Upcoming Events

Note: These circles concluded Fall 2012.


Join Uli and Carol Kortsch   …

                …in a Philadelphia “Healing Democracy Action Circle” 

see Healing Democracy Flyer 

 we have finished this original series but if you are interested in more – let us know!

Be a part of a first-of-its-kind opportunity created with the help of our friend and collaborator, writer/activist Courtney E. Martin.

Neighbors, congregants, colleagues, and students are gathering all over the country, once a month for six months, to explore the habits of the heart that Parker Palmer describes in Healing the Heart of Democracy. We’ll provide a free guide to anyone who wants to participate, plus lots of inspiration along the way through Twitter, Facebook, and our blog.

Imagine discussing what it means to “hold tension in a life-giving way,” then taking someone who has totally different views on education reform or environmental issues out to lunch. Imagine discussing what it means to “have personal voice and agency,” then trying your hand at your first ever op-ed piece about an issue in your local community that’s been driving you crazy.

This is intended to be a space apart from the daily debate in our workplaces and small-minded thinking of our 24-7 media; instead, we hope it enlivens everyone involved through provocative questions, fun experiments in citizenry, and renewed communities of people who may disagree about any number of things, but all want our politics to reflect the true dignity of the human spirit.

Sat mornings: coffee at 8:30,

group 9.00-10.30am

March 24,   April 28,    June 2,   Sept 22,   Oct 27, 2012

For more information and signing up : 

 or call 610 304 0547


The Book

“For those of us who want democracy to survive and thrive, the heart is where the work begins—that grounded place in each of us where we can overcome fear, rediscover that we are members of one another, and embrace the conflicts that threaten our unity as openings to new life for us and for our nation.” —From the Prelude

At this critical moment in American life, Parker J. Palmer looks with realism and hope at how to deal with our political tensions for the sake of the common good.

Building on his decades of social activism and inner life exploration, Palmer examines ways to restore the invisible infrastructure of American politics. What he did for educators in The Courage to Teach he does here for citizens by seeking answers to democracy’s dilemmas within us and between us. He points the way to a politics rooted in the commonwealth of creativity and courage still found among “We the People.”

“Democracy,” writes Palmer, “is a non-stop experiment in the strengths and weaknesses of our political institutions, local communities, and the human heart. The experiment is endless, unless we blow up the lab, and the explosives to do the job are found within us. But so also is the heart’s alchemy that can turn suffering into compassion, conflict into community, and tension into energy for creativity amid democracy’s demands.”

Palmer names the “habits of the heart” we need to revitalize our politics and shows how they can be formed in the everyday venues of our lives. He proposes practical, promising ways to hold the tensions of our differences for the sake of restoring a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

The Author

Parker J. Palmer’s writing speaks deeply to people in many walks of life. Author of nine books—including the bestsellers The Courage to TeachLet Your Life Speak, and A Hidden Wholeness—Palmer is the founder of the Center for Courage & Renewal. His work has been recognized with ten honorary doctorates and many national awards, including the 2010 William Rainey Harper Award, previously won by Margaret Mead, Paulo Freire, and Elie Wiesel.

Praise for Healing the Heart of Democracy

“We have been trying to bridge the great divides in this great country for a long time. In this book, Parker J. Palmer urges us to ‘keep on walking, keep on talking’—just as we did in the civil rights movement—until we cross those bridges together.” —Congressman John Lewis, recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom

“…a book born for this moment. Wise, evocative, and pragmatic at its core, this dream for a new politics is grounded in dignity and liberty for all.” —Terry Tempest Williams, author, The Open Space of Democracy

“…the most important manifesto in generations for breaking through the divisiveness that has paralyzed our democracy.” —Bill Shore, founder of Share Our Strength, author, The Imaginations of Unreasonable Men

“…all who harbor concerns about American politics will find in this book a wise and kindred spirit who reminds us of choices we can make to help ‘reweave the tattered fabric of our civic life.’ You will close this book appreciating how much you can do, and how much depends on you.” —Diana Chapman Walsh, President Emerita of Wellesley College

“…breaks new ground in marrying the capacity of the human heart with the tensions inherent in politics [and] breathes new life into what it means to be a citizen—accountable, compassionate, fiercely realistic.”—Peter Block and John McKnight, coauthors, The Abundant Community

…a courageous work that is honest and true, human and humble, glitteringly intelligent and unabashedly hopeful. Palmer gives us constructive language, historical context and a practical vision for how we as individuals and communities can get to the real heart of the matter. —Carrie Newcomer, activist and singer-songwriter, The Geography of Light and Before and After

“…the book we need for recovering the heart—the very core—of our selves and our democracy.” —Krista Tippett, host of American Public Media’s Being, author, Einstein’s God

“…could not be more timely and needed. As one who has been guided through a time of personal reflection with Parker Palmer, I invite you to join in a journey through these chapters.” —Congresswoman Lois Capps, grandmother, mother, nurse, and seeker after democracy