BAR HARBOR, Maine — The Downeast Spiritual Life Conference scheduled to be held Aug. 23-24 has been canceled due to a low number of registrants.
The conference, titled “Spirituality in Our Times: Embracing Diversity, Building Community,” was to have focused on a multifaith approach to the life of the spirit. Speakers from Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist faith traditions were scheduled to participate.
“We have pondered the reasons for low numbers and have heard a variety of comments from folks who attended last year, but didn’t register this year,” a statement posted on the conference website said. “Many of them did not want to travel to Bar Harbor in the summer and found most lodgings in Bar Harbor too expensive in August. Others were unfamiliar with our speakers or thought the theme of this year’s conference was not focused enough on spiritual growth.”
Next year’s conference will be held July 11-13, at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, according to information on the website. The keynote speaker will be the Rev. John Philip Newell, an authority on Celtic spirituality.
Newell, ordained by the Church of Scotland, is the author of “ A New Harmony: The Spirit, the Earth, and the Human Soul” and “ Praying with the Earth: A Prayerbook for Peace. ” He will lead a retreat in July focused on “the new harmony between the spirit, the earth and the human soul as we look to rebirth the divine,” according to the website.
Formerly Warden of Iona Abbey in the Western Isles of Scotland, he is now Companion Theologian for the American Spirituality Center of Casa del Sol at Ghost Ranch in the high desert of New Mexico where he and his wife spend their summers. Newell also is the co-founder of Salva Terra: A Vision Towards Earth’s Healing.
For information about the 2014 Downeast Spiritual Life Conference, visit www.downeastspiritual.com.