The BTS Center
97 India Street • Portland, ME 04101

May 25, 2021

Dear Friends:

We're excited about two programs coming up, and we want to encourage you to register if you haven't yet.

This Thursday we'll welcome back two leading thinkers and practitioners, Paul Nixon and Kenda Creasy Dean, to hep us think about New Futures for a Post-Pandemic Church. It's an important and timely topic, and we've got the right conversation partners! You'll find details and the registration link below.

And then the following Thursday, June 3, contemplative artist Bronwen Mayer Henry will be leading Brave Art, a day-long online retreat weaving together stories, meditations, creative practices, and supportive conversations.

>> Here's an important note about the Brave Art Retreat: We're mailing out a special creativity packet, including a retreat workbook and some art supplies, to the first 50 people who register by May 26 — which is tomorrow! If you'd like to join us for this Brave Art Retreat, now is the time to register!

We're so grateful to call you a friend of The BTS Center, and we hope to see you soon!

Rev. Allen Ewing-Merrill
Executive Director • The BTS Center
New Futures for the Post-Pandemic Church
A Continued Conversation
with Kenda Creasy Dean and Paul Nixon

Thursday, May 27, 2021
4:00-5:15 pm (Eastern) • via Zoom
Last June, in the midst of a terrifying pandemic and countrywide protests against police violence, we invited Paul Nixon and Kenda Creasy Dean to share their insights about what the future held for post-pandemic faith communities, as we all looked forward to the day when everything could “return to normal.” 

A year later, with a new normal still out of our reach, we’re inviting them back to check in on the predictions they made a year ago, to share what this last year has taught them, and to hear their dreams and challenges for faith communities in the wake of COVID-19.

Come to join a frank and hopeful discussion about the path forward for the post-pandemic church.

Kenda Creasy Dean, PhD, an ordained United Methodist pastor in the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference, is the Mary D. Synnott Professor of Youth, Church, and Culture at Princeton Theological Seminary. In addition to teaching in practical theology, education and formation (specifically youth and young adult ministry, the church as social innovator, and theories of teaching), Dean works closely with Princeton’s Institute for Youth Ministry and the Farminary. Dean is the author of numerous books on youth, church and culture, including Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers Is Telling the American Church (Oxford, 2010) In 2013 she and fellow pastor Mark DeVries co-founded Ministry Incubators, Inc., an educational and consulting group dedicated to missional innovation and entrepreneurial forms of ministry. A graduate of Wesley Theological Seminary, she served as a pastor and campus minister in suburban Washington, D.C. before receiving her PhD from Princeton Seminary in 1997. She is currently the project director and senior strategist for The Zoe Project, a Lilly Endowment initiative designed to foster innovation in congregations around young adults.
Paul Nixon is the founder of Epicenter Group. He is a pastor, coach, ministry strategist and student of culture. He lives in downtown Washington DC, with an office on K Street. He operates in multiple time zones and cultural contexts each week. An author of eight books, Paul teaches in all sorts of venues from online cohorts to regional seminars to a course at Wesley Theological Seminary. Paul has been thinking, coaching and working around issues of multi-site ministry longer than almost any other coach or consultant around. Paul is co-creator of the Readiness 360 tool helping churches measure and cultivate their capacity for multiplying ministry. Paul has been coach to some of the fastest growing mainline Protestant church in the United States (Embrace Church Sioux Falls). He also has worked with Urban Village Chicago, City Square Phoenix, After Hours Denver, New Day Bronx, The Loft@Westwood in LA, Valley Praise in Harlingen, Texas. Broken Builders in NYC, RISE in Harrisonburg VA, The Gathering Virginia Beach, West UMC in Mooresville NC, HopeGateWay in Portland Maine, and many other creative new ministries.

Event Partners
Brave ART Retreat
With contemplative painter Bronwen Mayer Henry

Thursday, June 3, 2021 
10:00am - 4:00pm (Eastern)

$25 for full-day retreat / Open to the Public

A limited number of full scholarships are available for this retreat. Contact Aram Mitchell at to request a scholarship.

Register by May 26 to receive a creativity packet.
So many people hold themselves back from stepping into a creative life. So many of us hesitate to give ourselves permission to play with, experiment with, and strengthen our own creative hearts. Creativity takes courage, needs community, and — if we tend it well — can blossom into expressions of compassion.

Join us for a day-long retreat full of stories, meditations, creative practices and supportive conversations, facilitated by contemplative painter Bronwen Mayer Henry.

“My most consistent personal practice is showing up in the studio each day to spend time going inward, being curious, and watching what unfolds. Though I delight in what appears on the canvas, it is what arises in my heart that captivates me and has me returning each day.” —Bronwen Mayer Henry

This retreat — along with stories, meditations, and practices — will draw on the beauty and intrigue of the natural word as our source of inspiration and subject matter. We will acknowledge heartache while reaching towards freedom, curiosity, and compassion. We will focus on strengthening the creative process and on returning to joy.

If you are feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders, if you are looking for practices to help counter burnout, if you are in need of community, self-compassion, and inspiration to guide you through challenging times — please join us! All are welcome, no artistic experience required, come as you are.

A creativity packet including a retreat workbook and some art supplies will be mailed to you by The BTS Center. You will also need some nature to reference — either nature you can see while you create or images from books or photos you’ve printed out.

Bronwen Mayer Henry

"I am grateful to be working with The BTS Center where creativity, care for the natural world, and spirituality are the central focus. These are core to my creative practice and it is energizing to step into a partnership with so much synergy. During the pandemic, I have missed spending time teaching and being with others around restorative creative practices and I appreciate the innovative commitment The BTS Center has to making retreats happen in virtual spaces with deep community connection." —Bronwen Mayer Henry

Bronwen is a self-taught contemporary painter specializing in trees and flowers on large scale canvases with acrylic paints. Her work is filled with movement, light, color, and a sense of freedom.  

It was an unexpected path through Thyroid Cancer that led Bronwen to commit time to painting. This beginning continues to be reflected in her large scale work and playful approach to color. Her art is an expression of prayer, meditation, hope and joy. She describes herself as “a person facing her fears with a brush, and choosing joy over perfection.” She leads workshops and retreats helping others to break through creative barriers. She has a new book exploring how this cancer treatment lit up her creative practice, “Radioactive Painting” published by Shanti Arts LLC. 

Her work has been on display at Abington Art Center, Pendle Hill Retreat, Local Shops, and private collections in California, Colorado, Georgia, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Maine, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Washington State, Canada and South Africa.

She lives outside Philadelphia, PA with her husband, two children, and King Charles Cavalier Spaniel.

The BTS Center | 207.774.5212 | |
Allen Ewing-Merrill
Executive Director

Kay Ahmed
Office Manager
Nicole Diroff
Program Director

Aram Mitchell
Director of Partnerships & Formation

Ben Yosua-Davis
Director of Applied Research
 Our mission is to catalyze spiritual imagination with enduring wisdom for transformative faith leadership.
We equip and support faith leaders for theologically grounded and effective 21st-century ministries.