Center for Faith and Life

Connecting Faith and Life through Education, Exploration, and Conversation

The “center” is not so much a building, though the facilities of First Baptist Church of Asheville will be where most of the gatherings will happen. “Center” is, instead, the overall term for a cluster of educational and formational experiences aimed at connecting the challenges, opportunities, and callings of life with the resources of wisdom, beauty, and practice found in the Christian faith.
Our mission is to explore theological imagination, nurture vocation, and encourage engagement by offering gatherings and convening conversations at the intersection of church and world.
Four distinct approaches will be employed to address our mission:
Learning Gatherings for Education, Exploration, and Conversation
               Annual Speakers & Artists Series
Spirituality Events – including Retreats, Pilgrimages, and Labyrinth Walks
School for Theological Study – Seminary Level Theological Education for All

Spring 2021 Courses

Registration is open for Spring 2021. All courses are virtual via Zoom.
Please read below for more information.
The link to register for a course is found under each course heading.
Registration for each course is $50/participant. (there is a pay what you can option)
Please contact with questions regarding these courses.
Expanding Our Ideas of Prayer
Dr. Tommy Bratton
Wednesdays, 7:00 p.m., April 21 – May 26 (6 weeks)
Register HERE
Why pray? Does it make a difference? Many of us value prayer, but we often limit prayer to a formula we once learned or to simply listing our requests. In this course, we will explore prayer as a spiritual and embodied theological practice that forms our identity and character. We will listen to and celebrate theological voices from the margins and expand our understanding of prayer as vulnerable, enchanting, and participatory. Ultimately, we will consider prayer as a channel of grace that shapes all aspects of our lives that we might experience life abundant and free.
Who’s Afraid of Athanasius?
Dr. Beth Newman
Thursdays, 7:00 p.m., April 22 – May 27 (6 weeks)
Register HERE
What could a book written by a twenty-year old man almost 1,700 years ago possibly say to us today? You might be surprised. C.S. Lewis once said that every Christian should read at least one “old book” with every three new ones. On the Incarnation is not only an old book; it is a Christian classic. In his day, St. Athanasius stood against the world in order to defend and describe the beauty of the Incarnation and of our trinitarian faith. In this course, we will discover how the incarnation, as a renewal of all creation, is the source of joyful and courageous Christian living.

The Home Place: Exploring Race & Our Relationship to Nature
Heather Swanson
Tuesday, May 18. Book Discussion. Onsite, Chapel.
Saturday, May 22. Contemplative Hike. Onsite, Montreat. Trailhead to be determined.
Cost: $35
Register HERE
How do we experience belonging to place? How does our racial framework impact it? This 2-part Spiritual Formation workshop will draw from Dr. Drew Lanham’s beautiful memoir The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature.

In an initial online discussion around The Home Place, we will explore the intimate connection between our belonging to the natural world—God’s creation, and to one another, and consider the crucial role that race plays. A contemplative hike will offer an embodied opportunity to cultivate belonging through listening, noticing, and celebrating the beauty and particularities of the local landscape and its wildlife. Contemplative dimensions will include poetry readings from Dr. Lanham’s work, Psalm 104, and the spiritual practice Lectio Divina in Nature.

Through our reflections online and on the trail, may we experience the hope that loving land can heal and reconcile us to one another, moving us into deeper belonging and flourishing. 
Bio: Dr. Lanham grew up on a farm in Edgefield, South Carolina. He is Alumni Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology at Clemson University, ornithologist, author and poet, and a self-described ‘wild, wandering soul’.
The Home Place is available at Malaprop’s Bookstore as well as on Amazon.