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History of Circlewood

In 1989, Tom Sine founded Mustard Seed Associates to assist churches and Christian ​organizations in evaluating how the world is changing and how we need to change to be more effective in the future. In 2004, MSA officially become a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and was led for many years by Christine Sine.


One of the visions of MSA was the development of an innovative retreat and learning center. Tom spent a lot of time in the 1980’s visiting intentional communities around the world. After his first trip to Iona, Scotland he was particularly inspired by the Celtic Christian tradition and their emphasis on a faith that impacted every area of life.  When Tom and Christine were married in 1992, they visited Iona together and she too was inspired by the Celtic way of life.


Tom purchased 40 acres of forested land on Camano Island north of Seattle WA with the intent of building a center that captured some of the spirit of a 6th century Celtic monastery. In 1991, the first guided retreat was held on Camano, a tradition that would be repeated for 20+ years. In 2004, the first Celtic retreat was held on the land. Retreats focused on connecting with one another and the land, and included an altar made of branches, a labyrinth, prayer trails, and an outdoor chapel. ​

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In 2010, plans were made to develop the land into an educational retreat center which would include housing, classroom, and agricultural elements, all grounded in sustainability and rooted in community. In 2014, construction began on a classroom.

In 2017, this work continued under a new leader, James Amadon, and a new name, Circlewood. Circlewood has continued the work on Camano by establishing a 30-year forest stewardship plan, updating the site development plan, and continuing to host retreats and learning events on the land.

Christine and Tom continue to support the work of Circlewood. Check out their work on Godspace.

"Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."


Jesus of Nazareth

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