Join us on Wednesday for the third conversation in our Unlocking Possibility speaker series:

Imagine a New Church
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
4:30 - 5:45 pm (Eastern)

What does it look like to follow Jesus in a post-religious age? In this moment when American Christianity’s institutional decline is accelerating rapidly, we have the opportunity to envision new shapes for spiritual community growing up out of the shadow of the old. 

Join us to imagine the shape of a new church: re-birthed from ancient roots and decoupled from capitalist Christianity with pastor and writer Rev. Emily Scott, founder of Saint Lydia’s Dinner Church in Brooklyn NY and now pastor of Dreams and Visions in Baltimore; and Dr. Heber Brown, pastor of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church in Baltimore and founder of the Black Church Food Security Network.

Rev. Emily Scott (she/her/hers) is a church planter and author of For All Who Hunger: Searching for Communion in a Shattered World, released in Spring, 2020. A Lutheran pastor (ELCA), Emily believes that Christian practice holds out rich possibilities that call us to reach out across boundaries in love, learn through discomfort, and build relationships that bring God’s realm close. Queer and genderqueer, she is committed to building communities of faith that dismantle fear and hate, affirm LGBTQ+ people, and confront racial injustice.

Emily currently serves as pastor of two congregations in unique partnership: St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and Dreams and Visions, in Baltimore. These two congregations, one historic, one just a few years old, are partnering together, sharing a building, pastoral staff, and a commitment to their neighborhood, city, and the LGBTQ+ community. From 2008-2017, Emily served as the founding pastor of Saint Lydia’s Dinner Church in Brooklyn, NY, where worship is a full meal, shared around a dinner table. St. Lydia’s sparked a wider Dinner Church movement, and is now a national model for new church starts.

A graduate of Yale Divinity School, Emily received the Alumni Award for Distinction in Congregational Ministry in 2016. She was the Director of Worship at The Riverside Church from 2007-2009, and a co-founder of Music That Makes Community. Her work at St. Lydia’s has been covered by The Atlantic and the Wall Street Journal.
Rev. Dr. Heber Brown, III, Senior Pastor of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland is known as a Community Organizer, Social Entrepreneur, Base Builder, and Network Weaver.

For nearly two decades, Dr. Brown has been a catalyst for personal transformation and social change. He is the Founding Director of Orita’s Cross Freedom School, which works to reconnect Black youth to their African heritage while providing them hands-on learning opportunities to spark their creative genius and build vocational skills. In 2015 he launched the Black Church Food Security Network a multi-state alliance of congregations working together to inspire health, wealth and power in the Black Community by partnering with historically African American churches to establish gardens on church-owned land and with African American farmers to create a grassroots, community-led food system.

Dr. Brown is the recipient of numerous awards including the Ella Baker Freedom Fighter Award and The Afro American Newspaper’s “25 Under 40 Emerging Black History Leaders” award. In 2016, Grist.Org named him among innovators, organizers, and visionaries as one of The 50 People You’ll Be Talking About This Year." In 2018, Baltimore Magazine named him a Visionary of the City and the Baltimore City Office of Civil Rights presented him with their Food Justice Award. In 2019, he received the coveted Emerging Leaders Award from the Claneil Foundation, which brought with it a $250,000 investment in the work of the Black Church Food Security Network.

Unlocking Possibility Speaker Series

"If stress, trauma and anxiety are eroding our imaginations precisely at the time when we need to be our most vitally imaginative, then where do we find the clues for how to reverse this process?... What if we created the optimal conditions — where we live, where we work, where we study, where we pray, where you walk every day — for the imagination to flourish? What would you do? What would you change?"
— Rob Hopkins, one of our previous conversation partners,
from his book From What Is to What If

Every crisis can be an invitation to dream. Even in uncertain moments, we are called to imagine better futures together: for ourselves, for our communities, and for our planet. In this series, we have been talking with leading thinker-practitioners about the art and practice of imagination: both how to create wide-open spaces for possibilities that others find impossible and what it looks like when our dreams become reality.

Upcoming Date & Speakers
Imagine a New Planet
Monday, November 30, 2020
2:00 - 3:15 pm (Eastern)

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.