Ecotones of the Spirit

ecotones-webpage-headerAn ecotone is the edge where two ecosystems meet – field and forest, ocean and estuary – and is a place rich with biological diversity, abundance, and opportunity. In this speaker series, we will explore the conversational ecotones where food justice meets faith, climate activism meets religious leadership, and where contemplative spirituality encounters the ecological crisis. Bringing together food activists, writers, and theologians, these gatherings will create a space where ecological and social challenges – food insecurity, climate change, environmental racism – can be held in tension with the Psalmist’s call to “be still and know that I am God.”

The series begins on Thursday, March 19, and concludes with a half-day conference on Tuesday, April 14th.
All events are free and open to the public.

sponsored by the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative
with support from Kalliopeia Foundation

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Pashon Murray: Food, Faith, and the Green Jobs Movement

Thursday, March 19, 2015
7:00 p.m., Brendle Recital Hall, Scales Fine Arts Center

Pashon Murray, founder of Detroit Dirt: Urban Renewal From the Ground Up and a media fellow at MIT with Van Jones and others in the green jobs movement, will speak about food, faith, and the empowerment of underserved communities in Detroit through the creation of green jobs.

This event is co-sponsored by the WFU Center for Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship, the Masters of Sustainability program, and the Forsyth County Food Consortium


sally-bingham-ecotones-webSally Bingham: Climate Change: A Matter of Faith

Wednesday, March 25, 2015
7:00 p.m., Wait Chapel

If you haven’t thought of climate change as a matter of faith, Rev. Bingham hopes to inspire you to do so.  Climate change is the greatest moral challenge of our time and the religious voice is the one chance we have to really motivate change in the way we think about and use energy.  Global warming which is causing the climate to change is no longer just an environmental or political issue.  It is a moral issue and the decisions we make today to either address it or not will dictate the future.  Come hear one of the country’s leading religious voices on climate issues, and learn of the hopeful work the church is called to undertake on behalf of God’s creation.


Ecotones of the Spirit: A Gathering on Contemplative Ecologyconference-speakers-ecotones-web

Tuesday, April 14, 2015
3:00 – 9:00 p.m., Brendle Recital Hall, Scales Fine Arts Center

Our guiding metaphor is the ecotone, a transition zone between two ecosystems. An ecotone is not so much a place as it is a heightened transfer of energy between two distinct entities. In these ecological edges between field and forest, scrub and grassland, we find the greatest exchanges of life taking place. Ecotones are rich and fecund, brimming with abundance. They are also places of risk, uncertainty, and death.

For those of us working on issues like food justice, sustainable agriculture, or climate change, we find ourselves simultaneously inhabiting places both rich with opportunity and aching with loss and defeat. Today’s challenges call for a strenuous, sustained response. Yet how do sustain our spirits in the face of hunger, social inequity, and ecological ruin? How do we develop a spirituality for the long haul? And what riches do we find in the Christian contemplative tradition that might aid us on our journey?

Join us as we bring four thoughtful speakers for a sustained conversation on these questions. Contemplative ecology is the place where action meets contemplation, where we hold in tension the groaning of creation with Isaiah’s assurance that “By waiting and by calm you shall be saved, in quiet and in trust your strength lies.”

  • Dr. Douglas Christie, author of Blue Sapphire of the Mind: Notes on a Contemplative Ecology,
  • Dr. Tyson-Lord J. Gray, religious scholar and an environmental activist.
  • Leah Kostamo, author of Planted: A Story of Creation, Calling, and Community, and
  • Gary Paul Nabhan,W.K. Kellogg Endowed Chair in Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Arizona Southwest Center