The BTS Center
97 India Street • Portland, ME 04102

November 4, 2020

Dear friends:

It's late Tuesday night as I'm writing. Against my better judgment, I am glued to the minute-by-minute updates, and I'll admit, I'm feeling a bit anxious. So much hangs in the balance. Fear creeps in, and I wonder what the days ahead will bring.

But one thing I know for sure: When all is said and done, when the last votes are counted, when the final chip falls, no matter the outcomes, there will be work to do.

That's right: No matter what, there will be work to do — important work, consequential work, life-or-death work — and God calls us to undertake it with all the faith, hope, and love we can muster.

Come what may, we need each other. And we need to stay grounded in the wisdom God reveals to us always and everywhere.

I want to invite you (yes, you!) to join us for a five-week Book Retreat that starts next week, focusing on Daniel Wolpert's new book, Creation's Wisdom: Spiritual Practice and Climate Change. We think this retreat is perfectly timed, in the weeks leading into the holiday season, at the threshold of a new year — an opportunity be strengthened and equipped for the challenging journey ahead.

I'm also excited to announce that we now have three videos to share, coming out of Convocation 2020. I encourage you to take some time to immerse yourself in the wisdom of Indigenous rights activist Sherri Mitchell – Weh’na Ha’mu Kwasset, our keynote speaker; and our four eco-innovators: Susan MacKenzie, Ph.D., Rev. Francis Kinyua, Jay O'Hara, and Saarah Latif. Each of these Convocation speakers offers words for our time. You'll find links below and here on our website.

Today and in the days ahead, we're holding fast to the vision of human hearts renewed, justice established, and creation restored. We remain committed to the work of catalyzing spiritual imagination, with enduring wisdom, for transformative faith leadership. God has work for us to do.

With you on the journey,
Rev. Allen Ewing Merrill
Executive Director
Creation's Wisdom Book Retreat
with author and spiritual teacher Daniel Wolpert

Offered by The BTS Center in partnership with MICAH (Minnesota Institute of Contemplation & Healing)

5 sessions on Thursday afternoons from 4:00–5:30 pm (Eastern)
Nov. 12 • Nov. 19 • Dec. 3 • Dec. 10 • Dec. 17

Suggested donation $50. Registration includes a signed* copy of Creation's Wisdom, which will be mailed to your address.

* Books signed by author Rev. Daniel Wolpert will be sent to the first 50 registrants, so register now to get your autographed book!
Using Christian Scripture and theology through the lens of modern science, Creation’s Wisdom explores the concept of the Tibetan Five Wisdoms to address such questions as:

  • What is a Christian spirituality that speaks to the needs of people in an era of climate change?
  • What practices can guide us?
  • What is a helpful perspective?

Author Daniel Wolpert uncovers that the answers lie in the elements of Creation.

This five-week book retreat will explore the nature of Creation’s Wisdom — how God speaks to us through Creation, how we can connect to the wider Creation in holistic and meaningful ways, and how we can become ambassadors for a path of healing in this time of climate crisis.

Over the course of five sessions, the retreat will utilize a combination of discussion, teaching, and contemplative practice that will strengthen us for the challenging journey ahead.

Gathering in the weeks following our historic election and as we enter into the holiday season — for Christians, a season of spiritual preparation called Advent, and for others a season of anticipation and reflection as one year draws to a close and another approaches — this book retreat will ground us in the ways of Wisdom as we prepare to enter into the new year. How can Wisdom’s call be heard and help lead and guide us in these challenging times?
What people are saying about the book:

“Wisdom is essential to human survival. Creation’s Wisdom draws on Hebrew scriptures, the gospel of Jesus, and Tibetan teachings to navigate our strange new world with a spirituality that is embodied, communal, and elemental. When infrastructures are eroding, best get a guide that will prepare you for anything." 

Rev. Dr. Heather Murray Elkins, Hannon Professor of Worship and Preaching, Emerita, Drew University

“Daniel Wolpert brings his immense wisdom to bear on the central crisis on our time: climate change. With clarity and grace he shows that the contemplative spiritual traditions can help us heal the alienation between humanity and the rest of creation. An important, timely book.” 

L. Roger Owens, Associate Professor of Christian Spirituality and Ministry, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Rev. Daniel Wolpert, a healer and student of the spiritual life, worked as a research scientist, psychologist, spiritual director, farmer, teacher, and construction worker before earning his Masters of Divinity degree at San Francisco Theological Seminary (SFTS).

Over the past thirty years he has taught in the fields of psychology and spiritual formation, led retreats, and delivered talks in such settings as the Art of Spiritual Direction Program at SFTS, the Youth Ministry and Spirituality Project, Luther Seminary, and the 5-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation. In addition to having full-time and interim pastoral positions over the past two decades, he also pursues his spiritual direction and healing work in private practice.

Daniel is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Minnesota Institute of Contemplation and Healing. He is the author of several other books, including Leading a Life with God: the Practice of Spiritual Leadership (Upper Room, 2006) and Creating a Life with God: the Call of Ancient Prayer Practices (Upper Room, 2003). This newest book, Creation’s Wisdom: Spiritual Practice and Climate Change, was just published by Orbis in October 2020.
Convocation is a legacy program of The BTS Center, and before that of our predecessor, Bangor Theological Seminary, with roots dating back to 1905. We are happy to continue this annual gathering, which draws together leading thinkers and practitioners for deep engagement with current issues and trends related to 21st Century ministry and the practice of faith.
Convocation 2020 — an online gathering for the first time ever, due to public health guidelines related to Covid-19 — has come and gone, and we are still celebrating what a rich and meaningful experience it was for all who attended.

We're glad to share recordings of three of the primary conversations exploring this year's theme, "Engaged Hope: Grounded Leadership in an Era of Ecological Emergency."

You can also view all three main sessions from Convocation 2020 on our website. Click here to go there now.
Above: Keynote presentation by Indigenous rights activist Sherri Mitchell – Weh’na Ha’mu Kwasset and Interview with podcast host Ben Yosua-Davis.
Above: Part 1 of a conversation with Eco-Innovators Susan MacKenzie, Ph.D.Rev. Francis KinyuaJay O'Hara, and Saarah Latif with The BTS Center hosts Rev. Allen Ewing-Merrill and Rev. Nicole Diroff.
Above: Part 2 of a conversation with Eco-Innovators Susan MacKenzie, Ph.D.Rev. Francis KinyuaJay O'Hara, and Saarah Latif with The BTS Center hosts Rev. Allen Ewing-Merrill and Rev. Nicole Diroff.
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.