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 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 770  Worship and Sacraments (3)
  • 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 Lead:
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 635a Clinical Pastoral Education (3h of the CPE credits)

Choose 3 credits from one of the other tracks

Internship: MIN 635a, b. Clinical Pastoral Education or other Health internship

Faculty Lead:
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 770. Worship and Sacraments (3h)
  • MIN 790  Summer Intensive in Food, Faith, and Ecology
  • 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 Leader:
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)