Saturday, February 24th, 2024


9:30 am – 3:00 pm


St. Paul's Episcopal Church

22 E. Chestnut Hill Avenue

Philadelphia, {PA 19118

2024 book tour

Hope is Here!

Spiritual Practices for Pursuing Justice and Beloved Community

A Retreat Day with Dr. Luther E. Smith

Saturday, February 24 from 9:30am – 3:00pm

Hosted by St. Paul’s in Chestnut Hill

Register Here


We face joyful and daunting opportunities to live into God’s dream of justice and beloved community today. Hope is more than wish fulfillment, optimism, or longing for things to be better. “We do not experience hope because we have intensified our efforts to be optimistic,” writes renowned teacher and author Dr. Luther Smith. Rather, hope is an enlivening force rooted in God’s dream for us and all the world.


The work of hope can enliven us to a life of personal fulfillment, justice, and beloved community. Hope is essential to the needed personal and social transformations that prepare us for such sacred opportunities. Focusing on the inner resources necessary to work for change, Dr. Smith will help us better understand the nature of hope and five key spiritual disciplines for cultivating hopefulness in our lives, the church, and communities:


· Contemplative praying

· Prophetic remembering

· Crossing identity boundaries

· Transforming conflict

· Celebrating community


With a particular focus on contemplative praying, the retreat day will seek to deepen our listening for God. How might such encounters with the holy reset our inner landscape, sustaining us through the struggles of discipleship that may otherwise overwhelm us? How does that lead us to cross the boundaries race, class, gender, etc. to draw closer to each other as we draw closer to God? And how can conflict be engaged in creative and constructive ways so that we may know a peace that is far more than the absence of conflict.


The retreat day draws and expands on Dr. Smith’s book Hope Is Here! Participants do not need to read the book to follow or participate in the retreat, although for those who wish to go deeper, the book is a powerful resource.


About Dr. Luther Smith

Luther E. Smith, Jr. PhD is Professor Emeritus of Church and Community at the Candler School of Theology of Emory University. His current research focuses on the writings and correspondence of Howard Thurman, advocacy on behalf of children, and a spirituality of hope. An ordained elder in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Dr. Smith retired from Candler in 2014. He has authored influential books on Howard Thurman, Christian community, and spiritual practice. His latest book is, Hope Is Here! Spiritual Practices for Pursuing Justice and Beloved Community.