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Stories of our connected and rapidly changing region.


Exchange Program Brings Indonesia Closer To New England

It takes over a day to fly from the Berkshires in western Massachusetts to Indonesia. With than 250-million inhabitants, Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s most populous nation; it’s also the world’s largest Muslim country. Its nearly 20-thousand tropical islands are home to beaches, mountains, rainforests, and bustling metropolises like Jakarta. Indonesia’s islands may be half a world away from the Berkshire hills. But an Indonesian-born filmmaker living in Berkshire County is finding ways to bring her native home and her adopted home closer together.

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How Norman Rockwell’s Relationship With Erik Erikson Influenced His Work

Norman Rockwell's portrait of Erik Erikson. It is currently on display at the Norman Rockwell Museum. Photo by Lily Tyson for NEXT

In 1953 American illustrator Norman Rockwell moved from Arlington, Vermont, to the small town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, on the Western edge of the Berkshires. While there, Rockwell developed a relationship with a prominent psychotherapist who came to influence the artist’s work. Their relationship is the subject of a new exhibit at the Norman Rockwell Museum: “Inspired: Norman Rockwell and Erik Erikson.” 

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Wild Churches Bring Religion Outside

A service at the Church of the Woods in New Hampshire. Photo by James Napoli

In early June, twenty-five pastors and spiritual leaders from across the U.S. and Canada gathered at a retreat center in Wisconsin for the first meeting of the Wild Churches Network. The members of this new alliance span denominations from Mennonite to Catholic, but are united in their mission to bring Christian practice together with environmental stewardship. The founder of this eco-theological movement, Reverend Stephen Blackmer, has a congregation in Canterbury, New Hampshire.

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Bridgeport, Connecticut Students Meditate On Actions

As part of the Come and Learn Mindfulness program at Curiale School in Bridgeport, yoga instructor Shinda DeRosa sits cross-legged with her students, encouraging them to place their hands over their hearts and meditate about their loved ones. Photo by Christian Carter for WSHU.

If a student gets in trouble at the Curiale School in Bridgeport, the person they would have to answer to is Eric Sigman, the vice principal who handles disciplinary action. In April Sigman introduced Come and Learn Mindfulness, or CALM, program, a meditation and yoga curriculum. He created it to change the school’s standard disciplinary model that involved sending students to his office if they misbehave.

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