Now is the time to register for
Convocation Reimagined
Grounded Leadership in an Era of Ecological Emergency
September 24-25, 2020
Online + Offline components

Plans are coming together and registrations are coming in daily for Convocation Reimagined — the 2020 edition of The BTS Center's annual Convocation, for the first time ever in digital space, coming up September 24-25. 

Our theme this year is an important and timely one: "Engaged Hope: Grounded Leadership in an Era of Ecological Emergency." The registration link is here, and we hope you will join us!

The registration deadline — September 14 — is quickly approaching!

Today we want to highlight our panel of eco-innovators — four leaders who are deeply exploring the intersections of spirituality and the land, or the intersections of spiritual practice and climate justice. These eco-innovators will share conversation on the afternoons of Thursday, September 24 and Friday, September 25.
Meet our Eco-Innovators
Susan MacKenzie, Ph.D.
is a spiritual director, retreat leader, and educator. A graduate of the Guild for Spiritual Guidance in New York, Susan works with individuals who wish to be more intentional in their lives through reflection, prayer practices, and spiritual disciplines. Susan offers retreats throughout New England, including some that draw upon her Maine Guide training and incorporate outdoor adventure. Her retreats are geared to a range of audiences, including spiritual seekers with no affiliation to organized traditions. Susan has served as a faculty member for the Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation sponsored by The Upper Room in Nashville TN. She has taught courses in World Religions and Ecology, Sustainable Development, and American Environmental Literature at Colby College. She is an expert in ecosystem management and a Maine Master Naturalist. Susan and her husband manage their 20-acre forest for wildlife habitat, and they garden, raise chickens, and keep bees. She enjoys Early Music and plays recorders for fun.
Rev. Francis Kinyua 
is an Elder in the Methodist Church of Kenya who served in pastoral ministry for nine years in Kenya, including as Superintendent Minister, presiding over multiple congregations pastored by lay people, while continuing his lifelong practice of farming. He is a gifted developer of leaders, skilled in spiritual formation, pastoral care and counseling, and in helping communities work together collaboratively to find solutions to challenges. In both rural and urban contexts, Rev. Kinyua has effectively combined agriculture with ministry. In the United States, he has served congregations in Kansas and in North Carolina. Today he leads The Church at Spring Forest, a decentralized mission church anchored in a small farm and a growing network of neighborhood gardens, guided by core values of creation care, welcoming immigrants, and working together to grow food, and a rule of life that includes prayer, work, table, and neighbor.
Rev. Kinyua is married and the father of three children.
Jay O’Hara
is a Quaker originally from Cape Cod. After experiencing his “climate wakeup” moment in 2006, he joined the secular climate movement in Massachusetts and founded Climate Summer, a transformational program for student climate activists. Called to bolder action in 2013, he and a colleague blockaded 40,000 tons of coal destined for the Brayton Point power plant with their small white lobster boat named the “Henry David T” – the Lobster Boat Blockade. The ensuing legal proceedings garnered national attention, and the plant closed its doors in 2017. In 2016, he supported the tar sands “valve turners” action across 4 states which shut down 15% of the US daily oil supply. Jay has played a leading role in the No Coal No Gas campaign to shutter the last big coal fired electrical generator in New England. He is a co-founder of the Climate Disobedience Center and is recognized by his Quaker meeting to serve as a traveling minister in New England. He currently lives in Portland, Maine.
Saarah Yasmin Latif 
serves on the Interfaith Coordinator Team of NIA Masjid & Community Center in Newark, NJ. As a Muslim, she believes that we are placed on earth to take care of each other and the environment. She takes much inspiration from her faith and believes that nature should be used to better know, serve, and worship God. Saarah is passionate about interfaith dialogue and environmental education, and she expresses these commitments by organizing workshops for her local community focused on ways to limit single use plastic, and to support composting and gardening. She is a part of the GreenFaith Fellowship Program, an interfaith coalition of global members working towards bettering the environment, and she recently completed a five-month internship at Sprout by Design, an organization in New York City focused on urban farming education and design. She has a Master’s degree in Sustainability and Leadership from Montclair State University.
In addition to plenary sessions with our four eco-innovators on Thursday and Friday afternoons, each of these four leaders will be offering a contemplative mini-retreat on Friday afternoon. Late next week, descriptions of 8 different mini-retreats will be live on a special participants' page on our website, and all who have registered will be invited to sign up for the retreat of their choice. Watch for an email with details!
Register now, and The BTS Box will be headed your way!
We're working hard to develop an event comprised of online and offline experiences, which will weave together to facilitate learning, nurture respite, and deepen community. To enrich the Convocation experience, we will be mailing a "BTS Box" to all who register in time, with supplies and surprises to unwrap along the way. Make sure there's one with your name and address on it! Register today!
Convocation grows from roots dating back more than 100 years — a highlight of the year for our predecessor, Bangor Theological Seminary, since 1905, and still today a highlight! — but this year, following public health guidance, we’re moving online. Over the course of two days in September, we’ll gather for online sessions, and we’ll log off for some intentional, self-guided, offline sessions, returning to digital space for continued learning and reflection. We look forward to this blend of online and offline experiences, which will weave together to facilitate learning, nurture respite, and deepen community.
Convocation 2020 invites spiritual leaders, faith communities, and change-makers to embrace a transformative response to the current climate crisis. If anything, COVID-19 has revealed even more clearly the ways in which “business as usual” threatens the sustainability of the planet and the health and well-being of all life. This global pandemic and the broader challenges of global climate devastation call for spiritually grounded leaders who adopt an intentional, embodied practice of hope — leaders who dismiss the paths of denial and despair and choose to live in a state of active engagement. This kind of hope is deeper than passive optimism — it is a way of being in the world, rooted in faith, expressed in action, and sustained by contemplative practice.
A gifted line-up of presenters — ecological innovators, spiritual guides, and ministry practitioners — will confront the flawed values of Western culture that prioritize individualism, consumerism, and unrestrained growth, while calling us to just and sustainable practices that protect the common good and honor the sacredness of our planetary home. Incorporating music, the arts, and contemplative practice, Convocation Reimagined will lead participants to a deeper, more spiritually grounded engagement with God’s Creation.

Plans are coming together for a really meaningful gathering — a mixture of online and offline components that we hope will be intellectually stimulating, spiritually enriching, and community-building. We hope you will set aside both days — see the schedule here — and plan to participate fully.

And to add to the fun, for all who register by September 14, we will be mailing a "BTS Box" with supplies and surprises to unwrap along the way, which we hope will enrich the Convocation experience.

Please help us spread the word by forwarding this message to a friend, a family member, or a colleague who might be interested. And please register today!
Feel free to be in touch with Kay Ahmed, Office Manager:
Convocation is an annual gathering sponsored by The BTS Center, the missional successor to the former Bangor Theological Seminary. With roots dating back to 1814, The BTS Center exists today to catalyze spiritual imagination with enduring wisdom for transformative faith leadership.

This event is offered in partnership with the Maine Council of Churches, the Maine Conference United Church of Christ, and Renewal in the Wilderness.
The BTS Center | 207.774.5212 | |
Allen Ewing-Merrill
Executive Director
Nicole Diroff
Program Director
Kay Ahmed
Office Manager
 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.