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 their guests; others pay $150. 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.
The next pastoral retreat will be from Monday, September 9 at 5:00 pm until 12:00 noon on Wednesday, September 11 at the Twin Rocks Friends Camp in Rockaway Beach, Oregon.
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 one or more presenters who bring local insights.
Sarah Augustine is the executive director of the Dispute Resolution Center of Yakima and Kittitas Counties and an adjunct professor of sociology at Heritage University. Sarah’s work is in research and mediation of racial and land justice. She co-founded Suriname Indigenous Health Fund, is a founding member of the Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery Coalition and has made significant contributions to the World Council of Churches.
Brian Ettling is originally from St. Louis, Missouri. Since 2017, Brian and his wife live in Portland, OR. Upon college graduation in 1992, Brian spent the next 25 years working as a seasonal park ranger in Crater Lake National Park, Oregon and Everglades National Park, Florida.
Since 2012, Brian is an active volunteer with Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) and The Climate Reality Project and co-founded the St. Louis Climate Reality Meet-Up. For the past 10 years, Brian now has given over 200 climate change talks in over 10 different U.S. states, Washington D.C. and Ottawa Canada as a park ranger, Climate Reality Leader, CCL volunteer and concerned citizen.
To inject humor and fun into this climate communications, Brian created his climatechangecomedian.com website in 2011 and wrote over 65 blogs on that website. His short humorous climate change YouTube videos where he appeared with his wife and parents got Brian a guest appearance on ComedyCentral’s Tosh.o in August 2016.
Ken Pitts is an Environmental Science School Outreach Specialist for Oregon Metro and has 35 years of secondary biology and environmental science teaching experience. He is also part of the local Climate Reality Project and the Portland Mennonite Justice Committee.
One thing he would want to say to church leaders about sustainability is “If you aren’t addressing climate change, you are irrelevant. Period.”
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