Why Gather?

What might happen because we gather? This was our first provocation, and remains our future discovery. With no agenda other than to enjoy one another’s company, we resolved in 2016 to gather and see, believing that community nourishes invention and worthy fruit.

It’s not unusual in the Gathering these days for any of us to feel like family, in a healthy sort of way. And now you’re invited into the family, warmly welcome to join the conversation. Who knows what might occur because you gather at this table?

Groups launch by accident or on purpose. I’m not sure it matters. Here’s a few* that inspire me, and may pique your curiosity about gathering with us…


Les Mardistes (the Tuesday Group) of Stéphane Mallarmé (1880 – 1897) embraced writers like Oscar Wilde, André Gide, and W.B. Yeats, along with painters like Monet, Renoir, Degas, and Whistler. Rodin came too. Debussy named Stéphane Mallarmé as his inspiration for The Afternoon of a Faun. Imagine.

“Auguste Rodin would pop in from time to time. Claude Monet said very good things about the snacks. Yes, these were the days when legends walked the earth but they did not yet realize they were legends.”(Roy Williams)

The Harlem Renaissance (1910-1935) featured a Black cultural mecca gathering in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Paul Robeson, Josephine Baker and so many more made for meaning in the meeting, spawning a golden age in African American culture. Imagine.

Josephine Baker remembered. Moving to France in 1925, she recreated the power of Harlem, meeting regularly in the salon gatherings of Gertrude Stein with such artists as Picasso, Hemingway, Matisse, Fitzgerald and Dali who sang her praises. None of them was yet famous.

The Inklings (1932-1949) were a group of thirteen curious people who met regularly at The Eagle and Child Pub in Oxford. Each of them left their mark on the world, further up and further in. C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Hugo Dyson, Charles Williams and more. Imagine.

“Properly speaking the Inklings was neither a club nor a literary society…there were no rules, officers, agendas, or formal elections.”(Warren Lewis, of the Inklings, and Clive’s brother.)


Consider – the women and men above did not get together because they were exceptional. They accomplished exceptional things because they got together.

According to Douglas Holt in the Harvard Business Review, such gatherings “…require a distinctive mode of organization—what sociologists call an “art world.”  In art worlds – artists work together, learn from one another, play-off ideas, and push one another. The collective efforts of participants in these ‘scenes’ often generate major creative breakthroughs…” (HBR, March 2016 – pp 40-48, 50)

That said, in the Gathering we are people who love art, but even more, we seek to grow as people-helpers. Here you’ll find sociologists, theologians, economists, ethicists, entrepreneurs, psychotherapists, pastors, public health practitioners, business professionals, educators and more. We are wildly various in heritage, gender identity, melanin, and interest. We share profound passion for people whom the world ignores. So we’ll share ideas on how to grow our capacity to empathize with one another, on why racism persists, about specific policies that would increase human well-being, and much more.

If pressed, we might call the Gathering a “helping world.” So our rationale was written, and loosely held…

“To know, sharpen, and enjoy other agents of grace and change in Baltimore and beyond, while being open to the serendipitous opportunities of what may occur because we gather…” (rcb – 2016)

So join us and bring only your curiosity and a desire to engage. Once more, you are warmly welcome.


*If the above groups fascinate you, look also for the Algonquin Round Table (1919-1927) in Times Square, the Bloomsbury Group (1905-1937) in West London, the Black Arts Movement in many American cities in the 1960’s, the Wall of Respect in Chicago (1967), and be inspired. Correspond with us and add your own favorites!