Lament with Earth

Thursday, December 9 • 7:30-8:30 pm (Eastern) • Online

“We know and feel in our bones that something primal is amiss. Our extended home is being eroded. It is essential that we stop and recognize these losses...to respond with sorrow, outrage and apology at these places touched by so much loss.”
— Francis Weller

So many of us know this truth voiced by Francis Weller. And yet, we have so few opportunities to express our sorrow, fear, sadness and yes, even despair about a future of life in a climate-changed world. It takes courage to touch the places inside ourselves where these truths live — those thoughts and feelings that likely keep many of us up at night, but are too often held inside us, in a space both alone, and lonely.

To create space for these feelings, The BTS Center has teamed up with The Many, an extraordinary group of songwriters, spoken word artists and liturgists to create Lament with Earth — five seasonal events which will include original music, poetry, rituals, images, scripture and videos to reflect different seasons of loss through the liturgical year. These events will be interactive, inviting you to pray and sing along. You are invited to bring your own sense of loss and sadness. We will lament together, and also share that which has been a balm to our grief, strengthening us for the work we know awaits us.  

 

Stories of Grief and Courage

a conversation with Hannah Malcolm & Anupama Ranawana

December 16, 2021 • 4:00-5:15 pm (Eastern) • via Zoom

On Thursday, December 16, we invite you to join us in a conversation with Words for a Dying World: Stories of Grief and Courage from the Global Church editor Hannah Malcolm and contributor Anupama Ranawana. This anthology weaves together a rich tapestry of diverse experience, all focused around the question of how we grapple with ecological grief in a way that is particular to our location and moment.

This event is part of The BTS Center’s ongoing season of programming around ecological grief, which has included a book study of Words for a Dying World during the month of November. All are welcome, regardless of participation in other programs.

We hope you will be part of this vital conversation around ecological grief and its role in our faith communities.

 

Stillpoint

Six sessions on Wednesdays, November 3 - December 8, 2021 
4:30-5:15 pm (Eastern) • via Zoom

We know from experience the power of gathering in small groups, and so we are offering Stillpoint — weekly, facilitated online groups designed to “tune in, and touch in” to the ecological and climate losses we are all experiencing, but not necessarily expressing. What are the losses you need to mourn? What are the tears you need to shed?

We do this so we may have company in our grief, share rituals and practices that help us to move through these feelings — and so rededicate ourselves to the work of planetary healing and health.  

Whether these are familiar feelings for you which you have held inside for lack of a place to express them, or are just becoming aware of these often-unfamiliar emotions, we invite you to join us. We'll be offering these in cohorts of 6 weekly sessions, following on, or leading up, to one of the Lament for Earth events.

 

Words for a Dying World: Book Study Group

Four Mondays in November • 12:45-2:00 pm (Eastern) • Online via Zoom

This November, we invite you to join a reading group using the collection of essays Words for a Dying World: Stories of Grief and Courage from the Global Church, edited by Hannah Malcolm. As part of the BTS Center’s season of programming around ecological grief, we will gather to share responses and conversation around the text as well as ritual and grounding for our grief. 

Over the course of four weekly sessions, we will read and discuss select essays from the book as a way of understanding ecological grief as both local and global, particular and universal. The program is oriented toward spiritual leaders* who are experiencing their own grief and may be seeking resources for their communities. 

We hope to offer a theologically grounded space in which to deeply engage with the spiritual impact of the climate crisis as well as a place in which to begin to name our losses and understand the ways in which we are carrying our grief.

 

Convocation 2021

We Are God's Soil:
Spiritual Leadership in a Climate-Changed World

Occurred on Thursday, September 30 - Friday, October 1, 2021

Over the course of two days, we gathered for online sessions, and we logged off for some intentional, self-guided, offline sessions, returning to digital space for continued learning and reflection. Incorporating music, the arts, and contemplative practice, Convocation 2021 inspired and challenged us to ground our spiritual leadership in the common good and in the sacredness of our planetary home. We enjoyed this blend of online and offline experiences, which weaved together to facilitate learning, nurture respite, and deepen community.
 

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 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.

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As we move into the holiday season, we look forward to two upcoming events: Lament with Earth and Stories of Grief and Courage. We also have exciting opportunities for learning on the horizon, with two unique courses coming in 2022. Read more here: https://conta.cc/3oOtPVL

Join us on Friday, November 19, when Rev. Allen Ewing-Merrill will share a lunchtime Fireside Chat with Victoria Loorz, author of Church of the Wild: How Nature Invites Us into the Sacred. Learn more and register: https://thebtscenter.org/a-fireside-chat-with-victoria-loorz/

Our Executive Director, Allen Ewing-Merrill writes about a special programmatic attention to ecological grief and invites you to participate in one of two online groups that we're offering in Nov., Words for a Dying World: Book Study Group and Stillpoint. https://conta.cc/3BMiomJ