The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas

Sunday, June 28, 2020
10:45am EDT

Location CHQ Assembly Video Platform

CHQ Assembly events are free with 30-day trial subscription.

We are grateful to the Geraldine M. and Frank E. McElree, Jr. Chaplaincy Fund for support of this week’s chaplaincy.

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Faith for the Earth: Love and Fear in a Time of Emergency

John 15:9-13 (NRSV)

     Jesus said: As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas is an Episcopal priest, author, retreat leader, and climate activist. She serves as Missioner for Creation Care in the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts and Southern New England Conference, United Church of Christ. A graduate of Stanford University, Harvard University, where she earned her PhD, and Episcopal Divinity School, she was a parish priest for 25 years. She has been a lead organizer of many Christian and interfaith events about care for Earth, and she leads spiritual retreats in the U.S.A. and Canada on spiritual resilience and resistance in the midst of the climate crisis. Her new book, Rooted and Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis, is an anthology of essays co-edited with Leah Schade. She lives with her husband, Robert A. Jonas, in Northampton.  

Husband of the Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, Dr. Robert A. Jonas is director of a small contemplative Christian retreat center near Boston called The Empty Bell. An active member of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies, as a Christian musician, Jonas, as he is known, travels to Protestant, Catholic, and Unitarian churches and retreat houses to play shakuhachi and to co-lead contemplative retreats with Buddhist teachers. A high point in his career was playing shakuhachi at a Buddhist-Christian retreat with the Dalai Lama, held beneath the Bodhi tree where Buddha was enlightened 2500 years ago.

Candace, known as Candy, Maxwell is Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Chautauqua Institution. Before being elected Chair in 2019, she served on the Institution’s Board for eight years. Ms. Maxwell is a retired health care industry executive with diverse experience in business strategy, leadership, governance and policy. She and her husband, the Rev. Scott Maxwell have been coming to Chautauqua every summer assembly season since 2001. They share their home in the Baltimore-Washington area with two golden retrievers, and delight in spending time with their two wonderful grandchildren who live nearby.

SecondNature Conference 2 171 thumbnailRobert A. Jonas will be a guest soloist, playing the shakuhachi, a traditional Japanese and ancient Chinese bamboo-flute,  during the Week One Chaplaincy of The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas.  

Robert A. Jonas, Ed.D. (Harvard University), M.T.S. (Weston Jesuit School of Theology) is the author of The Essential Henri Nouwen (Shambhala Publications) as well as Henri Nouwen (Orbis) and Rebecca: A Father's Journey from Grief to Gratitude (Crossroad).  He is now working on a book about the Holy Trinity as three dimensions of awareness.

Dr. Jonas is the director of The Empty Bell, a contemplative sanctuary in Northampton, MA, whose website ( ) is an extraordinary resource for contemplative Christians and for Buddhist-Christian dialogue.  Trained as a psychotherapist, Dr. Jonas is now a retreat leader, author, video artist, musician, and environmental steward.  A Christian in the Carmelite tradition, he also received spiritual formation with Buddhist teachers.

Jonas served on the Board of the Henri Nouwen Society and as the Board Chair of the Kestrel Land Trust in Amherst, MA (  He is currently a member of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies and of the Eckhart Society. 

Jonas is a student of Sui-Zen, the Japanese bamboo flute (shakuhachi). He has played in many secular and spiritual contexts and has played at three Buddhist-Christian retreats with the Dalai Lama, including a performance under the Bodhi Tree in India.  One of his CD’s, "Blowing Bamboo," is available on iTunes.

He is married to The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, who is the Missioner for Creation Care for the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ.