higgins - at White Horse Black Mountain
Porch co-founder Gareth Higgins presents a work-in-progress story, never previously performed in public. Please note the venue is White Horse Black Mountain, 105 Montreat Road; two miles from Montreat - please leave adequate time to arrive, park, and get settled for what we intend to be an evening of entertainment, substance, creativity, courage, and community.
saturday MARCH 9TH
7.30-8.30am
BREAKFAST
saturday MARCH 9TH
9am - 10AM
Morning Session #1: Porch Circles

Porch Circles are small gatherings that help us learn more of the story we're telling, connect with others committed to the common good, and get clearer about who we are and what we're here for. We're offering this opportunity during the Porch Gathering to experience a Porch Circle, which you can take home with you too. Circles will take place in Upper Anderson, Walkup Building, and Thompson-Brown Meeting room - just choose which one you wish to attend.
saturday MARCH 9TH 10.30-11.45am
Morning Session #2
Take a walk (or a nap!), hang out, or participate in a profound exploration with wise friends, choosing between the following:

1: Melvin Bray - Practicing Equity: Three Lessons, Two Myths - UPPER ANDERSON
There are lots of things equity problem-solver Melvin Bray has learned as he has guided leaders and their teams on Truth & Transformation journeys in pursuit of equity in all its various forms (i.e., racial equity, gender equity, queer equity, etc). Many of those lessons will be front and center as we move toward the 2024 US election. Perhaps some of them can help you navigate the so-called "War on Woke". Discover structural reasons why some communities find it harder than others to practice more equitable ways of being in the world.
Melvin Bray (melvinbray.com) is an Emmy® award-winning storyteller, author, and social entrepreneur who lives with his wife, three kids and two dogs in southwest Atlanta, GA. He actively participates in vanguard networks seeking more beautiful, more just, more virtue-filled ways of showing up in the world.


2: Becca Perry-Hill - “Why do we live?” and other minor questions kids ask: Exploring spirituality and parenting (or grandparenting) - THOMPSON-BROWN
Practicing spirituality brings a sense of meaningful connection and purpose, but many of us are not raising our children in a traditional religious community. We might wonder how to bring spirituality into our parenting (or grandparenting) and nurture spirituality in our children. In this gathering, we will provide a space to tell stories about our spiritual journeys as people and parents (or grandparents). Topics will include our spiritual origins, answering our children's big spiritual questions, and incorporating spiritual practices into family life. Parenting can be lonely if we do not feel like we are a part of a community. This session aims for us to move into a place of greater connection, humor, and grace.

Becca Perry-Hill, PhD is a Project Leader with Lumunos, a small nonprofit focused on helping people live fuller, more authentic lives as they align their life choices and relationships with their sacred values. Her academic background is in Environmental Social Science, but her passion lies with connecting people through opportunities to share their honest stories. She is mom to two spiritually curious kids – Maya (7) and Max (almost 4).


3: Shan Overton - Creating the Cedar Commons: Writing Haiku and Haibun to Tune In, Slow Down, Get Quiet, and Pay Attention - WALKUP
Are you interested in working with creative writing to cultivate slowness, attentiveness, interiority, and community? This writing workshop begins with a short period of meditation and the writing of haiku to bring us together into a quiet and spacious place. We will then practice writing haibun in response to our own or others' haiku. Along the way, we will hear haiku and haibun (prose and poetry) from the Eastern and Western masters of the form and share our writings with each other. The purpose of these practices and our time together is to create a multi-layered common space that connects us like the roots of cedar trees beneath the ground -- and simultaneously encourages the growth and flourishing of each person's particular creative endeavors, whatever they may be.

Shan Overton is a writing teacher, gardener, birdwatcher, contemplative, practical theologian, and academic dean. Her writing focuses on spirituality, the arts, nature, theological imagination, and creating a new world together. She hails from the cedar glades of Middle Tennessee and is the host of The Cedar Commons, a space of being and becoming.


4: Open session - Elizabeth McCain - Healing With Heart and Humor for LGBTQ+ Community Storytelling (Allies are Welcome!) - CHAPEL AT WILLIAM BLACK LODGE - THE BUILDING IMMEDIATELY TO THE LEFT OF ASSEMBLY INN

Listen to or share a challenging and/or humorous story from the pandemic or another difficult time in your life. We can also discuss ways to rebuild community, deepen friendships, and decrease loneliness and depression.

Facilitated by Rev. Elizabeth McCain, Storyteller/Spiritual Counselor/Interfaith Minister

 
saturday MARCH 9TH 12PM-1PM
LUNCH 
saturday MARCH 9TH 1-2.15PM
AFTERNOON SESSION #2
1: David LaMotte - You Are Changing the World, Whether You Like It or Not - UPPER ANDERSON
David LaMotte challenges some deeply held, though seldom examined, ideas about how large societal changes happen and what our own roles in those changes can and should be.

Drawing on stories from his own work and interviews with others in Guatemala, India, South Africa, Australia, Palestine, Bosnia, and the United States, LaMotte methodically challenges narratives that keep us immobile in the face of problems that confront communities, nations, and the world. You Are Changing The World is challenging, encouraging and inspiring - David looks at questions of daily vocation, helping us discern both our potential to have an impact and how to get started. Anyone who wants to live a life that matters will find a meaningful, potentially world-changing lesson.


2: Jasmin Pittman - Co-Creation & The Art of Surrender - THOMSPON-BROWN
A time of poetry, writing, and exploring the ways trust can help us inhabit a posture of hope. No writing experience necessary, all are welcome!

Jasmin Pittman is a writer, editor, and an MFA graduate of Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia. You can find her long-form essays featured in The Bitter Southerner and Meeting At The Table: African-American Women Write On Race, Culture and Community (DownSouth Press, 2020). She's also served as an organizer for the Movies and Meaning film festival, the Wild Goose Festival, and The Porch Storytelling Events. Jasmin is passionate about the power of storytelling and the imagination. When she’s not surrounded by words, she’s probably getting lost in the woods around her home in western North Carolina.

3: Jenna Lindbo - Walking with Song: Pop-Up Choir - WALKUP
Let’s take a beat to get out of our heads and into our bodies, the incredible vessels, noise makers, and instrumentswe are. Singing isn’t just for “singers.” Take a deep breath and let yourself play. Everyone is warmly welcome, so c’mon c’mon. Join the chorus and sing your heart out in community! When we bring our voices together in song and participate in music making as a collective, we gift ourselves and one another the healing joy of sound, connection, and expression. In this spirit-filled circle, Jenna Lindbo will lead songs you can learn with ease and carry with you ~ musical mantras, rounds, and songs to walk with. (No sheet music or prior experience required) Join the first ever pop-up choir at The Porch, infuse your weekend with life-giving music, and experience the transformative power of singing in community.

Jenna Lindbo (she/her) is a singer-songwriter, facilitator, and dog-lover based in Asheville, NC. She served as Minister of Music for many years at Land of the Sky UCC and enjoys leading workshops and retreats to encourage the creative process, playful exploration, courageous expression, and the power of presence.


4: Open Session - Karen Moore on The Power of Yes - WILLIAM BLACK LODGE CHAPEL (BUILDING IMMEDIATELY TO THE LEFT OF ASSEMBLY INN)
“I don’t know how or when exactly it happened it somewhere along the way I simply said yes, and that has made all the difference” - Dag Hammarskjöld, Markings. Join spiritual director and deep friend of The Porch, Karen Moore, for a conversation about the Power of Yes. Is it true that our lives are determined by the things we say yes to? This is an opportunity for a conversation about where we have said yes to something that changed our lives. The power of yes.

saturday MARCH 9TH 2.30-3.45PM
AFTERNOON SESSION #2
1: Micky ScottBey Jones - Stories We Feel - THOMPSON-BROWN
As much as we like to think of ourselves as rational beings, our internal stories and outward actions are driven by how we long to feel in our bodies. When we get stuck in stories that don’t work, we make choices that don’t work either. In this session, we’ll bravely look at these internal stories and reimagine them In ways that honor our feelings and explore new possibilities for action. Please come prepared to reflect, discuss in small groups and journal.

Micky used to be a birth doula, and is now known as The Justice Doula. She now accompanies people as they birth non-human, precious things into the world - like love, empathy, self-compassion, liberation, healing and resilience. Her work is about accompaniment - being a caring companion, a witness to your struggle, a curious co-learner, a gentle, firm voice asking you what you want and reminding you of the wisdom you have inside and the resources you have for more growth and resilience.


2: Brian Volck - The Gift of Pain? - Silence, Beauty, and the Transformation of Suffering - UPPER ANDERSON
According to Richard Rohr, “If we do not find a way to transform our suffering, we will almost certainly transmit it.” Bidden or unbidden, suffering comes to all, disrupting lives, loves, and vocations. Whether we transform or transmit that suffering depends on our response. After a brief consideration of the complex relationship between silence and suffering, we will look at six exemplars from the visual arts, poetry, and music who transformed suffering into beauty. Drawing on their witness, we will explore how we might do the same with the suffering in our own lives.

Brian Volck is a pediatrician and writer who lives in Baltimore. He is the author of a poetry collection, Flesh Becomes Word, and a memoir, Attending Others: A Doctor’s Education in Bodies and Words.


3: Lucinda Isaacs - Finding Your Muse: Dispatches from the Wilderness Road - WALKUP
How do strangers continue to walk alongside us and shape the stories we tell? In this workshop, we will turn strangers into friends and muses who will appear in the epigraphs and dedications of the stories we tell about ourselves. Lucinda will tell a few stories about strangers she’ll probably never meet again, yet to whom she dedicates her own work. We will reflect on a song and craft a new muse for each of us selected from people we will never likely meet again.

Lucinda Isaacs is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA). She is writing a memoir on gender and spirituality. She is currently a member of a cohort studying Creative Writing & Public Theology at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and a member of the Order of the Rocking Chair. She is curious about belonging and belovedness.


4: Open Session - A Conversation on Intentional Community, with Sheridan Hill - WILLIAM BLACK LODGE CHAPEL (BUILDING IMMEDIATELY TO THE LEFT OF ASSEMBLY INN)
What kind of shared agreements work and don't work in an intentional community?
What experiences have you had regarding conflict in intentional community?
Can intentional community work without people having to spend an inordinate number of hours in meetings?
saturday MARCH 9TH 4.15pm-5pm
IRELAND RETREAT INFORMATION SESSION
The Porch hosts transformative story retreats in Ireland every year, an immersion in culture, landscape, creativity and learning from people involved in peace-building. If you're interested in participating a future retreat,  Brian Ammons and Gareth Higgins invite you to a conversation about what we do, how we do it, and how you can join us. (And you can find more details of this year's retreats at www.irelandretreats.com.) THOMPSON-BROWN
saturday MARCH 9TH 5.30pm-6.30pm
DINNER 
saturday MARCH 9TH 7PM
A CLOSING NIGHT OF FUN AND IMAGINATION - AT WHITE HORSE BLACK MOUNTAIN, 105 MONTREAT ROAD (TWO MILES FROM MONTREAT)
Music, comedy, a storytelling manifesto, and a dance party to close the Gathering!

Improv comedy from beloved local troupe Reasonably Priced Babies, fantastic Celtic trad music from Megan Drollinger, Charles Furtado, and Duncan Hardee, and a DJ set from DJ5, all woven around the first public presentation of The Porch's Manifesto for Transformative Storytelling.

REASONABLY PRICED BABIES is Asheville's premiere improv comedy group consisting of Tom Chalmers, Mondy Carter, Karen Stobbe, Kim Richardson and Josh Batenhorst. This is how it works: RPBs will ask you, the audience, for suggestions and then they make that come to technicolor life. Get ready to be a part of the experience because this show will push the envelope of ridiculous fun!

MEGAN DROLLINGER, CHARLES FURTADO & DUNCAN HARDEE
Megan Drollinger began her musical journey at the age of four, studying the Suzuki method on violin at a private music school in Iowa and learning fiddle tunes by ear from her father. Over the years she’s explored many different genres, but most recently has dove deeper into the world of Irish music. She performs in several ensembles around the Asheville area, including Emigré, Stonehen and Appalachian String Duo.

Charles Furtado grew up on the coast of NC studying dance and participating in band throughout school. After marching and competing in Drum Corps International, he found a love for hand drums at the Asheville percussion festival. Charles continues to study and perform locally with a number of ensembles while enjoying the mountains of WNC with his wife and young son.

Duncan Hardee began playing harmonica at age 5, often accompanying his father playing country blues and "dawg" jazz. After three decades of stylistic exploration from Bebop to Brit Pop, this Raleigh native became inspired by the rolling melodies and high winds of Celtic music. Now returning to his ancestral roots, Duncan brings his emotive voice and energetic rhythmic delivery on Tenor Banjo and Bouzouki to the Mountains of WNC.


DJ5, aka Bill Buchanan, started making a big noise in the music scene in the Asheville area in 2023. He has DJed for breweries, wedding receptions, pool parties, youth groups, New Years Eve parties, and silent discos. You may have seen him at the RailYard or the White Horse in Black Mountain, Montreat Conference Center, or Rabbit Rabbit in Asheville. His music helps people of all ages loosen up, dance, laugh, and connect.
All kinds of music belong on DJ5's dance floor, but his sweet spot is a mix of soul, blues, pop, EDM, and hip hop, specially suited to each event.


sunday MARCH 10TH 7.30am-8.30AM
BREAKFAST - see you next time!
Location, Accommodation, Meals & Registration
The Porch Gathering takes place at Montreat Conference Center and the White Horse in Black Mountain, near Asheville, NC.

Here's a map of Montreat and information about the White Horse in Black Mountain (2.6 miles from Montreat).

The closest airport is Asheville (AVL), about a 40 minute drive to Montreat. Flights are often cheaper to Charlotte (CLT), a 2 hour drive, or Greenville-Spartanburg (GSP), just over a 90 minute drive. We encourage carpooling/ridesharing where possible.

Please note that advance registration is necessary to attend the gathering, and participant numbers are intentionally limited to create a possibility of more meaningful community - register now to guarantee your place. And because life is unpredictable, if you register in advance and are unable to attend, you can transfer your registration to a friend at no additional cost, although we cannot offer refunds. Accommodation and meals are not included in registration and must be booked separately (and of course you are welcome to commute to the gathering or eat elsewhere). 

Onsite accommodation at Montreat Conference Center and William Black Lodge is currently sold out; but nearby accommodation (a few minutes' walk) is available at South Carolina Inn at Montreat. Click here for information. Other local accommodation is also available - click here for information on local hotels and other accommodation.

Please note that meals will be served at Montreat Conference Center and are available to those staying elsewhere; these must be booked separately. Links to reserve housing and meals will be sent on registration for the Gathering.

The town of Black Mountain has several good food options as well - click here for more information.

If you're not staying onsite and want to have meals with other participants in the Gathering, you can book a commuter meal package. Details of how to book meal and accommodation packages will be provided on registration.

We want to make the Gathering widely accessible, so have set the registration at $279 - much lower than many comparable events; if you can afford to pay more, please do so: we will use any such contributions to offer partial scholarships to folks who aren't currently able to afford the registration fee. And if the $279 registration fee is beyond your reach for now, please get in touch to discuss scholarships and payment plans - we'll be glad to help.
2024 Speakers
The Porch Gathering convenes a vibrant assortment of people committed to creativity, community, and the common good. We're delighted to introduce you to our friends who will help provoke and inspire our conversations this weekend - storytellers, activists, writers, teachers, musicians, leaders and people like you. 
Micky ScottBey Jones
www.mickyscottbeyjones.com
Lucinda Isaacs
www.lucindaisaacs.com
Ted Lyddon Hatten
www.tedlyddonhatten.com
Diana, Princess of Themyscira**
**may not be able to appear in person due to saving the world commitments
 Join us in March for a beautiful weekend of connection with what matters most
We look forward to hosting you!

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