Posted by: Titus Presler | February 23, 2020

Workshops are equal draw at Earthkeeping mission conference on planetary crisis

The ‘Earthkeeping: Creation Care in Global Mission’ conference at Christ Church Cathedral in Indianapolis, April 29-May 1, has a terrific set of plenary speakers in Katharine Jefferts-Schori, Leon Sampson, Rachel Mash and Orlando Gomez.

But equally compelling are the workshops, which bring outstanding creation care leaders to share theological insights about creation care and their practical experience in addressing the planetary crisis of our time during this annual conference organized by the Global Episcopal Mission Network (GEMN).  Register for the conference here.

I’m so enthusiastic about the slate of workshops that we’ve been able to assemble that I’m including the current list from the GEMN website (I say current list because more workshops are in process).

EARTH CARE, SOUL CARE: GROWING IN SPIRITUAL RESILIENCE
The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, Missioner for Creation Care, Diocese of Western Massachusetts

As we face the cascading losses of species extinction and a rapidly changing climate, what do we do with our grief, fear, and outrage?  Where do we find hope as we struggle to protect God’s Creation?  What spiritual perspectives and practices can help us to move past burnout and despair and into the joy of resurrected living?  How can protecting Earth become a mission that nourishes rather than depletes our souls?   This workshop will explore a theological framework for “holding” our concern for Earth, its creatures and people.  Our time together will include presentations, guided meditation, and small- and large-group conversation.

The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas is Missioner for Creation Care in the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts and the Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ.  An Episcopal priest, author, and climate activist, she has been a lead organizer of  Christian and interfaith events about care for Earth, and she leads retreats in the U.S.A. and Canada on spiritual resilience and resistance in the midst of a climate emergency. Her new book, Rooted and Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis (2019), is an anthology of essays co-edited with the Rev. Dr. Leah Schade. She has been arrested in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere to protest expanded use of fossil fuels.  In 2016 she received the Steward of God’s Creation award from the National Religious Coalition on Creation Care. She served as Chaplain to the House of Bishops, and at Episcopal Divinity School (then in Cambridge, Mass.) she taught courses on prayer and spirituality, addiction, and the environment.  She is a graduate of Stanford (BA, Russian Literature), Harvard (PhD., Comparative Literature), and Episcopal Divinity School (M.Div.). Her website, www.RevivingCreation.org, includes blog posts, sermons, and articles.

GROWING COMMON GROUND
The Rev. Christopher Beasley and Mr. Chuck Dailey, Diocese of Indianapolis
In this workshop participants will learn how this congregation of 30 people and a bi-vocational rector stepped out into their community and built a network of relationships that now spans three counties in central Indiana. St. Peter’s Garden’s and Apiary was started in 2015 to connect our existing share gardens to our new apiary that teaches youth and adults in Boone County about our food systems’ dependence on bees. Utilizing eight acres of land where we have raised-bed gardens and long-row gardens, we give our produce freely on-site and to local food pantries and meal-serving locations in Boone County. In 2018, we produced nearly 1,500 pounds of food on ½ acre for distribution at the St. Joseph Catholic Church Food Pantry. Our teaching apiary brings over 200 kids each summer through our bee corrals. The Harvest House Community Center features an instructional kitchen that teaches others how to prepare and preserve food and how to freeze dry fruits and vegetables for later use.

The Rev. Christopher Beasley serves as Rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Lebanon, Indiana (twenty miles northwest of downtown Indianapolis). He is a 2014 graduate of Bexley Seabury Seminary. 

Mr. Chuck Dailey serves as Senior Beekeeper and Gardener at St. Peter’s with his wife Sandy. He is on the Board of the Beekeepers of Indiana and serves as the Education Chair for Indiana. He gives nearly 30 talks a year to schools, bee clubs, and other gardening groups around the state.

 

REPAIRING THE EARTH THROUGH A CARBON-OFFSET PARTNERSHIP

The Rev. Jeffrey Gill, Rector, Trinity Parish, Seattle, Washington

In 2012 the bishops of the Dioceses of Olympia and the Southern Philippines discovered they had a common interest in the stewardship of creation and decided to enter into a Covenant establishing the Carbon Offset Cooperative Mission. Carbon offsets from the Diocese of Olympia have funded a tree nursery and reforestation projects throughout the Diocese of the Southern Philippines.  The nursery not only is helping with carbon sequestration but is also creating jobs and income. Rubber trees, mahogany, coffee and other tropical varieties are being grown. In the Diocese of Olympia funds are raised through offsets for diocesan travel, and parishes participate through paying offsets on their carbon footprint. Since 2012 over 75,000 trees have been planted by churches in the Southern Philippines. In this workshop Jeff Gill will describe the Carbon Offset Cooperative Mission in detail through pictures and stories from his recent trip to the Philippines.

The Rev. Jeffrey Gill is the Rector of Trinity Parish in downtown Seattle, Washington.  He was ordained in the Diocese of Massachusetts and served parishes there for over 25 years.  He also chaired the Diocesan Commission on Wider Mission for many years.  Jeff is a native of Indiana, a graduate of Indiana University (East Asian Languages and Cultures and Religious Studies) and Harvard Divinity School.  He has been engaged in global mission throughout his life in a variety of ways in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe.  He is currently the Chair of the Global Mission Network of the Diocese of Olympia and a member of the Bishop’s Committee on the Environment, which has enabled him to be engaged in the Carbon Offset Cooperative Mission with the Episcopal Diocese of the Southern Philippines.  Jeff and his wife Carolyn love traveling the world and experiencing the beauty and diversity of peoples and cultures, which they intend to do more of after his retirement next August.

VIVE TU FE NATURALMENTE
The Rt. Rev. Orlando Gomez, Mr. Carlos Ramirez and Mr. Jeroham Melendez, Iglesia Episcopal Costaricense
Costa Rica’s story is about how it grew its population and economy without destroying its natural resources. Costa Rica took actions along interwoven paths that created a more resilient society and economy. They did this by finding multiple uses for their social, economic and natural assets. In the late 1980s, Costa Rica established a National Conservation Strategy for Sustainable Development. In the 1990s, Costa Rica went a step further and legislation that launched the Payments for Environmental Services (PES) scheme to fight deforestation.

In 2015 the Episcopal Diocese of Costa Rica celebrated its 150th anniversary of Anglican presence in the country, prompting a new challenge: to reinterpret our identity and how we present ourselves to the Costa Rican society and to the rest of the world in the 21st century.  We reaffirm our identity as Christians in the efforts of the nation as a whole and in line with the Five Marks of Mission of the Anglican Communion. Following resolutions agreed at the Anglican Consultative Council in 2016, the Diocese of Costa Rica celebrated its first Green Diocesan Council and approved a resolution to launch the Campaign “Vive tu fe naturalmente” (Live your faith naturally).  In this session, we will share our journey into exploring ways of walking in newness of life while caring for the creation with which God blessed us.

WHAT CAN I DO? – CHANNELS OF CHRISTIAN ECO-DISCIPLESHIP
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori
This workshop addresses the challenge of discerning how we as Christians can live faithfully and prophetically in the emergency of climate change and environmental degradation.  It will consider both stewardship and conversion of life, from water use to diet to transportation to consumption.  It will cover the broad range of eco-discipleship and the importance of exploring personal and community commitments.

The Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, oceanographer and former Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, has been vocal about mission priorities, including the United Nations Development Goals (MDGs and SDGs), domestic poverty, climate change and care for the earth, and international issues of peace and justice. In August 2019 the bishop accompanied a group of fifteen young pilgrims from the Diocese of Olympia on a  one-week Youth Creation Care Pilgrimage, departing from St. Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle and trekking to the beach near Forks-La Push on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

THERE’S LIFE IN THE WATER: HELPING THE POOR AND HEALING CREATION
Mr. Adam Mosley, Director of Global Business Development, Uzima Water Filters
Perhaps more than any other substance on earth, water defines and affects our existence in prodigious ways. It is the medium of destruction and death, the source of restoration and life, and the object of hope, anxiety and conflict around the world. Efforts to bring clean water to the poor must account for the immense and immediate impact clean water access can have on a community and on our world. This workshop will explore the environmental significance of simple household water projects that are designed fulfill the basic human right of clean water while reducing carbon emissions that disproportionately affect the world’s most vulnerable communities. For individuals and for our earth, there is life in the water.

From the hills of East Tennessee to the Rift Valley in Kenya, Adam Mosley has spent time as a corporate recruiter,  marketing director for a record label, executive director of a coworking space, and multiple roles at churches large and small, including his pioneering work as Lead Pastor of Trinity Vineyard Church in Nakuru, Kenya. In his current role as Director of Global Business Development for Uzima Water Filters, he spends his days working with people around the world who are helping bring clean water to the global poor, one family at a time.  He has a passion for seeing others live the life they are created to live, and for shining a light on the opportunities and challenges of living compassionately. His book, Missions Unmasked, chronicles his learnings as a pastor and friend of missionaries and challenges others in their approach to mission.

CREATION CARE IN HAITI: WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
The Rev. Donnel and Janet O’Flynn, Episcopal Volunteers in Mission, Haiti
There’s a proverb in Haiti: “Bèf pa janm di savann mési.” (The bull never says thank you to the grassy field.) And another one, “Se lè w pa gen sèl nan gode w, ou konn valè sèl.” (It’s only when the salt runs out that you understand the value of salt.)  The agricultural background of Haitian culture informs the understanding that natural resources are not to be taken for granted: they can and do run out. One visible change in recent Haitian culture is the wholesale shift from wooden dishes and bowls to one-time use plastics.  Up in the mountains a gourde, ”calabash,” is still cut and dried and used as a bowl, while down in the city the styrofoam boxes are ubiquitous. This is not due to some unique kind of ignorance: hear the wisdom of the proverbs. It is the story of all our world right now. This workshop will give examples of the kinds of vivid environmental problems in Haiti today, and the kinds of solutions that are being tried. Problems include trash management, deforestation, pollution by sewage, need for clean water, increase of heat due to climate change, and the long-term threat of rising sea levels. In the search for strategies, there is a tension between foreign-imposed or inspired programs and Haitian-generated programs.  When there is enough creativity, mutual respect, and patience to work through cultural differences to arrive at a solution that a Haitian citizen would actually want, good things happen.  Education in Haiti gives a win-win: people want and value education, and with it they find their own solutions.

The Rev. Donnel and Janet O’Flynn moved to Haiti with the Episcopal Volunteers in Mission program in 2015.  They were instrumental in starting the first academic program for Occupational and Physical Therapists in Haiti, with the Episcopal University of Haiti.

They have lived in Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York, and now live in Kalispell, Montana.  Donnel is an Episcopal priest and Janet is an occupational therapist.

 

BUILDING CLIMATE RESILIENCE FOR CHANGING GLOBAL CLIMATES

The Rev. Judy Quick, Deacon, Diocese of Alabama/Episcopal Relief & Development Speaker’s Bureau

Global climates are changing, and the number of climate-influenced disasters has doubled in the past 20 years.  Floods, hurricanes, and other events can devastate communities.  Episcopal Relief & Development works with the local church and ecumenical partners to help communities prepare for these disasters and recover as quickly as possible, focusing on five key areas: Improving Food and Nutrition; Creating Economic Stability; Providing Access to Clean Water, Hygiene, and Sanitation; Reducing the Impact of Disasters; and Managing Environmental Preparedness. This workshop will challenge participants to consider how communities around the world confront the reality of changing global climates and how the church and the community work together to mitigate the impact of climate-influenced disasters.  The workshop will invite participants to discover how families and communities can thrive in the face of climate challenges.

The Rev. Judy Quick discovered years ago that she was called to live a life of learning, share wisdom with others, and bring those of differing worldviews and cultures together on common ground.  After a rewarding career with BellSouth and the Centennial Olympic Games, her gifts led her to teach International Business and lead international projects for Georgia State University and for IAE, University of Paris.  Her diaconal ministries in the Diocese of Alabama have included serving as Diocesan Coordinator for Episcopal Relief & Development, Chair of the Companion Diocese Commission, Chair of the Department of Mission and Outreach, member of the Department of Development, convener of the Global Mission Roundtable, and Called to Transformation facilitator. She currently serves as Chaplain for the Standing Commission on World Mission and is a member of the Episcopal Relief & Development Speaker’s Bureau.

 


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