Blog

Ecological Theological Education -- from Zimbabwe to the United States

by abby mohaupt

In March of 2018, I was a participant in the Global Ecumenical Theological Institute in Arusha, Tanzania, as part of the World Council of Churches’ gathering. I went as part of my work with Green Seminary Initiative, but also as a representative for GreenFaith and my own research as a PhD student in Religion, Culture, and Ecology at Drew Theological School. It was a lot of hats to wear, and deep down I was feeling so grateful for the opportunity to travel to a new country to learn from colleagues and scholars from around the world. I scrambled to get tasks completed (including a e-newsletter) so that I could focus on the opportunity ahead.

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Animals, Agriculture, and Climate Change

CreatureKind has released an easy-to-use handout on understanding the connections between animals, agriculture, and climate change.

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A Christian Sermon on Earth Month

On April 2, former co-director of GSI (and current co-farmer at Sister Grove Farm) Rev. Sarah Macias preached at Brite Divinity School. Read her whole sermon, including a call to do a new thing to reconcile ourselves to each other, the earth, and God.

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Southwest Symposium on Theological Education: a Review

On March 13 and 14, Brite Divinity School, the Methodist Theological Seminary in Ohio (MTSO), the Green Seminary Initiative (GSI), and the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development hosted the Southwest Symposium on Ecologically Informed Theological Education at Brite Divinity School.

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April Regional Gathering at Boston University School of Theology

Join us in Boston for a regional gathering on ecologically informed theological education.

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Green Seminary Initiative and CreatureKind Announce Partnership

While environmental advocacy and animal advocacy groups have often been at odds with one another, Green Seminary Initiative and CreatureKind believe that a holistic, effective approach to creation care must include attentiveness to both the breadth of environmental issues and the particular concerns raised by industrial farming practices.

Green Seminary Initiative (GSI) fosters efforts by theological schools and seminaries to incorporate care for the earth into the identity and mission of the institution, such that it becomes a foundational part of the academic program and an integral part of the ethos of the whole institution. CreatureKind’s mission is to encourage Christians to recognize faith-based reasons for caring about the well-being of fellow animal creatures used for food, and to take practical action in response. Today the two organizations announced a formal partnership that allows CreatureKind to work with GSI schools to help them achieve GSI’s certification standards related to food policy and to encourage them to include concern and action for animals in other areas of community life.

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Podcast Review: Shifting Climates

by abby mohaupt, director of the Green Seminary Initiative

I’ve been listening to the podcast Shifting Climates, a “Podcast About Climate Justice + the Church.” It’s hosted by three recent college graduates and sponsored by the Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions.

Co-hosts Michaela Mast and Harrison Horst bring listeners along as they travel across the US Midwest and Southeast. They rely on personal and professional connections to interview people in a variety of locations about the impact of climate change on humans, ecosystems, and culture. They speak to people from a variety of Christian traditions about how they understand climate change and how their faith is informed by our changing planet. Over the course of the first season, we meet activists, farmers, educators, artists from around the world in rural and urban settings.

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Manifesto from Columbia Theological Seminary

Columbia Theological Seminary is part of Green Seminary Initiative's certification process. As part of that work, their Green Team has created a manifesto on how theological education needs shift theoretically in order to respond to climate change.

They offer it to the world as a starting point for other schools.

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Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary Continues Their Greening Journey

We are eager to share an update with the broader GSI community about Garrett-Evangelical’s progress towards certification as a ‘Green Seminary’. We’ve got exciting projects in the works and our team has come up with innovative responses to the demands of the certification process.

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Trash: Putting It in the Right Place

One of the most common questions that schools ask me is how to help their community know what can be recycled and what cannot. The community is confused or doesn’t have access to the information in a way that sticks. One of the easiest things to do is have good signage.

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March Regional Conference at Brite Divinity School

Join us at Brite Divinity School on March 13 and 14 to learn more about how theological education can address our ecological reality.

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GSI in 2018: A Year in Review

In 2018, the Green Seminary Initiative reached a significant number of seminary faculty, administrators and students through conferences and through the Seminary Environmental Certification Program.

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2018 AASHE Conference

Director of Physical Plant At Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary Reports on his Time at Energy Conference

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Join Green Seminary Initiative as an intern

Join Green Seminary Initiative as an intern

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Energy Webinar

Energy Conservation for Seminaries

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A Message of Gratitude from a Co-Director

“To everything there is a season…” and so, after much prayer and discernment, I have announced to the Executive Committee of the Green Seminary Initiative (GSI) that I will be stepping down as Co-Director immediately following the AAR/SBL conference on November 20, 2018

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Green Seminary Initiative At AAR and SBL

Green Seminary Initiative at AAR and SBL

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Global Climate Action Summit

GSI at the Global Climate Action Summit

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Looking Ahead with Joy

by Liz Lwanga, Executive Assistant to the President at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

Thinking back over this last year in the certification process, I feel a deep sense of pride and accomplishment. Our Green Team at Garrett-Evangelical has successfully undertaken so much, and I know the work we are doing has real, meaningful impact in the lives of students, the larger Garrett-Evangelical community, and in the world.

Through the Green Seminary Initiative certification process, we are building on steps we’ve already taken to act in our vocation as faithful stewards of God’s creation, and using the tools and resources of this program to take that work even further.

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Building the Bridge as We Walk

Robert Quinn’s image of “building the bridge as you walk on it”i is an apt description of the work of Boston University School of Theology in ecological sustainability and justice. Students and faculty have been working on these ends since at least 2005, but I will speak to the momentum that was building when I became Dean and upon which we have been building ever since. In my first semester (spring 2009), I was invited to contribute to a class in Ecological Ethics, and the students shared their “Green Seminary Vision.” I urged them to do more with this than a class project and to submit it to me so we could begin working together – students, faculty, and administration – to study and implement their vision. Within 3 years, we had implemented most of what was proposed in that document, and we have continued to build.

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Curriculum on Worship and Cross-Cultural Experiences

By Heather Elkins, Green Team Member, Drew Theological School, Madison NJ

Drew’s required worship class offers students the opportunity to read and interpret scripture and worship texts with cultural sensitivity, ethical and environmental awareness, and a critical understanding of their histories, interpretations, and applications in church, society, and creation. Each semester’s presentations, practicums, and readings encourage discernment of the holiness of space and time in community and creation through the structures of the life cycles, the Christian Year, the lectionary, and worship environments. Prayer traditions and practice now include the use of Drew’s labyrinth and weekly use of the Psalms that highlight human, nature, holy relationships.

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Reviving Social Justice and Civil Rights Through the Certification Program

By Faith Harris, member of GSI's Advisory Committee and leader of PSOT's Green Team

I was pleased that Virginia Union University’s Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology (STVU) was selected in the first cohort of the Green Seminary Initiative (GSI) Certification program. STVU’s participation in the certification program with GSI has been a wonderful opportunity to expand and raise the awareness among our faculty and students of the reality and impact of climate change. Our participation in the certification process has been inspiring and is reviving the social justice and civil rights history of Virginia Union University. From the very beginning, I knew that it would be important for our green team to include students as well as faculty and staff. Student members have been integral partners in the certification process, participating in the audit and contributing to the action plan as well as planning and participating in our classes and events thus far.

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Hope for the Movement

On the eve of Green Seminary Initiative's tenth anniversary, co-directors Sarah Macias and Abby Mohaupt reflect on responding to environmental injustice with theological education.

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Ten Years Ago

By Beth Norcross and Laurel Kearns, Green Seminary Initiative Co-Founders

In 2007, at the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature (AAR/SBL) annual meeting, the Green Seminary Initiative (GSI) was launched before a large standing room only crowd of over 300. Six distinguished scholars – John Cobb, Rosemary Radford Ruether, Norman Habel, Sallie McFague, Larry Rasmussen and Cal DeWitt– passionately urged religious educators to take seriously their unique role in confronting the environmental challenge.

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Ecology-Related Sessions at the Annual AAR/SBL meeting

As we do every year, GSI is pleased to share, GSI is pleased to share this guide to ecologically-themed sessions at AAR/SBL.

Download the guide here.

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Seminaries Get Certified to Meet Ecological Crisis of Our Times

Fourteen seminaries across the United States and in Costa Rica have signed on to a rigorous 3-year certification program to integrate environmental care into all aspects of their institutional and community life.

In October Boston University School of Theology, Hebrew College, Universidad Biblica Latinoamericana, Union Presbyterian Seminary at Charlotte, and Columbia Theological Seminary joined the nine theological schools already enrolled in the Seminary Environmental Certification Program an initiative launched in 2016 by the Green Seminary Initiative, a program of Drew Theological School and GreenFaith.

The divinity schools represent over five percent of the 270 seminaries in the United States.

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