Next Retreat

Habits and Practices for a New Normal

Luther and Brian

Special Guest: Luther Smith & Brian McLaren

When: March 3-6, 2021

Where: via Zoom


The pandemic has disrupted our old habits, and in our haste to get back to more familiar rhythms of work and relationship, we may miss an opportunity to learn from these months of external constraint. We have had to enlist inner resources to withstand the anxiety and stress of isolation.  Rather than rushing back to our prior assumptions about how to live well, what new habits might we consider to help us live into a new normal?  In this virtual retreat, our presenters Brian McLaren and Luther Smith will draw on their own work as well as the writings of Howard Thurman and others to help us consider personal and social practices good for our souls, our neighbors, and our planet.


This virtual retreat will include live Zoom sessions with lectures by Luther Smith and Brian McLaren as well as small group break-outs, music, and prayer. Participants will also be emailed video content from the speakers, prompts for personal reflection, and integration activities to experience and explore at their leisure. Additional opportunities for worship and fellowship include an evening Compline meditative service and Fellowship time. Participants will also have the option to participate in Lectio Divina small groups. (Lectio Divina means “divine reading” of a sacred scripture, for the purpose of listening to God for a personal word or phrase. The practice in Lectio Divina is to wait quietly, silently, attentively, without a pre-conceived idea of what you will hear or notice. In group Lectio Divina, we are aided by being with others whose express intention is to listen and wait together, first in silence and then in sharing.)  Please see the schedule below for more detailed information: 



Wednesday, March 3:

6pm-8pm Pacific time Opening Session on Zoom

Thursday, March 4:

emailed content to be explored and experienced at the participants' leisure

6:00pm Pacific Time Optional Lectio Divina Small Groups on Zoom (please indicate when registering if you will participate)

7:30pm-8:00pm Pacific Time Meditative Compline Service on Zoom

Friday, March 5:

emailed content to be explored and experienced at the participants' leisure

6:00pm Pacific Time Optional Lectio Divina Small Groups on Zoom (please indicate when registering if you will participate)

7:30pm-8:00pm Pacific Time Friday Fellowship

Saturday, March 6:

9:00am-12:00pm Pacific Time Closing Session and Worship with Eucharist on Zoom 


Suggested Materials: 

Here is what to prepare for our time of retreat. 


Suggested donation of $85, however, we would welcome donations of any size during this challenging time. 



Luther E. Smith, Jr.  is Professor Emeritus of Church and Community at the Candler School of Theology of Emory University.  He writes, teaches, and speaks extensively on issues of church and society, interfaith cooperation, child advocacy, congregational renewal, Christian spirituality, and the thought of Howard Thurman.  He is the author of Howard Thurman: The Mystic as Prophet, Intimacy and Mission: Intentional Community as Crucible for Radical Discipleship, and editor of Howard Thurman: Essential Writings.  He is Senior Consulting Editor for the four-volume publication of the Howard Thurman Papers Project.  He is an ordained minister of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, cofounder of the Interfaith Children’s Movement, and Coordinator for the “Pan-Methodist Campaign for Children in Poverty.”


Brian McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. A former college English teacher and pastor, he is a passionate advocate for "a new kind of Christianity" - just, generous, and working with people of all faiths for the common good. He is an Auburn Senior Fellow, a contributor to We Stand With Love, and a leader in the Convergence Network, through which he is developing an innovative training/mentoring program for pastors and church planters. His recent projects include an illustrated children’s book (for all ages) called Cory and the Seventh Story and The Galapagos Islands: A Spiritual Journey.  His newest book is Faith After Doubt (January 2021), and his next release, Do I Stay Christian? will be available Spring 2022.