Convocation 2018

The future is arguably brightest for those that can re-imagine part-time pastorates 
as signs of emergent opportunities, not emblems of failure and imminent death.
— G. Jeffery MacDonald

Growing by Half: Part-time Pastor, Full-time Church

Glass half-empty, or glass half-full? As many churches face shrinking resources, and shift from full-time to part-time paid leadership, do we see them as markers of failure or signs of emergent opportunities? Convocation 2018 will name what’s been lost – reflecting on the implications of fewer opportunities for congregations to be led by full-time, ordained clergy. But our priority is to share what’s been found – learning about congregations experiencing heightened vitality through part-time pastoral leadership. Lay leaders and pastors in part-time settings will share how their communities are re-imagining once familiar roles, and how they are seeing creative energies being unleashed for vital ministries. Workshops will offer deeper dives into mindset, method, and motivation to help release your community’s potential.

A collaboration of the Maine Conference UCC and The BTS Center


Important Event Details

Date:  1:30 pm on Friday, April 20 to noon on Sunday, April 22.

Location:  “Growing by Half” will be held at two locations in Portland, Maine:

  • Friday (4/20) we are at The Mariner’s Church Banquet Center, in the heart of the Old Port.
  • Saturday (4/21) we will gather for presentations and workshops at the Southern Maine Community College campus in South Portland.
  • Sunday morning we are back at The Mariner’s Church Banquet Center for the final plenary session and closing worship — we encourage you to stay for a culminating conversation and worship with other event participants. We hope you will want to plan ahead, and “practice what we are preaching” at this year’s Convocation by sharing all the work of being church. We’d love for this weekend to be a time apart for those who are the primary worship leaders, including lay persons.

Registration Fee:  Registration cost is lower this year, as we know there will likely be a parking expense for many on Friday and Sunday. To help keep your cost manageable, evening meals will be on your own. Given the plentiful dining options close by, you will decide about menu and budget for your meals. Lunch is provided on Saturday (please note April 9 deadline to guarantee lunch selection).

Early Bird registration fee of $80 ended on March 30, however regular admission is still open. If you would like to register please click on the ‘go to registration page’ link provided above. 

  • Regular registration is $95.00

Please note:

  • Limited scholarship aid is available in the form of waived registration fee. Before registering, please fill out the Convocation 2018 scholarship request and send to kay@thebtscenter.org for decision.
  • On the registration pages, you will be asked to select workshops, and note any dietary restrictions for Saturday lunch.
  • Meal count deadline has been extended to Monday, April 9 for Saturday lunch. Registrations after this date may not be guaranteed a lunch. 
  • Parking Options in Old Port.

Convocation 2018 Keynote Presenter:

The Rev. G. Jeffery MacDonald is an award-winning journalist and the author of Thieves in the Temple: The Christian Church and the Selling of the American Soul. He is also the pastor of First Parish Church of Newbury, UCC in Newbury, Massachusetts. The BTS Center awarded Jeff a 2016 Innovation Incubator Compass Grant to support his research on vitality in churches with part-time clergy.


 Click here to view the schedule for the Convocation 2018.

→ Click here to learn more about our presenters.

 Click here for nearby hotel and dining information.

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