We welcomed you to join Rev. Allen Ewing-Merrill, Executive Director of The BTS Center, for a lunchtime “Let’s Talk!” conversation with Rev. Dr. Andi Lloyd and Rev. Andy Nagy-Benson, authors of Letters from the EcoTone: Ecology, Theology, and Climate Change.
During the pandemic, Rev. Dr. Andi Lloyd — then a student at Yale Divinity School and formerly an ecologist, scholar of climate change, and Middlebury College professor and administrator — and her pastor, Rev. Andy Nagy-Benson, took pen to paper and wrote letters back and forth, exploring the realities of climate change from the perspectives of ecology and Christian theology.
Their letters, collected in the form of this newly published book, Letters from the EcoTone: Ecology, Theology, and Climate Change, invite the reader into an open-hearted dialogue at the intersection of science and religion, offering a shared vision of flourishing life on earth.
Environmentalist Bill McKibben writes, “This is a special book. It models how serious, thoughtful, and real people talk about the earth in its time of crisis and also about Christianity. Neither are easy topics, and here both mesh into something very powerful, very moving, and very real.”
As The BTS Center seeks to cultivate and nurture spiritual leadership for a climate-changed world, we enjoyed this conversation with Rev. Andy Nagy-Benson and Rev. Dr. Andi Lloyd — an opportunity to explore themes like friendship, grief, fear, courage, interdependence, justice, despair, hope, and the common good.
View the conversation below, recorded on June 1, 2023.
Rev. Dr. Andrea (Andi) Lloyd is pastor of the Trinitarian Congregational Parish of Castine, Maine, United Church of Christ. She received an M. Div. from Yale Divinity School in 2022. Prior to her career in ministry, Andi was an ecologist. She received a PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Arizona in 1996, and went on to serve as a professor of biology at Middlebury College from 1996 until 2020. She served as the Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Middlebury from 2012 through June 2019. In her work as an ecologist, she studied the effects of climate change on forests in Alaska and Siberia; taught classes on plant ecology, evolution, and climate change; and authored/co-authored more than 30 articles and book chapters on climate change. Along with Rev. Andy Nagy-Benson, she is the author of Letters to the Ecotone: Ecology, Theology, and Climate Change (Resource Publications, 2022).
Rev. Andy Nagy-Benson is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A graduate of Colby College and Yale Divinity School, Andy has served congregations in New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Vermont. He was a lecturer of homiletics at Yale Divinity School, and has recently co-taught courses at Middlebury College. Andy is the senior pastor of The Congregational Church of Middlebury (UCC) in Middlebury, VT, and an affiliate chaplain at Middlebury College. He is the co-founder and president of Table 21, a nonprofit that has issued nearly $1 million in grants to Addison County (VT) farms, restaurants, and small businesses since 2021. He is currently a Doctor of Ministry student in the Creative Writing and Public Theology cohort at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Andy and his family live in Weybridge, Vermont. Along with Rev. Dr. Andi Lloyd, he is the author of Letters to the Ecotone: Ecology, Theology, and Climate Change (Resource Publications, 2022).
Rev. Dr. Allen Ewing-Merrill (he/him) serves as Executive Director of The BTS Center, a private operating foundation in Portland, Maine, building on the legacy of the former Bangor Theological Seminary. Ordained in the Methodist tradition, Allen served local churches for 20 years, and as founding Executive Director of Hope Acts, a Portland, Maine nonprofit focusing on housing asylum seekers and helping immigrants succeed. A graduate of the University of Maine and of Boston University School of Theology, Allen has recently completed a Doctor of Ministry program through Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC and Wesley House, Cambridge UK. In addition to nonprofit and congregational leadership, he has extensive experience in advocacy, direct action, and faith-based organizing around issues of justice and equity. Allen lives in Portland with his spouse, Rev. Sara Ewing-Merrill, and they are the parents of three daughters.