Category: Events

Fall Retreat 2014

September 19th, 2014

RCT Fall Retreat 2014

Saturday, October 4, 2014
The Walker Center

Register HERE by October 1

Join us for our annual Fall Retreat at the Walker Center on October 4, 2014 from 9:00-4:00. We will be joined by hymn writer, UCC Pastor, BU STH graduate, and professor of worship at Garrett Evangelical Seminary Dr. Ruth Duck. Together we will explore the importance of creativity and imagination in peacebuilding and reconciliation. Students, faculty, staff, and alumni are welcome to attend the retreat.

Reminder: The annual retreat is a requirement for all students seeking certification in the RCT Program.

“Faith in the Face of Empire: The Bible Through Palestinian Eyes”

March 17th, 2014

Join us in STH room 325 on Tuesday, March 25 for a conversation with Mitri Raheb on his new book, “Faith in the Face of Empire.”

About Mitri Raheb: Born in Bethlehem, the Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb is a powerful advocate for peace in the Arab-Israeli conflict. He is the President of Dar al-Kalima University College in Bethlehem; President of the Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, and Senior Pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem.

About the Book: In Faith in the Face of Empire Mitri Raheb presents a new reading of the Bible from the perspective of the “people of Palestine.” He illustrates how the history of Palestine, ancient and modern, includes diverse contexts and recurring patterns. Using biblical narrative he introduces a wide lens for viewing that history.

This “sacred” story is a response to the “secular” history of occupation by various empires, from the Babylonians to the British to the state of Israel. Throughout this history the question of God remains crucial, Christian understanding remains relevant, and the spiritual dimension of utmost importance. Raheb spells out Jesus’ gospel in relation to the roman empire of his time, and the biblical values relevant for the Middle East- then and now. The book includes a new perspective and culture for a “New Middle East.”

March 25- Tuesday
11:30 a.m.- 1:00 p.m.
STH Room 325

Lunch Provided

Spring Capstone Retreat for RCT Graduates

February 20th, 2014

Now is the time for Graduating RCT students to apply to the BTI for the Religion and Conflict Transformation Certificate, and to sign-up for our April 25th Spring Retreat. The Capstone retreat is an opportunity for graduating RCT students to present their 5-10 page reflection paper summarizing key RCT learnings and future plans for integrating these learnings into life practices. If you have any questions about the retreat or application process please contact: Marian Simion at: or David Weekley at:

“Transfigurations: Transgressing Gender in the Bible”

November 4th, 2013

You are invited to a special event on Dec. 5 at Boston University School of Theology. Performance -activist Peterson Toscano will present “Transfigurations: Transgressing Gender in the Bible” in the Oxnam-Hartman room at 7:00p.m. This interactive performance explores several well-known (and not so well-known) Biblical characters who transgress gender-norms and boundaries of their day. Experience characters and stories from a new perspective through this innovative and creative performance! This event is free and open to the public. Pizza is provided prior to the performance!

Peter Storey Event: “Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa”

November 4th, 2013

Join us November 19 in the Oxnam Room of Boston University School of Theology for this rare opportunity. Peter Storey is a South African Methodist clergy and former President of the Methodist Church in South Africa. Dr. Storey’s 40 year ministry in South Africa was defined by sustained opposition to the infamous apartheid government and its oppressive racist policies. Peter Storey served as Chairperson of the Regional Peace Accord combating political violence in the Johannesburg/Soweto area and was appointed by President Nelson Mandela to help select members of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Dr. Storey will address “Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa: A bridge too far? Has the Truth and Reconciliation Commission failed South Africa, or has South Africa failed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission?” Dr. Storey will preach in Marsh Chapel the following morning at weekly chapel service.

First Annual Peter Berger Lecture and Celebration

October 27th, 2011

Peter Berger Lecture and Celebration

Friday, November 11, 2011

The First Annual Peter Berger Lecture in Religion and World Affairs

Sponsored by the School of Theology and The Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs (CURA), Boston University


David Martin, Professor Emeritus in the Sociology of Religion, London School of Economics

David Martin served as president of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion and is an ordained priest in the Church of England. Martin has written extensively on the sociology of religion and secularization, most notably in A General Theory of Secularization (1978), and on the intersection of sociology and theology, with his essays on this topic collected in Reflections on Sociology and Theology (1996). He has examined the expansion of Pentecostal Protestantism in the developing world in his widely cited Tongues of Fire: Conservative Protestantism in Latin America (1990) and Pentecostalism: The World Their Parish (2002), and he has written on religion and violence in Does Christianity Cause War? (1998) and most recently in The Future of Christianity: Reflections on Violence and Democracy, Religion and Secularization (2011).


On June 30, 2009, Dr. Peter L. Berger retired from the directorship of the Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs, which he had founded in 1985. Peter remains an employee of Boston University on the staff of the Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs, and also regularly participates in the broader life of the Boston University community, not least the School of Theology.

With the joint sponsorship of the School of Theology and CURA, we are proposing to hold the “First Annual Peter Berger Lecture in Religion and World Affairs” on November 11, 2011. The purpose of the event is not to praise Peter as he prepares for retirement – Peter is a still very active citizen in CURA and the University, and we are not in the least interested in rushing him into retirement. The November 11 event will instead serve as the first of a proposed annual lectureship entitled, “The Peter Berger Lecture in Religion and World Affairs.” Dr. David Martin – professor emeritus of sociology the London School of Economics, a widely published theologian, and a long time colleague at CURA and a friend of Peter’s since the 1970s – has kindly agreed to present the first lecture.

The purpose of the named lectureship will be to sponsor a state-of-the-field lecture by a distinguished scholar in some aspect of the fields in which Peter Berger has left a lasting legacy: theology, sociology, anthropology, and religious studies. We feel that it is appropriate that the topics of the lecture remain open. Religious studies in its true interdisciplinary sense is an evolving and wonderfully dynamic enterprise. Nonetheless, we also feel that the topics of the lectures should in some way reflect scholarship in the tradition of “Berger at Boston University.” The lectures might touch, then, on topics as varied as modern secularity and global religious revival; the social constructions of religion in modern times; global Christianity; Christian theology in an age of relativist challenge; the multiplicity of religious modernities; religion and globalization. Again, we emphasize that this list is intended to be illustrative not restrictive. The lecturer and topic for each year’s lecture will be chosen by the CURA director, the Chair of the Department of Sociology, and two faculty appointed by the Dean of the School of Theology. The selection committee will also consult with the Chairs of the Department of Anthropology and the Department of Religion before extending an invitation to each year’s lecturer.

The first annual Peter Berger Lecture will be of special importance because Berger himself will be in attendance. Equally important, in addition to launching the lectureship, we will use the event to celebrate Peter Berger’s contribution to the study of religion and world affairs at Boston University.

Schedule of Events (subject to change)

4:00 pm: Welcome

Brief welcoming comments by Dana Robert and Bob Hefner, explaining the dual purpose of the evening’s event: a celebration of Peter Berger’s contribution to Boston University, and the launching of the first annual Peter Berger Lecture.

4:10 to 4:20: Boston University Administrators’ Welcome

With tributes by:

* Vice President Andrei Ruckenstein, Vice President of Research

* Dean Elizabeth Moore, School of Theology

* Dean Virginia Sapiro, College of Arts and Sciences

4:20-5:45: Lecture: Dr. David Martin, London School of Economics

5:45-6:30: Reception

Location: To be Declared.  For up-to-date information, visit the CURA Lecture website.

Spirituality and Healing Fall Conference

October 26th, 2011

The RUAH Program of Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries (CMM) Announces an Enlightening Fall Conference:

“Spirituality and Healing: Interfaith Perspectives and Practices for Ourselves and Our Communities”

When: Friday, October 28th 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Where: All Saints Parish, 1773 Beacon Street, Brookline.

A Conference for Clergy & Laity, Medical Professionals, Students, Social Workers, And all who care about healing and wholeness.

Keynote Speaker:

Olivia Hoblitzelle taught in the field of Behavioral Medicine where she pioneered how to bring meditation, yoga, and cognitive therapy into the medical domain to treat stress-related and chronic illness. She helped to develop one of the first training programs in Mind/Body medicine in the country with Dr Herbert Benson and the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine. She is the author of Ten Thousand Joy sand Ten Thousand Sorrows; A Couple’s Journey through Alzheimer’s.

Closing Speaker:

Rev. Dr. Gloria White-Hammond is the Co-Founder and Co-Pastor of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Boston, Massachusetts, and Founding Co-Chair of the Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur. She co-founded My Sister’s Keeper, a women-led humanitarian and human rights initiative, and created the faith-based creative writing/mentoring ministry called “Do the Write Thing” for high risk African-American adolescent females.

Selected Workshops Include:

Dr. Syed Razvi MD- “Islamic Spiritual Practices in Everyday Life! Are They Different During illness?”

Prof. Roger Gottlieb- “Spirituality and Gratitude: based on his forthcoming book, Spirituality: What Is It and why Faith Matters”

Rev. Megan Lynes and Ms.Nazish Riaz- “The Healing Power of Interfaith Friendships”

Dr. Peter Stringham MD and Kathleen Kelly MSW/MA- Title TBD

For more information, contact or 617-244-3650 or visit our website at

The Real Cost of Prisons

October 26th, 2011

BU School of Theology and Partakes’ College Behind Bars are sponsoring a talk by Pippin Ross, entitled “Crash Course: A Reporter’s Journey Into Prison.”

Date and Time: Thursday, November 3 at 7:00 PM

Location: Boston University School of Theology, 745 Commonwealth Avenue, 3rd Floor Room 325

An article about presenter, Pippin Ross.

Pippin Ross, former reporter at WFCR talks about her years at Framingham Prison

Former reporter released from MCI-Framingham
By Dan McDonald/Daily News staff
Posted Sep 06, 2009

Doing time in MCI-Framingham may have landed Pippin Ross, who once ran a public radio station in western Massachusetts before she was jailed for multiple drunken driving charges, the biggest scoop of her career: revealing what she refers to as the “beast of the correction system.”

In July 2006, after facing at least four drunken driving counts, Ross was sentenced to serve 2 to 4 years in the state women’s prison in Framingham.

During her stint inside, Ross, then Inmate # 80554, did what came naturally: She culled stories, taking copious notes, documenting everything from the green Jell-O and mystery soup at chow time to the Zen of mopping and sweeping in the morning.

She observed.

Ross took note of the large number of inmates given psychotropic drug prescriptions , whether they needed them or not.

“Women get put on the drugs right away,” she said. “It’s what I call chemical restraint.”

At least 60 percent of MCI-Framingham’s inmates have open mental health cases, according to the Department of Correction. Ross suggests the number is actually much higher.

In a typed response to Ross’ statements, DOC spokeswoman Diane Wiffin said licensed psychiatrists, psychologists and clinicians are solely responsible for making clinical decisions.

Ross, the inmate, dug for news.

The DOC’s drug vendor is based out of state, says Ross. That is something Ross’ husband, Phil Austin, says many people in the state don’t know, and it’s something that “should make the average taxpayer livid.”

Wiffin says its medical vendor uses the State Office of Pharmacy Services for all medication, as is statewide policy for all agencies.

While behind bars, Ross ruffled feathers, filing a complaint about access to the law library and holding an interview with The Boston Globe. That move, she says, partially contributed to prison officials unfairly scrutinizing her.

She says her cell was often searched and some notes confiscated.

The Department of Correction declined to comment on those assertions, saying it would need a CORI waiver to get into specifics about Ross’ assertions of retaliatory solitary confinement and room searches.

Ross says legal services for the inmates are hard to come by in MCI-Framingham.

In the correction system, Ross notes there is “an ongoing philosophical civil war between those who are compassionate and those who say ‘Let them break rocks.”‘

Wiffin, in response to that statement, says the DOC is committed to re-entry into society as sound public policy which promotes public safety.

When Ross emerged from the Loring Drive prison in March with a deflated ego, the 53-year-old whose resume includes writing for the Boston Herald and Boston Globe, she knew she had a story to tell.

Ross now lives in a sober house in Malden and is writing a book with Austin, 56, of Nantucket, about her experience in prison and in the judicial system.

It’s an experience she labels “exhausting, demoralizing, and scary.”

Having just finished a cup of chai tea in a Somerville cafe Friday, Ross speaks matter-of-factly about her time inside. She does not break eye contact. She does not get emotional.

She calls prison the “epicenter of post-traumatic stress syndrome” and says nearly every woman she encountered in prison had been sexually abused at some point in their lives.

“Many, many women in prison are there because of a horrible experience that drove them to the edge. All of a sudden … the controls get lifted,” she said.

Prison is almost always the result of a twisted assortment of factors, says Ross, who originally hails from Fitchburg.

“Terrible public education, no affordable housing, and no access to help,” she said.

But Ross appears to buck such a criteria.

Educated at Dana Hall School in Wellesley before attending UMass-Amherst to study broadcast journalism, Ross was the news director for the National Public Radio affiliate in Amherst WFCR from 1986 to 1996.

She continued to be linked to NPR in some form until 2004.

Her decade-plus course in hard knocks began years earlier.

While alcoholism “was always there lurking,” things really fell apart, she says, when she was sexually-assaulted while she was working on an investigative story in the late 1990s.

Ross racked up four charges of driving under the influence of alcohol in a 2-year span, ending in the earlier half of the decade.

In 2004 she was sent to McLean Hospital in Belmont to get sober. Her stint was short-lived. Five days into her stay she shared a vodka nip with a fellow patient and was asked to leave. That development was probably a moot point. She says she couldn’t afford the $450 per day cost her insurance did not cover. Not paying for the stay meant a probation violation and she was sent back to court.

In February 2005, she was sentenced to a year in jail and ultimately landed in the Western Massachusetts Correctional Center on Howard Street in Springfield.

“It was my ashram. My on-the-taxpayer’s Betty Ford clinic ,” said Ross.

Three days before she was scheduled to be released, however, she was indicted for altering a court document by changing the number of drunken driving charges she had on a court document.

Ross says the count would not have affected her jail sentence and that it was a paperwork snafu; she said she had simply tried to make a minor correction to court documents.

The court thought she was trying to fudge documents to get out early.

Her attorney had a blunt assessment of the situation: “You’re smoked,” he told her.

She fought the charge of “before the fact aiding an attempted escape,” for nine months before succumbing to her attorney’s pressure, pleading out in July 2006. She was sent east, to Framingham where she was imprisoned until March.

She married Austin, a novelist with four published books under his belt, last April, two weeks after she was released from prison. The two, who first met as part of a theater production 27 years ago, corresponded while she was in jail starting in January 2007.

Ross, who has a 20-year-old son, is on both parole and probation. She is scheduled to get out of the sober house in December, but might be released sooner.

She has one article due to come out in the September issue of Shambhala Sun Magazine, an upscale meditation magazine, about teaching yoga in prison. She said she also is working on other freelance assignments.

The book project is nearly done and the couple is shopping the manuscript, which has a tentative title of “Crash Test Dummies.”

Reflecting on her prison stint, Ross tries to pull something positive out of her story.

She said, “It showed me how astronomically precious life is.”

Youth-led discussion on Interfaith Dialogue

October 18th, 2011

If you are interested in Interfaith Dialogue, join the teens from Youth-LEAD on Sunday, October 30 at 1 pm at the Mary Baker Eddy Library.

Youth LEAD is a teen-focused organization, with teens designing and facilitating the programs.  It was started in Sharon, MA, which is a town with size-able Jewish, Christian, Hindu, and Muslim populations.

For more information, read the Youth LEAD flyer.

Appleby Talk

October 18th, 2011

For more information on today’s talk, view the Appleby Flier PDF.