A message from Managing Director, Dr. Cole Matson
Dear Friends of Open Window,
This month marks my one-year anniversary of moving to the great state of Minnesota to begin working with Open Window Theatre. It has been an adventurous year! I have greatly enjoyed working with Jeremy and Sarah Stanbary, Erica L.P. Hernandez, Nate Farley, Joy Donley, and all of our cast, crew, and volunteers. The Open Window family is generous, welcoming, and the best kind of “Minnesota nice.”
From taking in my first State Fair, to helping build a new theatre, to watching our musicians and actors rehearse for the Christmas concerts and The World Over, to welcoming you all to opening night in the new theatre and hearing all your stories about how overjoyed you were at Open Window’s return – it has been a year to remember fondly! Even with the temporary closure after only one month due to COVID-19, I have been inspired by how Open Window patrons have stepped up to ensure the theatre’s survival and to care for Open Window staff and their families.
Therefore, it is with both sadness and joy that I announce that I will be leaving Open Window at the end of the month in order to enter religious life.
For the past several years, I have been discerning the foundation of a new religious community dedicated to ministry through the arts and to artists. This spring, a priest friend connected me to a bishop who has agreed to support the first steps of founding such a community in his diocese. He and I agreed that I would visit a number of religious communities to see who might be able to provide initial formation for myself and those who may join me. I have been invited to visit three communities so far to discuss doing a “founder’s novitiate” with them, and will be spending the next few months making these visits. Once the final community is selected, I expect to enter that community for a year or more of religious formation, after which I and anyone joining me will set up a house in the new diocese for use as an artist colony and retreat center.
It would be wonderful to be able to continue to work with the Open Window team, whom I quickly came to love, but now is the time to commit myself to a full-time period of religious formation, which sadly requires taking leave of one’s career and colleagues for a time.
Thankfully, the timing is providential: not having to support two full-time employees allows Open Window to tighten its belt even further, thereby extending the period of time that Open Window can operate without additional assistance. In other good news, we received approval of our Economic Injury Disaster Loan through the Small Business Administration last week, which will allow us to launch Season 7 with a little bit of funding to spare. Therefore, we head into our Survival Season on a stronger financial footing than we could have expected two months ago. We are deeply grateful to our supporters who got us here.
I thank Jeremy and the Open Window Board of Directors for allowing me to serve the mission of redemptive theatre over the past year, and I pray for the continued growth and success of Open Window. Thank you all for your kind hospitality and your toil in the trenches alongside us. Theatre is a team sport, and you are an unusually supportive team. Jeremy will need some additional volunteer help over the coming year, so I hope that, if you are able, you will consider volunteering for the positions described below or connect Jeremy with people you recommend.
Blessings on you all and on Open Window Theatre, and please pray for Jeremy and me as well.
Cole Matson, Ph.D
Click the links below to view or download the job descriptions…
26 replies on “Saying Goodbye”
I never met you, but my heart is full of joy for the beauty of your next step on the journey. Be assured of my good will and prayers.
Thank you for those sentiments, Karen!
That is wonderful, Cole! I’m happy & excited for you as you start the next phase in your vocation. I hope you will keep the Open Window community updated as you form your religious community. I will be keeping you in my prayers.
I will! Thank you for the prayers, Jessica!
Thank you so much, Karen, and thanks to everyone for their joy, kind words, and prayers!:-)
Our family enjoyed working with you, Cole, when we volunteered for activities at OWT. May the Lord bless your work as your embark on this new journey. Blessings from the Rice family.
Thank you, Rice Family!:-) You all were a great help this season!
We have not met but I will send prayers your way as you discern the formation of this new community. The three sisters of Truth, Hope and Beauty are the way we can evangelize to the world today. Having a community in support of artists is inspirational. Please share your plans as they develop. I would love to go on retreat at such a place!
Thank you, Susan! I’ll be keeping Jeremy in the loop and plan to start a blog so people can follow along. Once there’s a place ready to receive retreatants, I will shout it from the mountaintop!:-)
Cole, what a surprise and a wonderful thing, but you will be missed! Open Window will miss you, and I will miss you. Blessings on your path. It sounds like a fantastic ministry!
Thank you, Corinne, and thank you for all your help this year!
Aww, how wonderful that you hear God calling to go wherever He wants your talents. Altho it seems like only moments personally spent with you, my spirit senses it has known you for decades. I will miss your joy and great smile as you spread God’s joy to whatever ends God has in mind for you. I am a believer that “A Stranger is a Friend I haven’t met yet!” God’s richest blessings to you until we meet again, Friend‼️ 🙏👏
Thank you very much, Babs!:-)
Outstanding. It doesn’t surprise me that you are drawn to a religious life which will foster artistic beauty in the service of Christ. Congratulations and God speed to you in this incredibly interesting and enlivening next chapter of your life. You will succeed, as will Open Window Theater. Your unparalleled enthusiasm and beaming, joyful face will be greatly missed. I enjoyed talking with you immensely whilst ushering at a Saturday matinee for The World Over this past February. Pray tell you haven’t forgotten, or at least feign remembrance of our scintillating conversation. I shall remember you and pray for your holiness, daily. You are a gem. All the best, in Christ, always ~ Jill Mraz
Thank you, Jill! OF COURSE I remember you and our conversation!:-) I really appreciate the prayers and kind words. – Cole
Cole, I am blessed to have volunteered for you. I hope that when you are ready you will share more detail of this next chapter in your journey so that we may focus our prayer for you all the more. Godspeed to you!
Thank you, Charlie! Yes, I will be setting up a blog so that people can follow along the journey!
Good wishes. How wonderful to be able to combine your love of the arts with love of God! And being in His Will! Awesome
Thank you, Diane!
Cole- My best to you and my prayers in your next steps! Your joy and your graciousness are what I always think of when I think of you.
Blessings, Cole – You are already missed!
Many thanks, Joe! I definitely will miss the Open Window family!
Wow – what an exciting and momentous path you are heading down. God be with you, StJPII pray for Cole.
Thank you, Brian, and amen!
Thank you for your work with Open Window. Praying God’s blessings on your new ministry opportunity.
Rev. Dave Reynolds
Thank you, Rev. Dave!
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