Book review: Watershed Discipleship by Cherice Bock

In 2017 Cherice Bock is uwdndertaking a project which will include assisting us to revamp this website. She has recently had a review of Watershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting Bioregional Faith & Practice published by Sojourners (in the April 2017 issue). Her full review of Watershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting Bioregional Faith & Practice is available here: https://chericebock.com/2017/03/09/book-review-published-watershed-discipleship/

Amongst many other things, Cherice Bock, lives in Oregon where she teaches at George Fox University and its seminary, and serves as the community garden coordinator.  Cherice edits the environmental studies journal Whole Terrain, and is a regional editor for Christ & Cascadia, an online journal exploring theology and culture in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia.

 

Watershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting Bioregional Faith and Practice

wdAvailable now is the new anthology publication: Watershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting Bioregional Faith and Practice, EDITED BY  Ched Myers, Cascade Books (Fall 2016).

The much anticipated “Watershed Anthology” is now available. With over a dozen contributes, this anthology introduces and explores “watershed discipleship” as a critical, contextual, and constructive approach to ecological theology and practice.

More details here, or purchase your own copy today here.

CONTRIBUTORS: Introduction and Afterword by Ched Myers; Poetry by Rose Berger, Foreword by Denis Nadeau.  Chapters by: Sasha Adkins, Jay Beck, Tevyn East, Erinn Fahey, Katarina Friesen, Matt Humphrey, Vickie Machado, Jonathan McRay, Sarah Nolan, Reyna Ortega, Dave Pritchett, Erynn Smith, Sarah Thompson, Lydia Wylie-Kellermann.

 

 

Coming into the Watershed – Facebook roundup 11/17

Interesting recent posts from the Coming Into the Watershed Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/watersheddiscipleship/):

Mike Little posted about Potawatomi and Indigenous peoples are taking the lead in addressing climate change: http://www.potawatomi.org/news/top-stories/1855-potawatomi-and-indigenous-peoples-take-the-lead-in-addressing-climate-change

Bill Wylie-Kellermann let us know about Ryan Camero who is working with Restore the Delta, a grassroots group committed to restoring the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta:

 

Here is a great example of neighborhood based organizing around ecojustice and watershed work posted by Dave Pritchett – “Eastwick in the Middle: Organizing for Environmental Justice” by Media Mobilizing Project TV:

 

-Chris Wight

Watershed Now NC

Rev. Stuart Taylor is a longtime friend; he collaborated with me on “Say to This Mountain: Mark’s Story of Discipleship” (Orbis, 1994). A year and a half ago he participated in a week long workshop I led in Asheville, NC, not far from where he is based as a Presbyterian minister. He really drank the Kool Aid on watershed discipleship, and has since done magnificent organizing in and about his watershed. See the website below. Exemplary stuff! – Ched

http://www.watershednownc.com/

Preaching Watershed Discipleship in Kalamazoo, Michigan

This post first appeared on Churchwork and was titled A great Earth Day sermon. Earth Day sermons are hard. I didn’t preach one this year, even though I was preaching on a Sunday close to Earth Day and care for the earth is close to my heart. It’s just tough to find the words that inspire reflection and action without inducing guilt. But I was absolutely delighted to read the sermon that was preached at St. Martin of Tours Episcopal Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan on April 26th. Michael Stifler, a lay member of the congregation with years of experience in watershed management, was invited by the rector, the Rev. Mary Perrin, to preach that Sunday. His words are a perfect example of faith-based bioregional thinking – the kind of deep-rooted religion that I described in a recent (surprisingly viral!) post. I was honored when he agreed to allow me to share this sermon with you. Before I do, I have to give a shout-out to Ched Myers, whose work inspires both me and Michael. Ched was kind enough to connect us to one another last summer after we discovered him separately. When I read Michael’s words, I was inspired. Without downplaying the seriousness of our ecological situation, he offers faithful and practical ways to think and act for good. Most important, he roots our thinking and acting in the context of the great story of God’s work of redemption and reminds us of the infinite mysteries of the created order. By doing so, he helps us move closer to fulfilling our role in creation. Thank you, Michael Stifler, for the time and care you give to this work. Thank you, Mary Perrin, for recognizing the gifts Michael has to offer for this ministry. And most of all thank you, Lord God, for the inspiration you offer those who seek to conserve your great Creation.

April 26, 2015 Earth Day Sermon by Michael Stifler

Almighty God, you made the universe with all its marvelous order, its atoms, worlds, galaxies and the infinite complexity of living creatures:  Grant that, as we probe the mysteries of your creation, we may come to know you more truly, and more surely fulfill our role in your eternal purpose.  Amen. (Book of Common Prayer, page 827)

I would like us to open with an antiphonal reading of Psalm 65, which can be found on page 672 of the Book of Common Prayer.  We will start with verse 5 and read through verse 14.

Awesome things will you show us in your righteousness, O God of our salvation, * O Hope of all the ends of the earth and of the seas that are far away. Continue reading

Towards a a collaborative bioregional mission strategy

This post was first published on Churchwork under the title I said what our diocese most needed. Then I realized: nobody knew what I meant.

This Saturday, Episcopalians from greater Grand Rapids, Michigan, gathered with our bishop and staff at St. Mark’s, Grand Rapids for a Bishop’s Town Hall. This is the latest iteration of an annual event begun by our previous bishop. In times past it featured teaching from the bishop in the morning and workshops for vestry education in the afternoon. In those days it was billed as an educational event for new vestry members.

But this year, our new-ish bishop changed it up. He decided to use the morning portion to lead us in prayerful discernment. After a brief introduction and review of his work with us thus far, he invited us into a time of silent prayer for God’s vision and dream for our diocese. (He warned us ahead of time that the silence would be long enough that we might become uncomfortable.) When the silence was done, he led us through a series of questions for common reflection. Every comment was recorded.

We talked; our bishop listened. (Have I mentioned how grateful I am for my bishop?)

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I honestly don’t remember all the questions he asked. But I do remember one, because when I responded, it seemed like nobody understood what I was saying.

Continue reading

Watershed Discipleship: Transformation Through Picking Berries

 (Originally posted over at http://radicaldiscipleship.net/2014/10/17/watershed-discipleship-transformation-through-picking-berries/ ) Kyle lives with his wife Lynea on the 3rd floor of an old house in Cleveland. They have a couple egg-laying hens in the backyard and tons of red wiggler worms. Kyle spends his days working alongside folks with developmental disabilities on a 2-acre urban farm down the street from his house. In his spare time, he works alongside Lynea in the 2 youth gardens she started in the neighborhood. They are both passionate about growing food, spreading that knowledge, and figuring out ways to get healthy food to folks that don’t have access to it.

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A few years back, I had a dramatic conversion experience. Someone introduced me to the act of picking berries. Since then, I’ve had a bit of an obsession with finding these delectable treats, both wild and cultivated. It’s hard to describe the revelation that takes place when you first begin to pick food off of a plant with your own hand and put it directly into your mouth, but I think Wendell Berry says it well in this short phrase:

Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.

“Better than any argument” captures my attention, because while I don’t mind using intellect, I’m a terrible arguer. I prefer experiential learning or transformational experiences, and picking berries has been one of those for me. If I did have to argue the benefits, I suppose I could say that berries are good for you. They taste good. Picking wild berries for free seems a bit subversive, like cheating the system. It connects one with neighbors (I climbed a mulberry tree this year at a neighbor’s house, gave it a few shakes and watched the ripe mulberries fall off into our blue tarp below. Quite fun!)

It connects one with the earth. And in a day when many of us live in concrete-dominated cities (I live in Cleveland) and are seeking to be disciples in and of our bio-region, ingesting native wild berries (juneberries, mulberries, black raspberries to name a few in my watershed) joins us to the rhythms of our place – the rhythms of the sun, the soil, and the water that have teamed up to nourish the trees, brambles, and bushes that in turn nourish our bodies and spirits. In this we experience the tangible benevolence of the Creator, who looked and saw that it was indeed, very good.

One of my favorite spots to pick mulberries is behind an old, abandoned library. I try to imagine all the forces that have rendered this place useless, another human endeavor turned to rust and decay, forgotten and abandoned. I pick and eat, enjoying the shade of the mulberry trees that have watched all this happen, and continue to produce fruit that is indeed, very good.

Our mulberry-stained hands

Our mulberry-stained hands

The Water that Connects All Life: A Reflection on the Baptism of Jesus, by Jennifer Henry

Jennifer Henry is the Executive Director of Kairos Canada.  This reflection was given at “Keepers of the Water: A Vigil of Lament and Celebration,” on January 14th, 2015 (“The Feast of the Baptism of Jesus”; readings: Genesis 1:1-5 and Mark 1:1-11).

In these last days we have told the story of how Christ came into this world, the divine taking human flesh. How the mystery of his birth was understood by the marginal and eccentric ones—some poor shepherds, some mystical magi. How, vulnerable to a genocidal ruler, he was forced to flee as a young child. And how, in the accelerated time of our lectionary, he grew to assume his ministry, baptized into his vocation of justice and peace, charting a path that would change everything.  Continue reading