Six Upcoming Conferences on Faith and the Environment
by Nathan Empsall, Tue Feb 23, 2010 at 01:37:29 AM EST
I am aware of six conferences on faith, environmental stewardship, and climate change between now and May. If you are anywhere near Omaha, NE; Chicago, IL; New Haven, CT; Spokane, WA; Fayetville, AR; or the Adirondack Mountains and have any interest in either religion or new ways to discuss environmentalism, please consider attending the event near you. The first two are above the fold. The rest, in chronological order, are below the fold, including the one I think looks the most exciting. If you are aware of any others, please be sure to let me know!
February 27, Omaha, NE: Sustainable Faith: An Interfaith Forum on Climate Change and Clean Energy
Repower America and the College of St. Mary will co-host this week’s event on Saturday from 1-5pm. Discussion topics will include eco-justice, eco-spirituality, how faith communities can get involved in the push for clean energy legislation, and what churches can do to be more energy efficient. We will hear from prominent local clergypersons, watch the documentary “Clean Coal,” and learn what congregations around the state are already doing to fight climate change and be better environmental stewards.
“These religious leaders and teachers are forming mutual ministries to address climate challenge,” said the Rev. Dr. Ken Moore, who will speak at the forum. “They recognize that the effects of climate change are devastating – especially on the vulnerable, poor societies. Transitioning to clean, renewable energy would help us preserve God’s green earth, while benefiting the U.S. economy and American families.” Moore is regional minister for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Nebraska and the board chair of Nebraska Interfaith Power and Light. Other speakers will include the Jesuit director of Creighton University’s campus ministry, the director of Justice and Advocacy Ministries ELCA-NE, and an Episcopal deacon and philosophy professor.
Admission is free, and RSVPs are requested but not required. For more information or to RSVP, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the event’s Facebook page. (Disclosure: I am organizing this forum on behalf of Repower America.)
March 18-19, Chicago, IL: Shared Earth: Interfaith Conference on the Environment
This event will be held at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, and is sponsored by A Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice (CCME). The two day conference will include four speakers and five workshops.
Speakers will include Claremont School of Theology Professor Philip Clayton, Shomrei Adamah founder Ellen Bernstein, Rubenstein School of Natural Resources Professor Saleem H. Ali, and Chicago Zen Center director Sevan Ross. Workshops will include “Organizing Environmental Interfaith Action Projects,” “Creating Faith in Place,” “The Care and Redemption of God’s Good Earth: Perspectives from Christian Theology,” “Caring for Mother Earth: A Native American Perspective,” and “Living Green at the Mosque Foundation.”
Admission is free but pre-registration is requested. For more information, visit the CCME’s website.
March 20, Spokane, WA: Called to Care: Creation Care Conference
There’s not much information about this event yet, but since Spokane is a place that is near and dear to me, I though I would include it anyway. Here’s what’s currently available from Earth Ministry’s website, which also includes contact details:
Earth Ministry staff will present at the 2nd Annual “Called to Care” conference in Spokane hosted by our partners at the Faith and Environment Network. LeeAnne and Jessie will lead a session on Advocacy for All Creation at the conference and spend additional time in Eastern Washington meeting with religious leaders and leading faith and environment classes in several congregations. Please invite your friends from the Spokane area to attend this community conference!
Details forthcoming as the date draws nearer.
April 8-10, New Haven, CT: Environmental (Dis)Locations
This event is co-sponsored by a number of institutions at Yale University and will be held at the Saint Thomas More Center, Yale Divinity School, and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
Over 20 speakers and panelists have already been confirmed. That’s too many for me to list here, but they come from institutions as varied as Columbia University’s Center for Climate Systems Research, Pace University School of Law, the Yale Forum on Religion & Ecology, Acción Ecológica and Oilwatch, and the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual (WATER).
Do check out the schedule at the conference webpage; it’s a pretty impressive lineup. The conference itself is free, and if you can afford time, travel, and lodging (and I know I can’t), it’s probably one worth attending. From the Yale webpage:
It will bring together activists in the fields of environmental justice and climate change with an eye toward addressing global environmental problems with community-based approaches. A central goal will be to help participants think about how religious communities can respond to environmental racism while confronting global ecological problems. There will be plenary talks and “think tank” sessions for developing strategies.
“Environmental justice advocates have developed models of resistance to environmental racism and created models for local advocacy and political resistance,” according to conference publicity materials. “Those working on issues of climate change have advocated for place-based ecological management schemes as a way to produce the social intelligence needed to understand and address complex environmental problems.
April 16-18, Fayetteville, AR: Caring for Creation
This Interfaith Power & Light event will be held at the Mount Sequoyah Conference & Retreat Center. The goal of the conference is to “connect participants with a supportive community that works collectively to nurture and celebrate God’s creation.” Of all the events listed, this is the one I most wish I could attend. The workshop list is varied and amazing.
The keynote speaker will be the Rev. Canon Sally Bingham, founder of IPL and Canon for the Environment in the Episcopal Diocese of California. Other plenary speakers will include John Hill, director for Economic and Environmental Justice at the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society; the Rev. Pat Watkins, Executive Director of Caretakers of God’s Creation in the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church; and Dr. Jay McDaniel, Professor of Religion at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas.
Workshops will include Alternative & Renewable Energy Solutions, Biblical Basis for Creation Care, Creating Your Green Team: A Model for Action, Creation Care in Children’s Ministry, Creation in Worship, Food Insecurity, Growing Your Church with Youth Green Engagement, Partnering with Community (city, local & state officials), Practice of Political Advocacy, Stream Teams: 70,000 Strong, and Sustainability Ethics: Discovering the Holiness of Place.
The 2 Nights-6 Meals-Program fee is a whopping $191.00 per person, but if I could get the time away from work I would totally pay it. Between the diverse speakers list and amazing workshop offerings, I really wish I could be there.
May 23-25, Speculator, NY: Leading Churches in Green Pastures
This event, tagged as “a conference for church leaders who wish to cultivate creation care in their churches,” will be held at Fowler Camp and Retreat Center in the Adirondack Mountains and is Sponsored by Camp Fowler, the Reformed Church in America, and its Regional Synod of Albany, and is in cooperation with (woohoo) the Episcopal Church.
Unlike the other events I’ve listed, this one will cost you: $50-$150, depending on timing and accommodations. But if it’s in your niche, it might be one worth traveling to. From the event’s webpage:
This conference will explore how faith informs our stewardship of the earth. We will worship and relax in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains, listening to and learning from both the natural world and other participants. Workshops will cover topics from gardening to preaching.
Steven Bouma-Prediger is a professor of religion at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, and holder of the John H. and Jeanne M. Jacobson Endowed Professorship. He has written four books concerning ecology and theology. His book For the Beauty of the Earth won an Award of Merit from Christianity Today in 2002.
Michael Schut serves as the economic and environmental affairs officer of the Episcopal Church. As a writer, teacher, and speaker, he focuses on the nexus between faith, sustainability, economics, and justice. He is the author and editor of Money and Faith: The Search for Enough, Food & Faith: Justice, Joy and Daily Bread, and Simpler Living, Compassionate Life: A Christian Perspective, which won an award from the Catholic Press Association in 2000.