Grounding: Ecology, Faith, Hope conference in Ontario, May 25-26

Watershed discipleship artist and theologian Bob Haverluck will be the artist-in-residence and keynote speaker at the upcoming conference Grounding: Ecology, Faith, Hope in Bracebridge, Ontario May 25-26, 2018, at Bracebridge United Church. All are invited to attend. This conference follows the Muskoka Summit on the Environment (May 24-25). You can attend both (total $200), or one or the other. (See below for examples of Bob’s art.) Read more

Mardi Gras & Watershed Discipleship: an interview with Tevyn East

This Tuesday is Mardi Gras or “Fat Tuesday,” the last day before Lent (the season of fasting and prayer leading up to Easter on the Christian calendar). On Mardi Gras, many people gather for big events called Carnival: eating, dancing, and making merry. Historically, this Christian festival provides a means to purge perishable items before Lent while also allowing space for a rebellious mockery of existing orders. This practice of over-the-top excess right before weeks of self-denial may seem to encourage the unhealthy cycle of binging and purging in Western culture, rather than a more sustainable equilibrium of “enough.” However, with the historical context of Carnival in mind, we can see it as a celebration of community vitality, which often must take the shape of a defiant rebellion against the unhealthy constraints of a repressive church hierarchy. With this lens in mind, how can we approach Mardi Gras as a practice of watershed discipleship? Read more

Digging In: Heels, Histories, Hearts | February 19-23, 2018

Join us February 19-23, 2018 in Oak View, CA for the Bartimaeus Kinsler Institute, with a focus this year on “Digging In: Heels, Histories, Hearts.” Register for the institute by December 15, 2017 for early bird rates ($360 includes registration, accommodation, materials, and meals Monday night-Friday morning).

This institute offers an opportunity to gather with others from across the country to learn and share about strategies and leadings for living as disciples of Jesus here, now, in our particular watersheds and as a global community. Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries has hosted these institutes since 2007, encouraging Christians to go deeper in their faith through both inward and outward practice, following their motto: “Discipleship at the Intersection of Seminary and Sanctuary, Streets and Soil, Soma and Psyche.” Read more

Reflections on “Blessing the Waters of Life” conference

A beautiful, relatively smoke-free week in early fall greeted Presbyterians and others from across the country as they gathered at Menucha Retreat & Conference Center on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge the last week of September. After an unauthorized firecracker sparked the Eagle Creek fire in early September about 20 miles east of the retreat center, and a fire season with an unusually high number of days filled with smoke hanging over the gorge and Willamette Valley, I didn’t take the view for granted. The multifaceted issues relating to the fires brought home the need for the Presbyterians for Earth Care conference being held there, with the focus, “Blessing the Waters of Life: Justice & Healing for Our Watersheds.” Oregon Public Broadcasting reported on issues such as air quality, evacuation of local communities, the local economy, transportation disruptions, conservation and forest management best practices conversations, disruptions to education, threat of landslides after the fire and rain, difficulties for fish and fisher-people, threats to the drinking water source for Portland, and concern over tribal fishing areas and the health of the fish population tribes rely on as an important food and cultural resource. This one fire is an apt metaphor for the way that humanity is interacting with creation in harmful and avoidable ways, with multiple dimensions of consequences, and it is again feeling pertinent and relevant as so many are under forced evacuation around Los Angeles, CA right now due to the Thomas Fire and other fires in Ventura County. Read more

Webinar: Impact of Environmental Injustice on Low-Income and Communities of Color, Nov. 14, 2017

A webinar on Tuesday, November 14, 2017, will explore the topic: “Impact of Environmental Injustice on Low-Income and Communities of Color.” Sponsored by Presbyterian Hunger Program and Self Development of People, this free webinar will explore the systemic environmental justice issues facing communities of color and low income communities in the United States, offering suggestions about how to get involved. Learn about environmental laws, zoning regulations, the disproportionate burden of negative health impacts due to environmental pollution on communities of color, and how faith communities are helping address these issues. Learn more here. Register here. UPDATE: Find the full webinar online here.

Featured speakers include:

Shantha Ready Alonso, Director, Creation Justice Ministries

 

 

Elona Street-Stewart, Delaware Nanticoke, Synod Executive, Synod of Lakes and Prairies

 

 

Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Activist and Author

Earth Day at Eloheh and the EcoReformation

by Cherice Bock and Solveig Nilsen-Goodin

On Earth Day, April 22, 2017, we planted 150 trees at Eloheh Farm. Three groups worked together to make this happen: North Valley Friends Church, the Wilderness Way Community, and Eloheh.

Solveig Nilsen-Goodin is the pastor of the Wilderness Way Community in Portland, OR, and she had the seed of this idea when she began thinking about what her community might do to mark the EcoReformation this year, the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Read more

“Water is Life: Journeying to Justice on the James”: Reflections from the Eco-Stewards Program in Richmond, VA

by Vickie Machado

Recently, young adults hailing from the Willamette Watershed in Oregon to the Biscayne Bay Watershed in Florida gathered in Virginia’s James River Watershed to partake in the 10th annual Eco-Stewards Program, a grassroots community that shapes young adult leaders through place-based experiences that connect faith and the environment. Each year, Eco-Stewards organizes a weeklong gathering in a location that reflects the pressing issues of faith and environmental action. This year’s theme, “Water is Life: Journeying to Justice on the James,” arose in response to the prevalence of water issues—such national events as Flint, MI and Standing Rock—and was hosted in Richmond, VA. Participants received copies of Watershed Discipleship, a natural fit as it addresses the complexity of faith, water, and justice. The anthology acted as our guide, and its themes were reiterated throughout the week in our interactions and dialogue. We assembled in Virginia open to learning the stories of the James River and how its inhabitants are responding to the beckoning call to become disciples of their watershed. The idea, “We won’t save the places we don’t love, we can’t love places we don’t know and we don’t know places we haven’t learned” (Baba Dioum), became a common theme and was expressed even by those who had no connections to the growing watershed discipleship movement. Read more

“Blessing the Waters of Life” conference set for Oregon, September 24-29, 2017

Presbyterians for Earth Care invite all those interested to join them for a watershed discipleship-focused conference, “Blessing the Waters of Life: Justice & Healing for Our Watersheds,” this September along the Columbia River in Oregon. The conference will be held at Menucha Retreat & Conference Center.

A pre-conference gathering from September 24-26 will include a session by Ilarion (Larry) Merculieff on “Native Ways of Being & Knowing.” Merculieff is  a passionate advocate for indigenous rights/wisdom, and a member of the last generation of Aleuts raised in a traditional way. Read more

Eco-Stewards Program June 5-10

The Eco-Stewards Program will focus its June gathering on watershed discipleship. This gathering for young adults (ages 20-30) in Richmond, VA will explore the James River Watershed through meeting farmers, conservationists, faith leaders, and scholars, reading from Watershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting Bioregional Faith & Practice, visiting a power plant, space to be in nature, and telling stories connecting faith and the environment.

With the theme, “Water is Life: Journeying Toward Justice Along the James River,” the June 5-10, 2017 gathering will center around what we have learned from the non-violent, fierce love displayed at Standing Rock to show that water is sacred. Our lives depend on it, and our morality and faith demand we must steward it well if we are to love our neighbors. In the light of climate change and racial injustice, communities along the James River in and around Richmond, VA are actively living out this love both up and downstream in the spirit of revolutionary eco-justice. The program leaders invite you to join the journey, and to find inspiration, faith, and creative visions as stewards of water and neighbor.

Application Deadline: May 1, 2017

Cost: $375 (need-based scholarships available)

More info: https://ecostewardsprogram.wordpress.com/2017-program/