News

The BTS Center Featured in a Piece on Eco-Chaplaincy Published by Sojourners

This past spring, climate journalist Shreya Agrawal spent time with Rev. Alison Cornish, The BTS Center's Chaplaincy Initiative Coordinator, to learn about how we are approaching our Climate Conscious Chaplaincy Initiative. That piece, which spotlights the work of several peer organizations, including Sewanee and the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies, was published recently in an article in the online version of Sojourners, called "What Is an Eco-Chaplain?" by Shreya Agrawal.
 
“A climate-conscious chaplain might sit with a family who has lost their home to a flood or a fire, so that is disaster spiritual care,” [Rev. Alison Cornish] said. “But grief leads to something. It might mean an activist stance, it might lead to writing, it might lead to developing a ritual or ceremony, it might lead to righteous anger. That’s something that a climate-conscious chaplain might do.”

Read the article here.

Twelve New England Churches selected to participate in Claiming Your Call Retreat

Teams from twelve New England congregations will take part in an upcoming retreat and community of practice, entitled “Claiming Your Call for a Climate-Changed World,” organized and hosted collaboratively by The BTS Center, Creation Justice Ministries, and Anabaptist Climate Collaborative.

Fully funded by The BTS Center, “Claiming Your Call for a Climate-Changed World” will begin with a three-day retreat, June 20-22, 2024, at the Schoodic Institute in Acadia National Park, Maine, where congregational teams will share deep conversation with theologians, scientists, and indigenous scholars about how climate change will impact the communities where they live and what a spiritually-grounded, justice-seeking response could look like for their churches. At the conclusion of the retreat, teams will integrate what they’ve learned by participating in Vocational Discernment groups and undertaking a “small experiment with radical intent” in the context of a supportive community of practice. Read More

Rev. Dr. Carolyn Sharp Appointed as Homiletician In Residence for "Compelling Preaching for a Climate-Changed World" Grant Project

Carolyn J. Sharp, professor of homiletics at Yale Divinity School, has been appointed as Homiletician in Residence for Year One of a grant project with Lexington Theological Seminary entitled “Compelling Preaching for a Climate-Changed World.”

The project is being funded by a $1.25 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. as part of their Compelling Preaching Initiative. LTS is partnering with The BTS Center and Creation Justice Ministries on the initiative, which aims to equip preachers with training, resources, support networks, and research for addressing the urgency of the climate crisis and other environmental issues. The purpose of the initiative is to foster and support preaching that better inspires, encourages, and guides people to come to know and love God and to live out their Christian faith more fully. Read More

Our 2024 Report to the Community Is Here

We are excited to share with you our 2024 Report to the Community, bursting with stories and images that celebrate another year of imaginative, collaborative programs through which we seek to cultivate and nurture spiritual leadership for a climate-changed world.

When you have a little time, we invite you to find a comfortable spot (ideally outside!), grab a cup of coffee or tea or another favorite beverage, and flip through the pages of this Report. Read it cover to cover! Find your place within the ever-expanding community that we are convening. And receive our gratitude for all the ways you are helping to inform and shape this work that we are undertaking together.
Learn more …

Lilly Endowment Inc. Awards $1.25 Million Grant, “Compelling Preaching for a Climate-Changed World”

We celebrate that Lexington Theological Seminary (LTS) has received a $1.25 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. for their project, “Compelling Preaching for a Climate-Changed World.” LTS will partner with The BTS Center and Creation Justice Ministries on the initiative that aims to equip preachers with training, resources, support networks, and research for addressing the urgency of the climate crisis and other environmental issues.

The effort is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Compelling Preaching Initiative. The aim of the initiative is to foster and support preaching that better inspires, encourages, and guides people to come to know and love God and to live out their Christian faith more fully.

Research Collaborative Report Published

The BTS Center celebrates the publication of its Research Collaborative Final Report, entitled "Cultivating Earth-Shaped Leadership: Ecological Imagination in Organizational Life." In 2021, we invited seven organizations to join us for an 18-month journey of co-learning, exploring together the question "How would organizations act differently today if they embodied an ecological imagination?” Prepared by Ben Yosua-Davis, Director of Applied Research, this Report discusses the methodology we employed in this 18-month research undertaking, and then it details some of our key findings, some of the patterns that emerged as leaders attempted to integrate ecological imagination into their organizations, and a few lingering questions. Learn more.

Join the One Home One Future campaign

 
The BTS Center is a proud partner organization in the One Home One Future campaign, a seven-year multi-faith campaign encouraging visible and collective creation care and climate action.
 
We believe this is a moment when spiritual leaders and faith communities everywhere — clergy, congregants, youth, and people of conscience from all spiritual paths — must unite in pursuing meaningful and just climate solutions at the local, regional, and national level.
 
One Home One Future is designed to offer fulfilling, positive, and accessible pathways for education, engagement, and action on creation care and just and equitable climate solutions, whether you are just getting started or you’re already deeply engaged. Learn more



Standing with Lewiston, Maine

On October 25, the city of Lewiston, Maine — just north of our home location of Portland — was the site of a mass shooting, the latest community to be targeted in what has become a pandemic of gun violence in this country. We are heartbroken for the loss of at least eighteen lives — mothers, fathers, children, grandparents, friends — who were out enjoying time in spaces that should be safe for everyone. We are grieving for the loved ones they left behind, and for everyone — all of us — who find ourselves confronting yet another violent trauma. Read our full statement at this link.
 

Our 2023 Report to the Community Is Here

We are delighted to share The BTS Center’s 2023 Report to the Community, compiled with joy and shared with immense gratitude for all the ways you support, encourage, and enliven the work of this organization as we seek to cultivate and nurture spiritual leadership for a climate-changed world.
 
Please take some time to flip through the pages of this Report, scan its colorful images, and read the stories within — and as you do, please join us in giving thanks for a year of creative and meaningful programs, for a year of learning and exploration and growth, for a year of deepening, ever-expanding community.
 
Learn more …

A Word of Gratitude

We recently bid farewell to two members of our Board of Trustees, who have completed their service to The BTS Center as they take on new responsibilities.
 
Rabbi Erica Asch has been a member of our Board of Trustees since 2019, and she concludes her service in order to step into a new role as President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR). Erica is the fourth woman and the youngest person ever to lead the 130-year-old professional organization of over 2,200 Reform rabbis who serve more than two million Jews worldwide. Rabbi Asch continues to serve as the rabbi of Temple Beth El in Augusta, Maine, and as the Senior Program Associate at the Center for Small Town Jewish Life.
 

Dr. Natasha DeJarnett joined our Board of Trustees in 2021. In November 2022 she began a one-year position at the White House, bringing the expertise that she holds around climate change and public health to the Biden-Harris Administration. She has taken a year leave of absence from her faculty position at University of Louisville, Division of Environmental Medicine, and is now serving as Deputy Director for Environmental Justice Data and Evaluation, a position with the Council on Environmental Quality within the Executive Office of the President.

We are incredibly grateful for the gifts that both Rabbi Asch and Dr. DeJarnett have shared with The BTS Center during their tenures on this Board of Trustees. Both have contributed significantly to the work of this organization, and we will miss them.

Upwelling

Welcome to Upwelling, The BTS Center’s occasional print newsletter. We are delighted to connect with you in this way, and we hope that when you are finished reading, you might pass your copy along to someone else who might be interested.

Learn more …
 

Climate Changed

A Podcast from The BTS Center

The BTS Center's new podcast, Climate Changed offers intimate interviews and conversations around some of the most pressing questions about faith, life, and climate change. Hosted by Ben Yosua-Davis, Director of Applied Research, and Nicole Diroff, Program Director, and produced by Peterson Toscano, the podcast features acclaimed guests, all exploring what spiritual leadership looks and feels like in a climate-changed world. New episodes will premier monthly. You can click here to find Climate Changed on your favorite listening platformsubscribe now so you can listen to new episodes as soon as they are available!

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.

 
 The BTS Center Welcomes New Communications Manager, Rev. Ash Temin
 
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.

Allen Ewing-Merrill talks with Jennifer Hutchins of the Maine Association of Nonprofits

9/10/21 - On Friday, September 10, our Executive Director, Allen Ewing-Merrill, was interviewed on MANP Connects, a bi-weekly Friday morning program featuring special guests from Maine’s nonprofit sector and beyond who share their insights and perspectives in conversation with MANP Executive Director Jennifer Hutchins. Their 45-minute conversation explored topics related to religious nonprofits in Maine, the work of The BTS Center at the intersection of spiritual leadership and the climate crisis, and the possibilities for transformation when nonprofits live deeply into their values and prioritize the common good.

From What Is to What If Micro-Grants Awarded!

8/12/21 - With great joy, we are announcing the six recipients of From What Is to What If Micro-Grants. Each of these grants (up to $5,000) will help a community of faith try something new, lay the groundwork for further innovation, and help to fire the imaginations of others. We are excited about the array of projects in development, and we are grateful to partner with these faith communities by providing just a little bit of funding to help support and encourage their steps forward.
 

Announcing Convocation 2021

7/30/21 - We are so excited to invite you to the 2021 edition of The BTS Center's annual Convocation, again this year an online gathering, coming up Thursday, September 30 – Friday, October 1.
 
Our theme this year invites deep reflection: "We Are God's Soil: Spiritual Leadership in a Climate-Changed World." We are happy today to introduce you to our keynote speaker, Rev. Mariama White-Hammond, and we look forward to sharing details about other speakers, conversationalists, artists, and musicians in the coming weeks.
 
 
 

Kay Ahmed steps into a new role as Operations Manager

7/22/21 - With great attention to detail, with efficiency and care, and with consistent appreciation for doing things well, Kay Ahmed manages a million behind-the-scenes details that help to ensure the effectiveness of The BTS Center’s programs and day-to-day operations.
 

A message to alumni of Bangor Theological Seminary

7/12/21 - The BTS Center's Executive Director Rev. Allen Ewing-Merrill writes a letter to alumni of the Bangor Theological Seminary on the occasion of the United Church of Christ General Synod 33:
 
"Hello and welcome to this Special Virtual General Synod 33. It is our honor to serve as a sponsor for this gathering. Whether in times of worship, in workshops and special events, or in sessions for conducting the business of this denomination, we pray that the Spirit will draw us together across time and space — that in this time together we might be Rooted in Love. 
 

Introducing our new LEADERSHIP COMMONS

4/27/21 - 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.
 

One Year Later

by Rev. Allen Ewing-Merrill, Executive Director
 
3/12/21 - Over the past several days, we’ve been reliving our “one-year-ago” anniversaries: the day the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a pandemic, the day the schools closed, the last day at the office, the last gathering with cherished friends or beloved family, the last in-person worship service. Each of these one-year markers holds significance. Each evokes images, feelings, questions. Marking these anniversaries feels important — significant.
 

Rabbi Erica Asch named president-elect of the Central Conference of American Rabbis

1/1/21 - We celebrate with Rabbi Erica Asch, a member of our Board of Trustees, who has been named president-elect of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR). She will become the fourth woman and the youngest person ever to lead the 130-year-old professional organization of over 2200 Reform rabbis who serve more than 2 million Jews worldwide.

Congratulations, Rabbi Asch! This is a well deserved honor, and it signals great things for the CCAR.!
 

Creativity, Compassion, and the Coronavirus

3/16/20 - In this time of social distancing, fear, and great uncertainty, faith communities are more important than ever, but let's be honest: this current Coronavirus crisis stresses and stretches faith leaders in unique ways. The BTS Center is teaming up with the podcast Reports from the Spiritual Frontier to release a podcast series, some online meet-ups, and other resources to support and equip faith leaders for this particular moment.

Read more...

Nicole Diroff and Ben Yosua-Davis Join The BTS Center Team

1/23/20 - We are pleased to welcome Nicole Diroff and Ben Yosua-Davis to The BTS Center Team. Serving in the roles of Program Coordinator and Program Advisor, respectively, Nicole and Ben are working with our Executive Director, Allen Ewing-Merrill, to help design and coordinate Convocation 2020, as well as to envision and plan for future programming. We look forward to sharing more details soon!

Read more ...

 

The BTS Center Sponsors the 2020 Season of "Reports From the Spiritual Frontier" podcast

1/23/20 - We are pleased to partner with Ben Yosua-Davis, Host of the podcast "Reports From the Spiritual Frontier" as a Sponsor for their 2020 season. Now in its fifth season, Reports provides an in-depth look at the day to day lives of innovative spiritual practitioners, as they cultivate new forms of community on the religious margins of our country.

Read more ...

 

Gratitude for Elizabeth Drescher

11/18/19 - As we shared in the November issue of Bearings, Elizabeth Drescher, friend and consulting scholar with The BTS Center from its earliest days, has recently put down her editor’s pen, wrapping up this project which has been her labor of love for the past five-plus years. We can’t let this moment pass without offering words of deep gratitude and praise for her skillful and spirited work as the primary steward of this publication, month after month, season after season.

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The Rev. Allen Ewing-Merrill to become next Executive Director

4/29/19 - The BTS Center Board of Trustees announces the selection of The Rev. Allen Ewing-Merrill as its new Executive Director, following a national search. He will begin his work with the Center on July 1, succeeding The Rev. Dr. Robert Grove-Markwood who will retire at the end of June.

Read more ...

The Rev. Dr. Robert Grove-Markwood is retiring June 2019

11/13/18 — The Board of Trustees of The BTS Center announces the retirement of our Executive Director, The Reverend Dr. Robert Grove-Markwood, effective June 2019, which will conclude eight years of leading Bangor Seminary and its transition to The BTS Center. The Board will more fully celebrate Bob’s leadership closer to his retirement date. For now, we are extremely grateful to him for his dedication to and passion for the work of The BTS Center.

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Dr. Pamela Shellberg is moving to new role in Wisconsin

10/29/18 — After four years on the staff of The BTS Center as Scholar-in-Residence, Dr. Pamela Shellberg is leaving at the end of November for a new position in Madison, Wisconsin. Pam is looking ahead to being the Director of Life-Long Faith Formation at Bethel Lutheran Church – as well as looking forward to a return to Madison which was her home in the 1980s and 90s.

Read more ...

Upwelling

Welcome to Upwelling, The BTS Center’s occasional print newsletter. Click below to read our recent issues:


Our e-newsletters

Several times a month we send out an e-newsletter with the latest news from The BTS Center. Check out our recent issues: