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About the Growing Edge Partnership

~ For more on what we mean by “The Growing Edge,” see our column at Krista Tippett’s On Being siteCLICK HERE. ~

Carrie Newcomer (2019) & Parker J. Palmer (2017) are both recipients of the SHALEM INSTITUTE’S CONTEMPLATIVE VOICES AWARD.

In Spirituality & Health Magazine, Nov.-Dec., 2018, we were honored to find our names on their list of 10 SPIRITUAL LEADERS FOR THE NEXT TWENTY YEARS who are “responsive to today’s yearnings, forging new pathways, and elevating the conversation.”

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“The collaboration began in 2004, when Carrie asked Parker to write liner notes for her album, Betty’s Diner. Palmer’s books, especially Let Your Life Speak, had become important companions on Newcomer’s spiritual journey, and Parker had found great inspiration in Carrie’s music and journey as an artist. As the two began sharing their creative struggles, they found a deep spiritual and artistic resonance, forging the kind of friendship that comes from a shared vocation. They wrote a song-and-spoken-word stage show called Healing the Heart of Democracy: A Gathering of Spirits for the Common Good, combining the titles of one of Parker’s books and one of Carrie’s signature songs. Next came What We Need Is Here: Hope, Hard Times & the Human Possibility—words suggesting a core belief that animates both: “It’s possible to live ‘in the light’ as long as we do not try to blink the darkness.” Their new project is The Growing Edge, which offers an online and in-person gift of sanctuary for listening to and following one’s true self.” —Meggen Watt Petersen, Spirituality & Health

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Carrie Newcomer

Carrie Newcomer is a performer, recording artist, and educator, described as a “prairie mystic” by the Boston Globe and one who “asks all the right questions” Carrie has 17 nationally released albums on Available Light and Concord/Rounder including The Point of Arrival, The Beautiful Not Yet, A Permeable Life, and The Geography of Light. Newcomer has also released two companion books of poetry and essays, A Permeable Life: Poems & Essays and The Beautiful Not Yet: Poems, Essays & Lyrics. Her song “I Should’ve Known Better” appeared on Nickel Creek’s Grammy award-winning gold-certified album “This Side”, and she earned a regional Emmy for the PBS special “An Evening with Carrie Newcomer.” Carrie is the 2019 recipient of The Shalem Institute’s “Contemplative Voices Award.” Recent media appearances include PBS’s Religion and Ethics and Krista Tippett’s On Being. Newcomer’s first theatrical production, Betty’s Diner: The Musical, recently produced by Purdue University, is now available to interested theaters, universities, and spiritual communities. Newcomer was a cultural ambassador to India and has traveled to Kenya and the Middle East, performing in concert halls, hospitals, schools, and spiritual communities. She has lent her support to organizations focused on social justice, health and hunger services, progressive spirituality, and environmental preservation. She lives in the woods with her husband and two shaggy dogs. For information about Carrie’s touring schedule, CDs, and books, visit her site.


About Parker


Parker Palmer

Parker J. Palmer is a writer, teacher, and activist. Founder and Senior Partner Emeritus of the Center for Courage & Renewal, he has written ten books, including the bestselling Let Your Life Speak, The Courage to Teach, A Hidden WholenessHealing the Heart of Democracy, and On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity and Getting Old. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, and thirteen honorary doctorates. In 1998, The Leadership Project, a national survey of ten thousand educators, named Palmer as one of the thirty “most influential senior leaders” in higher education and one of the ten key “agenda-setters” of the past decade. Since 2002, the Accrediting Commission for Graduate Medical Education has given annual Parker J. Palmer “Courage to Teach” and “Courage to Lead” Awards to directors of exemplary medical residency programs around the U.S.. In 2005, Living the Questions: Essays Inspired by the Work and Life of Parker J. Palmer was published, with essays from practitioners in a wide range of professions. In 2010, Palmer received the William Rainey Harper Award, whose previous recipients include Margaret Mead, Elie Wiesel, and Paolo Freire. In 2011, the Utne Reader named him one of 25 Visionaries on its annual list of “People Who are Changing the World.” In 2017, the Shalem Institute in Washington, D.C., gave him its annual Contemplative Voices Award. Palmer lives with his wife in Madison, Wisconsin, where he also enjoys hanging out with his 28-year-old granddaughter. He regards Madison as “the Berkeley of the Midwest,” and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of northern Minnesota as one of the earth’s “thin places,” a place of “great peace and beauty where you can almost see the connection between the visible and the invisible worlds.”