- Fred Bahnson, Course Leader
Fred Bahnson is the director of the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative at Wake Forest University School of Divinity. He is the author of Soil and Sacrament: A Spiritual Memoir of Food and Faith (Simon & Schuster) and co-author with Norman Wirzba of Making Peace With the Land (InterVarsity). His essays have appeared in Oxford American, Image, The Sun, Orion, and Best American Spiritual Writing. His work at WFU School of Divinity has focused on training and equipping faith leaders to create “more redemptive food systems.”
After graduating from divinity school, he worked as a peaceworker among Mayan coffee farmers in Chiapas, Mexico, and in 2005 co-founded Anathoth Community Garden, a church supported agriculture ministry that he directed until 2009. He is the recipient of a number of grants and awards, including a W.K. Kellogg Food & Community fellowship, a Pilgrimage Essay Award, and a North Carolina Artist Fellowship in Creative Nonfiction from the North Carolina Arts Council. He lives with his family in Transylvania County, NC where they tend a ½ acre permaculture orchard, terraced hillside gardens, and a dwindling flock of chickens.
- William "Bill" Brown, Biblical Scholar-in-Residence
William P. Brown is an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA. Bill has also taught at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond and at Emory University. He is the author of several books and numerous essays on biblical interpretation and creation theology, including Sacred Sense (Eerdmans), Wisdom’s Wonder (Eerdmans), The Seven Pillars of Creation: The Bible, Science, and the Ecology of Wonder (Oxford University), Seeing the Psalms: A Theology of Metaphor (WJK), as well as editor of Engaging Biblical Authority (WJK). Bill is currently a member of the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton, where he is working collaboratively with scientists, philosophers, and ethicists exploring the “societal implications of astrobiology.” Bill is an avid Sunday School teacher and was a founding member of Earth Covenant Ministry, an organization of Presbyterian churches in the Atlanta area dedicated to creation care that is now part of Georgia Interfaith Power and Light (GIPL). Gail and Bill have two grown daughters, Ella and Hannah.
“Can God spread a table in the wilderness?” (Psalm 78:19): During the morning lecture presentations, Bill Brown will discuss biblical texts that convey the wonder and surprise of God’s work in creation, from Genesis to the Psalms to Revelation. It is no coincidence that Scripture is bookended by creation: “the heavens and the earth” in Genesis 1 and the “new heavens and new earth” in Revelation 21-22. And what happens in between is no less cosmic! God’s story is also creation’s story. Creation is no mere setting for God’s saving work; creation is a character in partnership with God. Every morning we will explore the character of creation in the Bible, creation’s voice, its praise and lament, creation’s provision and abundance, creation’s wounds and renewal, and how you and I can join in God’s work for creation.
- Rev. Stephen Blackmer, Course Chaplain
Stephen Blackmer is founding executive director of Kairos Earth and chaplain of Church of the Woods. Steve comes to this with 30 years of conservation experience, having founded and built conservation organizations including the Five Rivers Conservation Trust, Northern Forest Alliance and Northern Forest Center. A midlife shift led him to Yale Divinity School and ordination as a priest in the Episcopal Church, carrying the question in his heart and mind: “How can being a priest deepen my work to conserve the Earth? What does the Christian tradition have to offer to this work? How can the Christian tradition be re-understood and re-imagined in a time of need? How can the conservation movement recover its understanding of the Earth as holy ground?”
Lauds & Vespers: We will greet and end each day with corporate prayer grounded in the ancient practice of praying the psalms. As the week unfolds, our worship will echo themes of Christ-centered ecological conversion through silence, music, scripture, and brief reflections. We will offer a celebration of Holy Eucharist for our final evening together.
- Dr. Jill Crainshaw
Jill Crainshaw serves as Blackburn Professor of Worship and Liturgical Theology at the School of Divinity. She emphasizes in her writing and teaching how Christian worship and liturgy arise from and return to human experience. Her current research includes visiting local bakeries, wineries, and community gardens to gain a deeper understanding of how worship’s sacramental elements are connected to local fields and farmers, waters and artisans. Crainshaw’s teaching focuses on intersections between liturgical theology and sustainability, social justice, and “grounded” human experiences. Crainshaw is an ordained teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Crainshaw blogs at drdeacondog.wordpress.com and for Patheos’ Unfundamentalist Christians.
- Dave Workman
David Workman joined forces with Scott Unfried in the summer of 2006 to open West First Wood-Fired and to take on the responsibilities of running the Flat Rock Village Bakery. He has been working as a baker since his first bakery job in Missoula, Montana in 1994. Much of his experience has been on the job, although he has been to San Francisco Baking Institute several times for professional training. Before joining up with Scott, he was the head baker at City Bakery in Asheville, N.C. for 7 years. His focus has shifted from just bakery production to managing all aspects of a busy bakery/café. During his limited free time, he runs, cycles, and enjoys the company of his wife Amy and their two daughters, Isabel and Iris. He also passionately tends a vegetable garden to fulfill his family’s requirement for fresh organic veggies.
- Susan Sides
Susan Sides has been passionate about gardening organically for forty years. As a teenager, she read everything she could find on the subject and turned a portion of her backyard into an experimental garden.
Her love of the interconnectedness of living things led her to acquire a BS in biology in the 70s. From 1984 to 1990, she worked for The Mother Earth News magazine at their eco-village gardens, the first year as an intern, and thereafter, as their Research Gardener and Garden Writer. While at the Eco-Village, in addition to writing gardening articles, she was given the task of writing The Healthy Garden Handbook, which the magazine published under Fireside.
When the magazine moved from its Hendersonville headquarters to NYC, she and her family declined to follow. Instead, she remained active in the field of food sustainability, taught beginning gardening classes, raised small livestock, home schooled her sons and studied primitive gardening methods. Today, she resides with her husband Franklin in Fairview where they co-manage The Lord’s Acre Garden, a dream garden that brings together research, beauty, community and compassion.
- Julie Lee, Visiting Musician
“As a vocalist, she’s a powerhouse, owning a solid gold tremolo laced with attitude and blessed with range that she wields with style… a world-class singer.”
– Billboard Magazine
Just when you think you can label Julie Lee into one category or genre, you hear something different. Lee is a collage, a real scrapbook of various traditional American styles. In her songwriting, as well as her work as a visual artist, Julie takes bits and pieces from each of her myriad influences to make something of her own that is both old and new.
Though a Maryland native, Lee lives in Nashville, TN and has travelled and performed extensively across the US and Europe. She has had her songs recorded by Country, Bluegrass, and Contemporary Folk artists, most notably and recently by Alison Krauss, who included Julie’s songs Jacob’s Dream and Away Down The River on her most Platinum-selling collection A Hundred Miles Or More. Julie has also had her songs on the ABC hit show, “Nashville”.
“When I first heard Julie Lee I was taken by her ability to be artful, truthful, commercial and refreshing at the same time. Not at all easy in this day of artiface and facade.”
– Rodney Crowell