Report to the Community 2022

With gratitude for all the ways you support, encourage, and enliven the work of The BTS Center, we are pleased to share with you a PDF version of our Report to the Community — our first ever publication like this, at least in recent memory, and a true labor of love. We hope you will take some time to flip through its pages, to scan its colorful images, to read its stories, and to find your place within the ever-expanding community that we are convening.

 

Fostering Imagination: Building the Resilient Church

A Small Church Leadership Community for Northern New England churches

June – November 2022

Congregations are invited to form a team of 4-5 persons and to apply for participation in this program. Application deadline May 23, 2022.

Beginning in spring 2022, and continuing through the fall, The BTS Center will convene a Small Church leadership community comprised of teams from small churches in Northern New England — Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts — with the intention of exploring practices that nurture spiritual and ecological imagination within congregational life. 

Through shared reading and exploration, twice-monthly Zoom gatherings, participation in The BTS Center’s Convocation in early October, and engagement with intentional practices designed to inspire hearts and minds, congregational teams will be guided to stretch their imagination muscles and step into the future with imaginative abundance and deeper resilience.

 

Eco Preacher Workshop

Thursday, May 19, 2022 
12:30 - 3:00 pm (Eastern)

In these times of accelerating climate change and devastating losses, we need spiritual leadership that is strong enough to speak prophetically to the challenges at hand, yet tender and nuanced enough to allow the message to resonate. Those of us who preach regularly, or even occasionally, can feel at a loss as to how to incorporate climate change into our sermons and reflections, complex and painful as these subjects are. And yet, the need for preaching in a climate-changed world is profound. 

Knowing the importance of ecological preaching, The BTS Center is pleased to partner with Rev. Dr. Leah D. Schade and Rabbi Yonatan Neril for an Eco Preacher Workshop in which participants will gain tools to become “EcoPreachers” in their contexts.

Here’s an opportunity to:

  • Discover a new perspective for engaging the Bible that deepens and expands your faith. 
  • Learn how we can proclaim justice for God’s Creation in the face of climate change and other environmental issues.                    
  • Be equipped with the knowledge and tools you need to make your preaching relevant, courageous, and creative.
  • Be inspired to make a difference for our planet, your community, and our future.
 

Lament with Earth

Thursday, June 23 • 7:30-8:30 pm (Eastern) • Online
The Season of Via Positiva, featuring All Beings

“In a healthy environment, our first spiritual moments are moments of awe and wonder, and delight. The mystics call this the Via Positiva. When we allow these gifts to penetrate our souls the organic response includes: gratitude, reverence, and joy.”
Matthew Fox

As days lengthen and temperatures warm, many of us are drawn outside to first-hand experiences of awe and wonder, and delight — the characteristics of creation spirituality's via positiva. Our creatureliness awakens and is enlivened by the blooming, burgeoning, bountiful world. Yet the more we are aware and alive, the more keenly we feel the threats to our fellow beings — the extinction of species, their loss of habitat, and the despoiling of dwelling places by powerful forces which threaten the extraordinarily diverse and resplendent world which we share with all that lives and breathes along with us. Come join us as we celebrate and mourn, awaken and grieve, love and despair. Come to be together, for to share these feelings, thoughts, and sadnesses is the key to moving towards life.  

 

Research Collaborative

The BTS Center Research Collaborative will convene a cross-sector group of leaders from organizations across northern New England to explore the question, “How would organizations act differently today if they embodied an ecological imagination?
We believe that climate devastation is not merely a problem for scientists and activists, but a symptom of the foundational cultural and spiritual structures of our society. If systems like consumer capitalism, industrial modernity, and colonial domination are the root causes of our current crisis,  then every organization has something important to offer in this moment. We are gathering organizational partners who share our hope for a new way of embodying the best version of ourselves in response to our planet’s deep need and who reflect the earth’s wisdom in their day-to-day life and work.
 

Introducing our new LEADERSHIP COMMONS

Welcome to The BTS Center's new Leadership Commons, a space where we are developing new content, and gathering materials adapted from past programs, to help equip faith leaders in the work of guiding communities of spiritual practice through the uncertainties of life on a changing planet. Our Director of Partnerships & Formation, Aram Mitchell, invites you to share your feedback, learnings, and success stories along the way.
 

 

Would you believe me if I told you we were the forerunners a great spiritual renewal? What if I said this renewal would change our global culture at the end of this century? That it will see the emergence of a new mysticism in contrast to technology and a strong social conscience of sustainability and justice. We are at the very beginning of this movement. We will not all live to see its first moments of birth, but we will have the joy of knowing that we were the shoulders on which others stood to make it a reality. History will show that what we did today to lift up an open-minded spirituality, welcoming to all people, made a difference. Our choice to stand together, to advocate for justice, and to heal this planet will be recognized as the breakthrough. Because we did not give up, they excelled. Would you believe me if I told you that?
 
— Bishop Steven Charleston, retired Bishop of the Episcopal
Diocese of Alaska and elder in the Choctaw Nation

 


Announcements

 
  • The BTS Center publishes its 2022 Report to the Community, celebrating a few highlights from the more than thirty different programs we’ve developed and hosted over this past year and looking ahead with hope and anticipation. View the Report here.
  • The BTS Center is pleased to welcome Rev. Ash Temin to its staff team, serving in the role of Communications Manager. Ash has been collaborating with The BTS Center over the past several weeks as a program consultant, assisting with some fall programming, and she officially assumes this new role effective October 25. Learn more …
  • If you attended Convocation 2021, you’ll remember some really sacred moments as our Convocation music leader, Pax Ressler, shared their original song, “The Soil,” commissioned by The BTS Center especially for this year’s Convocation — “We Are God’s Soil: Spiritual Leadership in a Climate-Changed World.”
    Several of you have asked for sheet music, and with special thanks to Pax, now it’s available — and not only sheet music, but a lead sheet, a lyrics sheet, and an mp3 recording — all free for download here.
  • We are delighted to announce the six recipients of From What Is to What If Micro-Grants. Each of these grants will help a community of faith try something new, lay the groundwork for further innovation, and help to fire the imaginations of others. Learn more …
  • Learn more about our Research Collaborative program!
  • Introducing our new LEADERSHIP COMMONS: Welcome to The BTS Center’s new Leadership Commons, a space where we are developing new content, and gathering materials adapted from past programs, to help equip faith leaders in the work of guiding communities of spiritual practice through the uncertainties of life on a changing planet.

Twitter

On March 24th, in collaboration with Maine Council of Churches, we'll host an online screening of the powerful film Truth Tellers, followed by a live Q&A with some of the artists and activists featured. Please join us! For more info and to register: https://thebtscenter.org/truth-tellers-online-film-screening-and-live-qa/

Join us tomorrow for a Fireside Chat with Rabbi Yonatan Neril, Executive Director of the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development. Live on Zoom and Facebook at 12.15pm EST. For more info and to register: https://thebtscenter.org/fireside-chat-with-rabbi-yonatan-neril/

Join us TONIGHT for our third Lament with Earth event in collaboration with @TheManyAreHere, an extraordinary group of liturgists, musicians, and spoken word artists. For more info and to register: https://thebtscenter.org/lament-with-earth/