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Discovering Renewal

Finding Renewal in the Everyday

Discovering Renewal will focus on seeking respite in everyday experiences.

A Montreat Conference Center Event
April 13–16, 2020

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 28:11

Our culture values hard work over rest. Burnout is rampant. Our jobs, obligations, and churches often expect us to work relentlessly. Hard work is good, but is it our ultimate goal?

We often preach about the importance of Sabbath, but how often do we take our own advice? We need time to breathe, think, and engage our senses. We may need to discover the feeling of renewal. Discovering Renewal will focus on seeking respite in everyday experiences.

Event Leadership

Brian McLaren – Devotion Leader

Brian D. 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. McLaren is the author of numerous books, including the award-winning A New Kind of Christianity, We Make the Road by Walking and The Great Spiritual Migration. A popular conference speaker and a frequent guest lecturer for denominational and ecumenical leadership gatherings, his public speaking covers a broad range of topics including postmodern thought and culture, Biblical studies, church leadership and spiritual formation, pastoral survival and burnout, inter-religious dialogue, and global crises.

Aram Mitchell – Track Leader (Intentional Hiking)

Aram is a Registered Maine Guide and Wilderness First Responder with an MA in religious studies from Chicago Theological Seminary. He's backpacked across Scotland, walked a pilgrimage in Spain, practiced yoga in Costa Rica, and has guided wilderness trips and urban walks of various durations for people of many ages, genders, and dispositions in 11 different states and a couple of Canadian provinces. Now Aram spends his days as the executive director of Renewal in the Wilderness devising ways to bring the wisdom of wilderness and regular rhythms of renewal into the lives of care providers, justice workers, and faith leaders.

Mary Carroll Dodd – Track Leader (Yoga)

Mary Carroll Dodd is a certified yoga instructor, organic farmer, wife, and mom of two young boys. As a (mostly) lifelong Presbyterian, the mountains of Montreat bring her peace and refuge.  Mary Carroll has practiced yoga for 14 years and taught a variety of students for 11 years - from high school youth to Guatemalan pastors to Montreat vacationers, most currently at Black Mountain Yoga. Amidst the busyness of life, work, and family, she finds peace and calm in the ancient practice of yoga and seeks to help her students find the unique path that works best for them.

Tanner Pickett – Track Coordinator (Fly Fishing)

Tanner has been on staff at Montreat Conference Center for six years as the vice president for sales, marketing, and communications. His greatest fly fishing success came when he caught three fish on a single trip, or so he says. Tanner is currently enrolled in the 2021 cohort of the Living School for the Center for Action and Contemplation and considers fly-fishing to be a contemplative practice.

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