The Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions (CSCS) and Mennonite Creation Care Network (MCCN) have partnered to offer retreats for pastors willing to confront climate change. Retreat locations are at Mennonite camps throughout the U.S. and Canada. Retreats are free to Anabaptist pastors, including meals and lodging. Others pay $225. Register here.
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. Do you think God cares about climate change? God’s ongoing care for creation seen in Job 38-41, Psalm 104 and Genesis 1-2 indicates that all creatures are valuable to God.
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. They Join other pastors in wrestling with what pastors 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.
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 a presenter who is in touch with the ecology of the locale.
Dates and Locations
Camp Friedenswald, Cassopolis, Mich.
Date: Sept 17-19, 2018, 5 p.m. Monday through 1 p.m. Wednesday
Register by Aug 31, 2018.
Amy Huser is the sustainability and outdoor education director for Camp Friedenswald and holds a master’s degree in resilient and sustainable communities from Green Mountain College.
Global South Voices on Climate Change
The Friedenswald retreat will also host a panel from the Global South. Members are community development leaders visiting North America for several weeks at the invitation of Mennonite Central Committee and the Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions. Each can speak to the impacts of climate change in their regions.
Durga Sunchiuri has worked as a program coordinator for MCC Nepal since 2015, and previously as a program officer for various NGOs in Nepal. He speaks to the impact of climate change on the lives of rural farmers in Nepal, out of his many years of experience working in community development here.
Dr. Sibonokuhle Ncube is the National Coordinator of Compassionate Development Service, the relief and development agency of the Brethren in Christ Church of Zimbabwe. She has 18 years’ experience in various development contexts. This includes programs in climate change management, climate finance governance, and disaster preparedness.
Zacarías Arecio Bernabé Martínez is coordinator for the program of Community development at ANADES (Asociación Nuevo Amanecer El Salvador). He has experience throughout the Central American region, including working with communities on issues of climate change.
Hidden Acres, New Hamburg, ON
Date: Nov 19-21, 2018, 12 noon Monday through 1 pm on Wednesday
Register by Oct 31, 2018.
Wendy Janzen joined the pastoral team at St Jacobs Mennonite Church in 2002 after graduating from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary. In 2016, she founded Burning Bush Forest Church, an outdoor worshiping community that meets in and around Kitchener-Waterloo. Wendy will be presenting with Doug at the November retreat in Hidden Acres, ON.
Camp Deerpark, NY
Date: Spring 2019; TBA
Planning is still in process on the Deerpark retreat.
If you or someone you know is interested in having a retreat in your area, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please direct any questions or concerns to Doug Kaufman at email@example.com.