Over twenty five years ago, our founder David Frechter was inspired to create something utterly new: the original Spirit Journeys, a spiritual travel and retreat company serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people and friends. Together, he and his partner David Stewart began leading spiritual retreats to the greatest sacred sites and natural wonders of the world, gathering to themselves a handful of devoted spiritual practitioners and teachers, committed to the highest standards of group facilitation and cultural respect. Over the years, Spirit Journeys grew, partnering with medicine people and monks in many different traditions, offering dozens of retreats and journeys in the U.S. and abroad, and nurturing dozens of LGBTQ facilitators and teachers, who have since gone on to share their gifts worldwide.
The original Spirit Journeys had become, over the years, far more than a company; it had become a community, committed to helping LGBTQ people come out, come alive, and come home, reclaiming and integrating the holiness of our lives and our loving. Eight years ago, our founder stepped back from Spirit journeys to dive more deeply into his own spiritual practice, and long-time Spirit Journeyer Howard Holben stepped forward as our visionkeeper, renewing our commitment to community building, service, and mutual empowerment. In 2015, he laid down that role and a new Spirit Journeys was born under the care and direction of our new director. lead facilitator and vision keeper, Hunter Flournoy: Spirit Journeys Webinars, Retreats, and Journeys with Hunter and Friends!
Our community has changed dramatically in the last two and a half decades; LGBTQ people are more accepted in many parts of the US and abroad (even in spiritual communities!), and are steadily gaining equal rights in many areas. We are less partitioned into separate communities than we were, and we have learned to appreciate both our diversity and our common ground. It is no longer a radical statement to say that we have intrinsic value as human beings, that our loving is holy, and that our gifts are deeply needed by the world.
Our larger world has changed dramatically as well; when the original Spirit Journeys was founded, spiritual practice was a path for LGBTQ people to reclaim the basic goodness of our lives, our loving, our sexuality and our souls. In the first decade of this millennium, it became a luxury. In the last five years, spiritual practice and retreats have become a luxury no longer; it is as necessary as the air we breathe. It is our greatest ally in cultivating the strength, peace, joy, and interdependency we need to thrive amidst the rapid changes we are experiencing in our world, and the connections we forge between us are the lifelines we count on when we need them most. The new Spirit Journeys is committed sharing this practice.