Wind and prairie, mountain stream and spring peepers were among the instructors at the two pastoral retreats on climate change that Doug Kaufman, director of pastoral ecology, led on behalf of CSCS and MCCN this spring. They took place at Camp Mennoscah, Murdock, Kans., April 8 to 10 and Camp Deerpark, Westbrookville, New York, May 3 and 4.
Kansas may not be the first place that comes to mind when considering the impacts of climate change. But the pastors gathered at this retreat had personal connections to the topic nonetheless. Among their concerns were worsening allergies, concern for friends and relatives in Africa and the effects of shifting rain patterns on farmers. One attendee was studying flood plain maps for a family member planning a home purchase.
At left, Christy Miller Hesed Christy Miller Hesed, Hesston, Kans., an environmental anthropologist, discusses her work with African American churches affected by flooding in the Chesapeake Bay area.
This retreat included three outdoor worship services. The first was a nighttime service of lament. You are welcome to borrow from it.
The New York retreat covered urban issues related to climate change and injustice. Lawrence Jennings, a longtime community organizer from New York City, led the group in exploring environmental racism. (He is pictured here at an MCCN council meeting.) The fact that African-Americans and Latinos are much more likely to live near harmful industrial sites is one example. Lawrence connected principles of organizing and resistance to climate change with Anabaptist Mennonite principles.
The group also learned about Radical Living, the food and gardening ministry of Jason and Vonetta Storbakken, New York City.