Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The purpose of this thesis is to explore how three festivals function together to meet the Mission Statement goals of Holden Village, an isolated Lutheran renewal center located in the Cascade mountains in Washington State. The Holden Village Mission Statement states that Holden Village is organized to provide a community for healing, renewal, and refreshment of people through worship, intercession, study, humor, work, recreation, and conversation in a climate of mutual acceptance under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The purpose of this community is to participate in the renewal for the church and the world by proclaiming the gospel of God's unconditional love in Jesus Christ; rehabilitating and equipping people for ministry in the world; lifting up a vision of God's kingdom of peace, justice, and wholeness; and celebrating the unity and the diversity of the church, all humanity, and all creation. (Lutz 1987:16-7) This ethnographic study provides an initial history of Holden from the days it operated as a copper mine, explains how Holden became a Lutheran renewal center, and explores the different ways the current villagers incorporate the Mission Statement into their everyday lives. After establishing the historical, cultural, and spatial context of Holden Village, I then analyze three festivals in detail vis-a-vis the Holden Village Mission Statement. To gain a better understanding of the function of these three festivals, and to place them within a broader context, I also provide a detailed description of the daily, weekly, and calendrical events at Holden. The three festivals analyzed in this thesis are the Fourth of July, Jubilee! Day, and Sun Over Buckskin Day. In my analysis of these three festivals, I rely on my role as a participant/observer in these festivals, journal entries written throughout my various volunteer experiences at Holden, letters I wrote to family and friends, recollections sparked by photographs, conversations with Holden friends and acquaintances, as well as relevant printed sources. The conclusions drawn from my fieldwork indicate that each of these three festivals contribute in some way to meeting the goals of the Holden Village Mission Statement. After my analysis of the three festivals, I briefly discuss some of the issues and concerns which have occurred at Holden during times of community stress and how the village has responded. My conclusions indicate that despite the problems which can arise at Holden, people leave Holden with a sense of renewal. This sense of renewal is facilitated by the daily, weekly, and calendrical events and festivals at Holden, all of which provide the villagers with the opportunity to celebrate themselves as members of a community.


Folklore | Religion | Social and Cultural Anthropology