Degree Concentration: Religious Leadership
in Food, Health, and Ecology

Religious leaders today have unique and growing opportunities to impact congregations and communities by understanding the synergistic relationship between food, health, and ecology as each is broadly defined.

Public health leaders and institutions and religious leaders and institutions share much history and at least one goal:  the well-being of humans and the communities in which they live, work, and play. Religious leaders today become more effective when they cultivate a holistic view of wellness and learn strategies for helping faith communities embody this view in worship, education, mission, and other programs.

This Master of Divinity concentration explores the implications for and intersections of contemporary religious leadership with foodways, the health of the public, and ecology.

Curricular requirement: For each of the tracks, the concentration is 12 credits plus an internship. Students may also complete the concentration with 15 credits from any of the tracks [or with a Science, Health, and Ecological Well-Being (SE) area requirement], plus an internship. 

For students who wish to focus in one of the three areas, the following tracks are suggested.

  • Food Track

    Choose 9 credits in food and faith, for example:

    • MIN 561. Food, Faith, Health, & Community. (3h)
    • MIN 560. Field, Table, Communion. (3h)
    • MIN 660.  Sacraments and Ordinances. (3h)
    • HIS 630. Culinary Culture in Black Religious Experience (3h)

    Choose 3 credits from one of the other tracks

    Complete a food and faith internship

    Faculty Leadership

    Dr. Jill Crainshaw
    Blackburn Professor of Worship and Liturgical Theology

    Alumni Vocational Highlights

    • 2011 graduate, Regional Consultant, Partners in Health and Wholeness, North Carolina Council of Churches
    • 2013 graduate, Lead Coordinator, Forsyth County Food Consortium
    • 2013 graduate, Director of Hunger and Nutrition, Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministry
    • 2014 graduate, Executive Director, Peace Cafe
    • 2017 graduate, Founder and Co-Director, New Communion Mobile Food Market and Pantry
  • Health Track

    Choose 9 credits in faith and health, including:

    • MIN 561. Food, Faith, Health, & Community. (3h)
    • MIN 595a, b. Multicultural Contexts for Ministry: Nicaragua. (3h)
    • MIN 636a. Clinical Pastoral Education (3h)

    Choose 3 credits from one of the other tracks

    Internship: MIN 636a, b. Clinical Pastoral Education

    Faculty Leadership

    Dr. Mark Jensen
    Teaching Professor of Pastoral Care and Pastoral Theology

    Alumni Vocational Highlights

    • 2003 graduate, CEO and Lead Clinician, HOPE Counseling and Consulting Services
    • 2006 graduate, Rehabilitation Services Manager, Goodwill Industries of NWNC
    • 2008 graduate, Healing Touch Practitioner, Heart Two Hands Therapy
    • 2010 graduate, Mental Health Therapist and Case Manager, Woodburn Center for Community Mental Health
  • Ecology Track

    Choose 9 credits in ecological vocation, for example:

    • MIN 790. Tree of Life – Christianity, Climate Change, and Ecological Vocation. (3h)
    • MIN 560. Field, Table, Communion. (3h)
    • MIN 660. Sacraments and Ordinances. (3h)
    • MIN 562. Summer Intensive in Food, Faith, and Ecology (3h)
    • Courses from the Sustainability concentration
      • Fall courses
        • SUS 701: Global Human Systems. (3h)
        • SUS 703: Resource Management. (3h)
      • Spring course
        • SUS 702: Sustainable Organizational Management. (3h)
        • SUS 704: Environmental Law & Policy. (3h)

    Choose 3 credits from one of the other tracks

    Complete an ecological vocation internship

    Faculty Leadership

    Fred Bahnson
    Assistant Teaching Professor of the Practice of Ecological Well-Being
    Director of the Food, Health, and Ecological Well-Being Program

    Alumni Vocational Highlights

    • 2010 graduate, Program Associate for Community, Food, Health, and Ecological Well-Being Program at Wake Forest University School of Divinity
    • 2011 graduate, Creator and Facilitator, United Church of Christ (UCC) Southern Conference’s Creation Justice Network
    • 2017 graduate, Author, “With Our Hands in the Earth: Experiment in Eco-Liturgy” (forthcoming)