ABOUT the BKI 2023

Featured Resource People BKI2023

Our Elders:

  • former Executive Director of the Office of the Treaty Commissioner, Saskatchewan, is an advocate for Cree language development, board chair of the First Nations Trust, and former chief of his Muskeg Lake Cree Nation. He played a key role in last summer’s papal “pilgrimage of penance” to Canada to address the Indian Residential Schools legacy (see our profile of him in Sojourners magazine)

  • Rev. Janet Wolf

    Rev. Janet Wolf from Nashville has worked as a poverty rights organizer; United Methodist pastor; seminary professor; and collaborator with think tanks inside prisons. For many years she worked with the Children’s Defense Fund Proctor Institute’s Dale P. Andrews Freedom Seminary, focusing on public theology, transformative justice, and organizing to dismantle the cradle to prison pipeline in partnership with those who are/have been caged. Author of Practicing Resurrection: The Gospel of Mark and Radical Discipleship, she is a member of the National Council of Elders. Hear her speak about so called “unclean people” vs. unclean systems here.

  • We’ll hear (by video) from theologian, spiritual sage and longtime friend Dr. Barbara Holmes on the necessity of spiritual practice for sustaining justice work. Former President of United Theological Seminary in Minneapolis, her new book is Crisis Contemplation: Healing the Wounded Village (CAC Publishing, 2021). Learn more from and about Barbara here.

Musicians & Artists

  • Holy Fools

    Jay Beck, Tevyn East and Joby Morey will lead musical offerings. Jay and Tevyn are co-founders of Holy Fool Arts, the production company behind the Carnival De Resistance; they have planted their theopoetic work in the soils of North Carolina at Dreaming Stone Arts and Ecology Center.

  • Institute Artist in Residence

    Our Artist in Residence is Sarah Fuller, from Canada currently living in Los Angeles. She works mostly in the medium of linocut printmaking, and is inspired by religious icons, botanical prints, folk art, liturgical art and illustrations produced for Catholic Worker newspapers. She strives to make work that unites spirituality, social responsibility, justice, joy and a respect for the natural world, and to foster community through art making (left, from the L.A. Catholic Worker).

BKI2023: Just Community

Begin Your 2023 Lenten Journey with Kindred Spirits at the BKI!

   After three long years of pandemic “contraction culture,” we are venturing back into our annual in-person Bartimaeus Kinsler Institute. Like many groups, we do so with a mix of curiosity and anxiety.

   Why: We are mindful that landscapes have changed since we last convened in the Ventura River Watershed. On the political side, we’ve all been shaped and scarred by: Covid losses and learnings; worsening climate effects and prospects; imperial wars new and continuing; and social movement surges both hopeful and toxic. On the personal side, these last years have also brought transitions which many of us weren’t able to celebrate, grieve or commemorate communally, milestones including the sacramental (e.g. weddings and baptisms); the sacred (births and passings); and the vocational (job changes, geographic moves; publications or campaigns, etc.). What hasn’t changed is our deep need for ekklesia—kindred spirits committed to faith and justice who gather for discernment and reflection, support and solidarity, nurture and remembering, courage and joy.  Koinonia was undermined by the isolating forces of depression, distancing and deepening divisions—so it’s time again to tend to the soil and roots, seeds and shoots of radical discipleship.

   Where & When: You might recall that our 2020 BKI—which saw participants explore their Landlines, Bloodlines and Songlines under Indigenous leadership—took place just weeks before the pandemic shut-down. Subsequently many of you joined us for two rich online BKIs in 2021 and 2022. But we know that the best thing that has happened at our Institutes since 2007 is how we and you have met and befriended each other, forged connections and fostered collaborations. So, given the transitions noted above, we want to determine whether there remains a critical mass of beloveds and believers willing and able to come together again at Camp Forest Home Ojai Valley. Mindful of the tight economic times, we’ve trimmed one day off of our program—the BKI will run from 4 pm Feb 20 (a national holiday) to noon on Thursday, Feb 23—while keeping our prices comparable to 2020 (despite the Camp’s increased costs). But you have to show up, as we are unable to produce a hybrid program for an online audience. 

  What: Fittingly, our time will include Ash Wednesday. Together we’ll take time to re-boot, renew, re-vision and recommit to the Way ahead. Our BKI program will be a mix of:

  • Community curation (we’ll soon make a call for workshop proposals on your practices of watershed discipleship, Sabbath economics, restorative solidarity or biblical animation);
  • Conversation around reparations practices in our own watersheds (continuing our Indigenous justice focus over the last five years);
  • Time and space to celebrate and commemorate milestones missed;  and
  • Healing accompaniment from musicians and artists, elders and chaplains. 

Join us to begin the Lenten Journey together at BKI 2023! Because it’s just community we need.


   Watch: To remind your spirit and reawaken your senses, here is a video of our amazing artist-theologian-friend Ted Lyddon Hatten, whose “spiral of life on a damaged planet” is our featured image for the 2023 BKI. In this 7 minute video, curated for last year’s online BKI, Ted reflects on his “homage to Balthazar, the most exotic part of the nativity set I knew as a child. His skin was the color of chocolate and he carried a tiny treasure chest of myrrh, a costly burial spice...” We commend this meditation for Advent!  w

Watch now

Image right: "After the fall", created by artist Ted Lyddon Hatten for the 2022 BKI: www.tedlyddonhatten.com/