SLOW Down Newsletter #5

Go to SLOW Down Information page | Return to SLOW Down Newsletters Index

Let's Go SLOW

An Occasional Newsletter for Members of Alternatives' SLOW Down Network - Volunteers who Represent Alternatives and Voluntary Simplicity:

Issue #5 - Spring/Summer, 2000


You are one of Alternatives' 500+ volunteers! Yes, the network is growing by over 100 per year.

You will receive this newsletter about twice per year to give you updates on the SLOW Down Network. Your comments, questions, concerns and funny stories are welcome. Please save this newsletter in your SLOw Down folder.

Progress Report

IT'S OUT! "Simple Living 101: A Toolbook for Sharing the Joy of Simpler Living through Speeches, Workshops, Events & Study Groups/Simplicity Circles," $10 ready for your binder, or $15 in a binder made of recycled material

Some worthwhile items not printed in "Simple Living 101" are available on our Website at Services: SLOw Down Network: Simple Living 101 Bonus. Updates to the book will be posted on our Website so that you can download them and add them to the book anytime. We do not intend to issue regular updates on paper.

NOTE! When we ask you to make a presentation or when you book one for our benefit, the support materials you need are FREE. (We'll loan you videos and display books which you can return or buy from us wholesale after the event.) Some reviewers thought that we were developing this new resource to sell to our volunteers. You may choose to buy the entire resource, but if you are scheduled to give a speech, we will send you the materials you need for that event.

Here's How to Help

  1. Urge your Christian & Community Access TV channels to air our videos -- "Break Forth into Joy! Beyond a Consumer Lifestyle" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." We'll provide free copies if they agree to preview them. We request that you (or they) return the copies to us. If you get a local TV channel to air it, we're provide support materials for you to promote viewing and follow-up.
  2. Please take the media release "Alternatives Offers Speakers and Support for Simpler Living" to your local editor(s). Get it from us by mail or on our Website anytime under Information: Media Releases: Non-Seasonal. Also, if you do not want to be interviewed when reporters call us, mark that on the SLO Reply.

    When something appears about Alternatives in your area media - print or electronic (TV, radio, cable) - send us a copy or report it to us with a brief description. We can't afford a national "clip service." We need help seeing if our outreach efforts are working.
  3. If you have a presentation or outline that you are willing to share, send a copy. If you have experience forming and/or leading a Simplicity Circle or Study/Accountability Group, mark that on your response form. We're getting requests for help to start such local groups and we'd like to refer people to someone in their area.
  4. In summer many conferences and conventions may include a workshop about Voluntary Simplicity. If you're on a steering committee, suggest such as workshop. We'll send you catalogs and brochures to display at events, even if a workshop is not offered.

    Try scheduling a short series (fewer than 13 sessions) about simplifying Christmas in the fall and about year 'round simpler living in the winter, possibly during Lent.

    We have displays of books too. Please call early to schedule your display materials. The books become committed quickly, particularly in the fall.
  5. Order free copies of the "Whose Birthday" flyer and send them out before Nov. 1 - piggy-back on event mailings, personal correspondence, etc.


Take the initiative. We'll back you up! Thanks again. - Sharene Schwarz, SLOw Down Coordinator, and Gerald Iversen, National Coordinator


Exciting News from SLOW Down Volunteers

Eric Jon Hoffman of Oregon, IL, led eleven "Unplug the Christmas Machine" workshops in Fall, 1999, as well as several in Fall, 1998!


I did a workshop using "Break Forth Into Joy!" yesterday. I expected about 12 people; 33 showed up. Some were standing, some sitting on the floor. Maybe "Simple Living" is becoming an important message. I bought 20 copies of "Whose Birthday" to use as a handout and now need to order more for those who did not receive it. Shalom, MaryLynn Bell, Post, TX


Enclosed is my payment (rounded up) for my order. Thank you for sending it so promptly! I am very pleased to discover your organization. Your mission is a testimony to authenticity and provides the support needed to make responsible changes for simpler living. I embrace this discovery joyously since I have always been an advocate for responsible and mindful living.

"Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed." -Genesis 2:8

As an avid gardener with a strong commitment to stewardship, I am especially pleased to have a copy of "Like a Garden" by Sara Covin Juengst. This author's work exemplifies what lies in the heart of every gardener. We are all connected. A hopeless biophiliac (see page 34 in the book), I cannot deny my true nature. I am committed to the true meaning of Genesis 2:15 and seek to serve as I am called.

Last fall I was provided the opportunity to present a gardening workshop at my church. The response was terrific! We were expecting 8-10 people to attend. What a surprise, when our actual attendance was nearly three times that! What an honor to share with so many dedicated and committed servants. This response has motivated me to continue my personal mission in helping people rediscover our connection with spirit through gardening. I am planning to facilitate a group study using "Like a Garden" as the text and study guide. I am interested in connecting with others who are also interested in the promotion of stewardship. Can you please provide me with information regarding your ASSIST program? My sincerest thanks and appreciation to all of you -- Susan Deaver, Springfield, MO


I want to get the SLOW Down info packet. I'm a public speaker (former radio deejay!) and am available to help spread the message of voluntary simplicity in my community and the area in and surrounding Mecklenburg County (Charlotte metro area). I'm excited about what you are doing and understand the need to connect with others.

I really enjoy the "Whose Birthday" booklet each year, and have used the "Appropriate Christmas Gifts Questionnaire" in my churches each of the past three years. -- Greg Gillispie, a Presbyterian pastor in Charlotte, NC.

[Note: That questionnaire is from "Whose Birthday" 1996. It should be available on our Website Archives by July 1.]


I am a pastor of an American Baptist Church and have recently started taking steps toward voluntary simplicity. I would like to learn more about your organization and possibly be registered as a speaker (public speaking is a frequent habit of mine). I am afraid that I have not fully shaken off all symptoms of "affluenza" yet, but I have a deep conviction that materialism is depriving many Christians of the true abundance available from God. I, as well as many others I know, love God, but seek security in things. --Rev. Reece Bookout, First Baptist Church, Warren, IN


Hi! My husband and I are both speakers (and I am a former seminar/workshop leader). We have been inspired by Doris Jantzen

Longacre's books since they first came out, and would love to become involved in spreading the word about voluntary simplicity. We were

elated to find your organization on the web. Although we have lived extremely simply in the early 1980s ("off the grid" in a solar house in Kentucky doing social justice work), we now live in an "urban village" and practice voluntary simplicity in the midst of Orlando's suburbia and the entertainment/tourism mecca of Disney, etc. We believe many other Floridians must be ready to make changes in their lives, away from the glitz and the emptiness.

Could you please send us a SLO packet? Due to posting an invitation on the internet looking for others in central Florida to meet/discuss simple living, we already received inquiries about speaking elsewhere in Florida. We would consider traveling throughout Florida for our speaking engagements. -- Don and Sarah Martin, Winter Park, FL


I just finished leading the "Unplug the Christmas Machine" workshop at my church and it was great and the feed back was great. Amazing when we all talked to our children about the Christmas celebration and how little gifts were the main interest or memory! We even looked at ways our church can help in this celebration and we initially came up with the idea of no meetings in the month of December. Joy for the coming season! -- Pamela Vogt, Oneonta, NY


For a midweek religious study, ROOTS (Religion On Other Than Sunday) met in three 45-minute sessions. We had a general group meeting and then broke into small group discussion for 30 min. Because this was a church group, I added Scripture readings for each week. - Nancy Meehan Yao, Memorial Presbyterian Church, St. Augustine, Florida.

[For more information on this event, visit www.SimpleLiving.org: Services: SLOw Down Network: "Simple Living 101" Bonus.]


I gave the workshop "Unplug the Christmas Machine" at the Foothills Unitarian Church on two nights, November 8th & 15th from 7:00 to 8:30. I divided the course content, two subjects each over the two nights.

Five people signed up for the class, four women and one man, a husband of one of the women. I had a concern with the length of the first activity but after the class the feedback was that this exercise was very valuable and really gave the participants something to base the rest of the class on. They also felt that they had time over the course of the week to think about their first night. I gave them homework "to make a sign and post it in their home with their most cherished value for Christmas." The second night we did the brainstorming exercise using "what gifts can we give that are not purchased." Everyone liked that and I got good ideas too.

I plan on having this workshop again next year to the new church forming in Loveland, Colorado. I also would like to offer it to the public through our local community college where I teach. I enjoyed giving this workshop and feel it is very worthwhile. Regards, Sally Landes


I am returning the books from the book fair that was at a retreat for Christ Lutheran Church. I decided to place the books also on a sale table that we have during Advent at our church. We also started a family ministry reading group earlier this month, so I saved the items for this as well. We will be placing some in our church library.

Alternatives provides such a wonderful service and I want to express my appreciation for all you do. I have used your materials in different settings at home, at church and as gifts. I probably wouldn't become aware of these items if it weren't for receiving your catalog. Thank you.

I will be sending an order and list of names to add to the mailing list soon. Sincerely, Lois Culler, Fairfax, VA


Thanks so much for all your help. Class #1 went really well, and there are plans to rerun the series in the fall to reach a different group of the congregation as well as a connection to be part of a lecture series at Carnegie Mellon University. The church is willing to purchase a list of resources that I select for the library. Thanks again. Peace, Nicole Carlin, Pittsburgh, PA

FOOTNOTE. Scheduled for 2001 is "Quotes & Art" (working title), a collection of serious, humorous, religious and secular quotations and illustrations on voluntary simplicity, sustainability, social justice and related topics for personal inspiration and for publications. Your contributions are welcome! Contact us for submission guidelines.


SLOw Down Reply

Please mark all preferences of service that apply to you.

___ My SLOw Down code should include:

___ S. I'm willing to be a motivational speaker. Using your support material, I may speak and answer questions, facilitate dialog, and hold conversations at conferences, Sunday morning adult forums, etc.

___ L. I'm willing to be a workshop leader. I may lead single or multi-part workshops on Unplug the Christmas Machine, etc., with activities and audience participation.

___ O. I'm willing to be an event organizer. I may consult with others and help organize events like Alternative Gift Markets, Peace & Justice Fairs, etc.

___ D. I'm willing to be a discussion consultant to help others start and maintain discussion and accountabililty groups/simplicity study circles.

___ YES! Alternatives means enough to me that I want to be a Member.

___ Send me information on ASSIST, Alternatives' support service for simpler living.

___ I have experience forming and/or leading a Simplicity Circle or Study/Accountability Group.

___ I have a presentation/outline that I am willing to share. A copy is enclosed.

___ I do NOT want to be interviewed. (If not marked we may share your name with reporters seeking to speak to someone in their area about simple living.)

___ Send me submission guidelines for "Quotes & Art."


___ Send _____ "Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?" flyers for me to distribute.

(OVER, please)

Comments, requests, questions, concerns, funny stories:


SLOw Down Reply


It's critical that we are able to contact you. Please provide the following information.

Correct any incorrect information on your mailing label.

Name ______________________________________________________________________________

(as it appears on the mailing label. Or return your mailing label. )

Address _________________________________ Denominational preference ________________

City/State/ZIP+4 ___________________________________________________________________

Day phone ______________________________ Evening phone ___________________________

Fax number _____________________________ Email address ___________________________

Go to SLOW Down Information page
20 October 2012 (27 February 2003)

Simple Living Works! * SimpleLivingWorks@Yahoo.com
BLOG: SimpleLivingWorks.WordPress.com | Blog INDEX
VIDEOS: YouTube.com/SimpleLivingWorks
MISSION: Equipping people of faith to challenge consumerism, live justly and celebrate responsibly // An all volunteer educational organization.