Cahoots Fest 2018 (A Cahoots Retreat)

Our fifth annual festival will be held at Cedar Ridge Camp in McArthur Mills, Ontario., from May 4-6. It will be a Friday noon to Sunday noon event, with guest speakers, workshops, facilitated conversations, DIY, and, of course, a dance party! You can check out our Facebook event for updates.


We are very excited to be partnering with Cedar Ridge Camp, after a long search for the most accessible campsite that shares our values. Cedar Ridge is also home to Camp Micah so it comes highly recommended.

Not sure how you’re getting there? Got an extra seat in our car? Be sure to sign-up on our Carpool site, and go a little easier on the planet.


We are limited to 80 tickets this year, so please book early if you’re joining us.

Our basic ticket costs $150, with a discounted children’s ticket and options for folks with limited income – email cahoots@scmcanada.org to inquire about subsidized tickets!

To register this year use our Google Form (payment can be made by cheque, cash, or by credit card over the phone).

And, as always, we rely on donations and grants to help cover additional costs. Please make a donation via the Student Christian Movement (mentioning Cahoots). Donations are tax-deductible!

Schedule and speakers

The festival will welcome three main speakers who will address our theme this year – leaning into discomfort. To have important conversations implies entering into spaces of discomfort, and we need to know why we’re doing this, and how to do it well.

Our schedule will be oriented around times for worship, contemplation and prayer – with morning gatherings and a Sunday service.

Main Speaker: Leaning Into Discomfort

LeeAnn’s passionate, knowledgeable and deeply scriptural approach to peacemaking and nonviolence came through strongly in her session at the 2017 Cahoots morning gathering time, and we are very grateful that she will be sharing more of her wisdom this year as a keynote speaker, engaging our topic of ‘Leaning into Discomfort’ through the perspective of women’s stories in scripture, and their impact on the life and ministry of Jesus.

LeeAnn is a writer, trainer and facilitator, a musician, a storyteller, a Biblical scholar, and a peacebuilder who serves as Executive Director of Partera International. She has over 25 years of experience working in conflict zones around the world. She is a mother, a granny, and ordained in 2016 as a Baptist minister of peacemaking. She is the owner and operator of Hearth and Hub: Centre for Everyday Peacemaking, a small farm and retreat centre in the Hockley Valley, which she describes as a local echo of the international work of Partera, “midwifing change”.

Main Speaker & Moderated Conversation: Centering Love with Social Justice Movements

Centering love in social justice movements will examine the synergy between love and social justice movements. This session will address the following; How do we hold people accountable with love? How do we address our (un)learning processes around social justice movements? What does it mean to make our social movements accessible to all? Using a feminist intersectional approach, Yami will call on participants to unpack difficult themes within their interpersonal and community based social justice practices.

Yamikani  Msosa is a grassroots feminist anti-violence advocate and support worker. In September 2017 she joined the Ryerson University Office of Sexual Violence Support and Education as a Specialist. Originally from Ottawa by way of Lilongwe, Malawi. She completed her Master’s degree in Women and Gender Studies at Carleton was employed at the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa as the Public Education Coordinator for eight years. Yamikani has been widely interviewed across Canada, including interviews in Macleans Magazine, The Walrus, Chatelaine Magazine, Now Toronto, and CBC National news.

Moderated Conversation: Beyond our Weird Climate

Is it enough to plant a tree and ride a bike to protect the earth? Come explore creative responses to address our ecological crisis and work towards a climate of greater change.

A business sustainability consultant, Eduardo Sasso is a contributor to the renewable economy. In 2015 he co-founded Earthkeepers, an emergent civil-society group in Vancouver aiming to live into a biblical vision of ecology, public love, and climate justice. Eduardo holds degrees in engineering, theology, and sustainability from the University of Costa Rica, Regent College, and the University of British Columbia, respectively, and is soon to publish a book on spiritual ecology.

Moderated Conversation: Ability, Disability & Ableism

What is ableism, how does it affect our lives and perceptions, and how can people with and without disabilities resist it? Participants are invited to contribute to guidelines to make Cahoots more accessible, inclusive and equitable. Explore these ideas with Christina and Esther.

Workshop: Cahoots, Who Are We Anyways?! 🙃

Workshop: Five years of Cahoots – it’s time to take stock. We’ll talk about the philosophies behind Cahoots, some of the history that animates us, and brainstorm reasons why people find the festival useful, so that we can ask – what is next? Keep planning an annual festival? Where, how and with whom? Come with a memory of the festival so far – whether this is your first Cahoots or if you’ve been with us since 2014! Explore these questions with Peter and Kathryn

Workshop: Better Bible Reading for Skeptics and Dogmatists

This workshop will look at the different ways we can approach scripture to get more out of our reading, focusing on investigation and interpretation. We will explore things like helpful questions for investigation, different types of critical thought (historical, feminist, queer), and some uncomfortable bible passages. To bring: your questions, worldview, and (optional) a favourite translation.

Selina Mullin is a queer feminist theologian and seminarian in the United Church of Canada, studying at McGill University. She is also an activist, involved with the Student Christian Movement of Canada, whose passionate about gender-based violence, the environment, Indigenous land-rights, and disability rights. When she’s not yelling at the government she’s playing ukelele or Scrabble. Selina currently lives in Montréal with her spouse, Zack. You can follow her at selinamullin.com.

Workshop: Breaking the Bubble: Building Bridges With Those Not in Our Tribe

Today as algorithms and media contribute to continued polarization it seems that the world is badly in need of face to face, humane and empathetic conversations on a whole range of topics. Jesus asked for his followers to be peacemakers and in this time it seems that peace can be best made by healing the many harsh divisions between people. Here Brad will reflect on his own experiences with this task, its importance, and provide some insight into how to best navigate these essential conversations.

Brad has been a pastor, teacher and conference speaker for over 30 years. He and Mary, his wife of 42 years, have been followers of Christ since the early days of the Jesus movement in 1972.  They raised and homeschooled 7 children and are grandparents to 9 wee ones. They have been missionaries in India and lived extensively in intentional community.  Together in the early 90’s they established an alternative faith community called the Refuge. Since 2008 Brad has kept a blog that explores Celtic and monastic spirituality. He and Mary are presently moving back to the Cambridge area from a homestead in Eastern Ontario.

DIY Workshop: Fairy Houses with Anna Gray and Hannah Lyon (All ages)

This is a workshop full of fairies and gnomes. Come to this workshop to build fairy houses in the woods as well as people who live in them

Hannah and Anna have known each other since before they were born, and both love to build fairy houses and other woodsy things. They are often ridiculous and their conversations don’t always make sense, but they are fun nonetheless.

DIY Workshop: Storytelling with Yarn (All ages)

Debb shares two of her passions – telling stories and creating dolls – as a way to explore scripture and life together. This is an all-ages cooperative workshop that will examine our Leaning Into Discomfort theme side by side with some crafting and conversation. We hope you’ll come away saying ‘I didn’t think of it that way before…’

Deborah Suddard is a preacher and author, storyteller and doll maker. She has recently published the novel ‘Broken for You’ and is completing her MA. Debb is a Community Guider with the Girl Guides of Canada, a regular speaker in United and Anglican congregations, and a creative and innovative storyteller who engaged scripture and its context to share a fuller picture of Biblical societies and culture.

DIY Workshop: Silkscreen Your own Cahoots Apparel (All ages)

Once again we will be offering folks the opportunity to make their own Cahoots apparel. Bring a shirt, skirt, bed sheet, knickers, etc, and adorn it with the lovely Cahoots design. If you have a Cahoots shirt that you made last year and no longer want, bring it along to give it to some else.  Please be prepared to drop $1/item in a jar to cover costs.

Corky loves to make beautiful messes with others and to bring new life to old things.

Outdoor Session: Survival (All ages)

Kid’s Workshop: Kids and kids-at-heart play the classic camp-wide game, Survival. Carnivores chasing herbivores, herbivores searching for food and water, and everyone hiding from the hunter in an hour of energy, strategy and interdependence. Debrief about what strategy means in the context of social justice, and what sacrifice means in the context of Jesus, for all those interested. Bring your running shoes and your wild heart to join Jonathon for this awesome session.

Outdoor Session: Skills Comp (All Ages

Kid’s Workshop: Kids and kids-at-heart compete in three different games that require agility, quietness and camouflage respectively. The point is there’s something everyone is good at and everyone can feel good using their bodies as best they can. Same for social justice. Everyone has something to contribute.

Jonathon has a thousand years of experience working with kids and just as much love.




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