Convocation 2023
Kinship: Re-Weaving the Great Web of Belonging

Online Companions Track

Thursday & Friday, September 28 & 29, 2023

Registration is closed.

As we held our first in-person Convocation in several years, we also wanted to provide opportunities for engagement for those unable to attend due to distance or other factors. With this in mind, created an Online Companions Track, hosted by our friend Peterson Toscano. Peterson is the producer of The BTS Center’s very own podcast, Climate Changed.

This online offering included livestreams of the plenary sessions, as well as exclusive online conversations and opportunities to connect with other members of the online community. We are grateful to those of you who attended our gatherings online, and we were thrilled to have had you as part of Convocation 2023!

A Letter of Invitation from Peterson:

Dear Friends,

I am  thrilled to invite you to an extraordinary experience that promises to ignite your spirit and connect you with a community of like-minded individuals. The BTS Center's Convocation 2023 is not just an event; it's a transformative journey designed to nurture your sense of wonder, gratitude, and hope in a world shaped by the currents of climate change. For those of you who are unable to be with us in person in Maine, we have developed a special online offering of Convocation.

At Convocation 2023, we believe in the power of coming together, even in the virtual realm, to explore profound ideas, engage in meaningful conversations, and tap into the wellspring of our shared interconnectedness. Our online companions offering will weave in livestream of the plenary sessions coupled with exclusive online sessions.

We invite you to join us on Thursday and Friday, September 28 and 29 when I will host and facilitate this special Online Convocation Companion experience. Thursday opens with an online gathering followed by a live-streamed Opening Worship and Plenary Session with Victoria Loorz, co-founder of the Wild Church Network.

Our online exclusive sessions will provide you with the space to delve deep into connection. You will also have access to a Zoom Meetup with myself and Victoria Loorz.

Friday unfolds with more enriching opportunities, including another plenary session with Victoria Loorz as well as a Virtual Forest Bathing experience with Kimberly Knight. The day continues with a Zoom conversation with  Allen Ewing-Merrill and Nicole Diroff (Executive Director and Program Director of The BTS Center) and me —  another opportunity to engage in thought-provoking discussions.

Convocation 2023 is a celebration of legacy, wisdom, and community. For over a century, Bangor Theological Seminary's Convocation has nurtured and inspired  spiritual leadership, and now, The BTS Center continues the tradition. Join us to celebrate our interconnectedness with the past and present as we tackle the pressing issues of today.

The journey begins soon — reserve your spot today and embark on this transformative adventure with us.

With anticipation and warmth,
Peterson Toscano
The BTS Center’s Convocation 2023 Online Companion Coordinator

Online Companions Schedule:

Thursday, September 28 
Note: All times are Eastern

10:15 am • ONLINE: Gathering & Welcome with Peterson Toscano

10:30 am LIVE-STREAM: Opening Worship & Plenary Session with Victoria Loorz

12:00 pm Break

1:00 pm ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Zoom Meetup with Victoria Loorz, hosted by Peterson Toscano

2:00 pm Break

3:30 pm ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: “Hope is Not Optional” discussion with Rev. Dr. Andi Lloyd & Rev. Andy Nagy-Benson

4:30 pm Break

5:30 pm •  LIVE-STREAM: Plenary Session with John Bear Mitchell

7:00 pm Goodnight

Friday, September 29
Note: All times are Eastern

9:00 am LIVE-STREAM: Plenary Session with Victoria Loorz

10:30 am Break

11:00 am ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Remotely Guided Forest Bathing Walk with Kimberly Knight

12:00 pm • Break

1:00 pm ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Zoom Meetup & Ritual Farewell with Allen Ewing-Merrill & Nicole Diroff, hosted by Peterson Toscano

2:00 pm • Farewell

Meet Our Online Host

Peterson Toscano

After spending 17 years and over $30,000 on three continents attempting to “de-gay” himself through conversion therapy, Peterson Toscano came out a quirky queer Quaker concerned with human rights. He asks himself and his audiences unusual questions: Who are the gender outlaws in the Bible? What is a queer response to climate change?  What is the role of comedy when addressing trauma? His film, Transfigurations—Transgressing Gender in the Bible explores the stories of gender non-conforming Bible characters; his Bible scholarship has been featured in The Oxford Handbook of the Bible in America.

Peterson has been featured in People Magazine, The Times of London, the Trya Banks Show, and NPR Morning Edition. In addition to his original performances, Peterson produces multiple podcasts including Citizens Climate RadioBubble&Squeak, and the Bible Bash Podcast. In much of his work, Peterson helps people see climate change from fresh angles while stirring up empathy towards those most affected. Wherever he goes, he brings stories of determination, resiliency, and a cast of comic characters. He lives in Pretoria, South Africa with his husband, Glen Retief.

Learn more at