about

This page is a work in progress as CAHS evolves and continues to become what it's meant to. We'll explore what it is that stirs in us, and what is stirring up in the world; what is leading and guiding us. Here you'll find insights into what makes us tick, and ideas that invite more inquiry. You'll get a peek into who is behind the curtain responding, shaping, and cultivating what we do, how, and why. Coming soon, you'll find links to read more about what we mean by edgewalkers and edges, the way we see the Great Change that is reimagining the human species and defining this epoch. And why the arts, humor and soul intersect as catalysts of change during times of planetary and cultural shifts. 

So pull up a chair and browse! We want to hear from you, and how our vocation and vision might intersect with yours, how your inquiry meets ours. 

vocation

Supporting emergent stories and storytellers, artists and actors, cultural creatives, and spiritual visionaries on the edge of a new world. 

vision

A new world rooted in cultural norms of creativity and compassion, reverence and  relationships, the imaginal and possible.

Image by Mona Eendra

what we value

The innate purpose, wholeness and creativity of every person

The power of soul-infused arts to enrich and expand the heart of people, shine on a light on what has been in shadow, and shape new worlds

De-constructing capitalist culture that says you can't be an artist or a spiritual entrepreneur and make a living.

The ability of humor to build community and shift perspective

Just, equitable, compassionate

relationships based in reverence for all life. 

Oh... and circles and elipses.

“The business of stories is not enchantment. The business of stories is not escape. The business of stories is waking up.”
~ Martin Shaw

meet our staff

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Ted Swartz

Executive Director

Writer, performer, producer, and chaser of goosebumps. He has a lifelong curiosity around what makes us laugh--laughter, the spiritual, delicious social lubricant which proclaims, "you are safe here" He is a river watcher, storyteller of winding and entertaining tales, secret dancer, and keeper of thoroughly specific baseball numbers and facts. Minnie Minoso should be in the baseball hall of fame!

ted toes.jpeg

Ted Swartz

Executive Director

Writer, performer, producer, and chaser of goosebumps. He has a lifelong curiosity around what makes us laugh--laughter, the spiritual, delicious social lubricant which proclaims, "you are safe here" He is a river watcher, storyteller of winding and entertaining tales, secret dancer, and keeper of thoroughly specific baseball numbers and facts. Minnie Minoso should be in the baseball hall of fame!

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Valerie Luna Serrels

Vision Animator

A background in conflict transformation and nature as church, Valerie loves anything to do with the mystical, the inner sciences, the  soul, the imaginal and mythic, and relating with her 60 duck friends, her multitude of glorious grown kids, her beloved cat and hundreds of books. 

She helps steer the ship, works with Ted to identify new projects, implements the vision of CAHS and the soul-related dimension of creativity.

Our Board of Directors

Ted Swartz, Founder/CEO
Ted Swartz, Founder/CEO

Ted is a playwright and actor whose been mucking around in the worlds of the sacred and profane for over 25 years. Ted fell in love with acting and theater on his way to a traditional pastorate. Coupling theater and seminary education, Ted became a theologian of a different sort, combining comedy and creative insight into something new. Ted is the founder and creative director of Ted & Co Theaterworks.

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Alison Casella Brookins, Board Chair
Alison Casella Brookins, Board Chair

Alison is our board chair, a pastor and playwright who is still figuring out what the difference is. As pastor of Chicago Community Mennonite Church she strives to live into a theology of justice, joy, and humor, dreaming of holy spaces where people can tell the truth and engage as their full selves. She mastered divinity at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary. During seminary she interned at Ted & Co TheaterWorks where she wrote We Own This Now, which has toured the U.S. and Canada.

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Bonita Croyle, Board Secretary
Bonita Croyle, Board Secretary

Bonita Croyle is a racial justice educator, facilitator, speaker, and the Founder of The Ebenezer Project, an organization that provides racial justice education and resources to Anabaptist and interfaith organizations and institutions. Bonita graduated from Hesston College and Millersville University. She also holds certificates in Human Rights, Language Justice, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from the US Institute of Diplomacy and Human Rights and the Tucson Language Justice Collective

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Larry Miller, Treasurer
Larry Miller, Treasurer
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Susan Althouse Swartz
Susan Althouse Swartz

Sue had been an educator for 25 years. She serves as Vice President of another local nonprofit board, is deeply involved in church work and helps with leadership on Celtic spiritual pilgrimages. In her free time she loves to walk, read, travel, offer hospitality and play with grandchildren. Sue has been a supporter of Ted’s work in theater arts from the beginning. She is acting treasurer for the CAHS board.

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Anisa Leonard
Anisa Leonard

Anisa is a current MSW student at Columbia University, and is an Eastern Mennonite University alum. She's a lover of good food and gathering around big tables with people she loves. Anisa has lived on a bridge between cultures, as an International Trans Racial Adoptee who grew up moving back and forth between Virginia and East Africa. She sees her presence in a lot of spaces is an act of resistance.

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Saulo Padilla
Saulo Padilla

Saulo Padilla is the national immigration education coordinator for Mennonite Central Committee U.S. He is from Guatemala, an immigrant and the son of a political refugee. He is also a Canadian citizen, an auto-mechanic, musician, traveler, gardener, father and grandfather. He enjoys collaborating with others who look for creative ways to invite others to reconsider beliefs and behavior that are oppressive and damaging.

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Amanda Miller Garber
Amanda Miller Garber

Amanda is a church planter, spiritual pioneer and relentless dreamer. She serves as the Chief Instigator/Founding Pastor at RISE, a young faith community in Harrisonburg, Virginia (riseharrisonburg.com). Throughout the last two decades, she has led in a variety of church cultures and contexts. Urban and rural, large and small, traditional and non-traditional - these settings have enabled her to discern and cultivate the God-given hope and possibility within a variety of people and places.

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Mitch Stutzman
Mitch Stutzman

Mitch Stutzman serves as an Everence® Stewardship Consultant. He is passionate about helping congregations and not-for-profit organizations with their stewardship education and charitable planning needs, and helping individuals create charitable giving plans in line with their faith and values. Before joining Everence, Mitch served in a human resources capacity for a manufacturing company in Hesston, Kansas; as a development officer and resident director for Hesston College.

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The Backstory

Ted Swartz is a man whose life has been shaped by the intersection of theology and theater, humor, and alternative ways of viewing scripture, life, and what it means to be human. He's used his gifts to, in turn, shape that theology and lived experience in communities across North America with his humor, wit, and insight into the human condition. After 30 years of writing, acting, and touring, he began to visit that proverbial 'what's next' question. What's a white straight man in his 60's to give and do with a life of accrued social capital from so many years on the road?  What does one do with one's privilege? 

 

In an age defined by division, othering, and injustice, together with the decline of support for live theater and the arts, Ted began to speak with colleagues and friends about his legacy. The Center for Art, Humor & Soul is a result of following his questions and his heart, to open doors for important, and marginalized, voices to be heard - women, young people, queer, people of color. The Center exists to support the arts, and theater in particular, in a time of cultural unraveling, when the arts are most needed and to empower alternative voices to be heard.

 

Ted learned to make a living as an artist, as a cultural creative, as a believer in the importance of the arts. His new vision will extend the reach of the arts so that any community with the desire to bring a play to their region can do so. It extends the reach for other artists to also have the opportunity to develop their stories and be heard, and not lose their financial livelihood while doing so. 

 

The desire beneath this new venture is to advance lives lived with imagination, as co-creators in an expanding universe. To offer a place of belonging for artists who walk on the edges of norms. As one generation gives way to what is emerging in the next, this company is an incubator for creative work, combining storytelling, theater, laughter, faith, and justice.

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