The Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions and Mennonite Creation Care Network have partnered to offer retreats for pastors concerned about climate change. Retreats are free to Anabaptist-related pastors and leaders from their congregations; others pay $230. This includes meals and lodging. If you are interested in having a retreat in your area or have questions, contact Doug Kaufman.
Who Cares About Climate Change?
Pastoral Responses to Denial and Despair
Do you care about climate change? If you are like most people, you think that the warming of the planet is real and caused by human activity, but give it a low priority. Conversations about climate change are often laden with denial or despair. These emotions do not inspire action. What do pastors have to offer this vexing worldwide dilemma?
A pastor’s voice can play an important role in working toward climate solutions. As spiritual leaders, pastors are schooled in Christian ethics and speak from communities rooted in hope and joy. They have a unique ability to guide others through the theological and emotional process of reconciling world views challenged by scientific discoveries. Join other pastors in wrestling with what you might have to offer conversations around climate change.
What to Expect
Pastors who attend a retreat can look forward to:
- supportive peer exchanges
- reimagining creation texts with a focus on humans as members of a broader community of creation.
- understanding the ethics of climate change with a focus on climate justice.
- developing practices of care and hope as ways to respond to the denial, despair and distancing that climate change evokes.
- listening for God’s guidance as we seek to become change agents together.
- developing a plan of action for life-giving changes in household, congregational and societal life back home.
- Pre-conference seminar at the School for Leadership Training, Eastern Mennonite Seminary, Monday, January 13, 9 am to 12 noon. Pre-register with the conference.
- The next pastoral retreat will be from Friday, January 31, 5:30 p.m. to Sunday, February 2, 1 p.m. at the Retreat Center at the Cathedral Center of St. Paul, Echo Park Lake, Los Angeles.
Doug Kaufman pastors at Benton Mennonite Church, Goshen, Ind. and serves as the director of pastoral ecology for the Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions and Mennonite Creation Care Network. Doug calls himself a river pastor, having baptized people in the Elkhart River for over 15 years and led a Hoosier Riverwatch group monitoring the health of the river. Doug has also been a conference minister with the Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference. He is pursuing a Th.M. in theology and ecology at Toronto School of Theology and will guide the retreats.
Each retreat will also include input from several regional presenters with experience and interest in responding to climate change.
Katerina Friesen, M.Div., lives in Fresno, Calif., on traditional Yokuts land. She works with incarcerated people to grow healing gardens in prison through the Insight Garden Program. Katerina is part of Mennonite Community Church and leads Wild Church Fresno, a gathering of Anabaptists seeking to contextualize the gospel in their watershed during this time of ecological crisis. Katerina will lead worship at the retreat.
Mark McReynolds’ love of people and God’s creation comes from a B.S., M. Div., Ph.D., and many years of camp ministry, missionary work and university teaching. Mark has traveled globally and has lived in the Dominican Republic (4.5 years) and Belize (4 years). Mark is a licensed Ecopastor with the Pacific Southwest Mennonite Conference. He leads SoCal A Rocha–a Christian conservation organization.
Rev. Dr. Deb Shepherd-Webster has degrees in physics (B.S., M.S.), astronomy (M.S., Ph.D.) and theology (M.Div.) She spent 30 years as a research engineer, training astronauts for the NASA shuttle program, and doing astronomical research and project management at CalTech and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. After receiving her Master of Divinity in 2015, she began to work in education and faith-based climate change initiatives for the United Methodist Church. Deb will discuss climate impacts in the region and congregational responses.
Adam Vega is a community organizer with Californians for Pesticide Reform. He is also the founder and coordinator of the Ventura County Coalition Advocating for Pesticide Safety (VC-CAPS). Adam holds a BA in political science and has experience with regenerative agriculture, solar technologies, rainwater harvesting, and promotion of Community Supported Agriculture. He will discuss the relationship between immigration and climate.
- Space is limited! We cannot guarantee free lodging for those who register after the facility we have rented is full.
- Each attendee should fill out the form, including both members of a married couple.
- If you complete the form correctly, you should be redirected to a confirmation page. If you end up back at the top of this page, please scroll down to see what you missed.