Past Events

  • How God Called an Atheist to Start a Faith-Based Ministry [September 2017]

    Food, Ecology, and Vocation: How God Called an Atheist from Las Vegas to Start a Faith-Based Farm Ministry and Steward a Christian Food Movement

    Tuesday, September 10
    5:00 p.m.
    Wingate Hall Room 302, Wake Forest University

    In a tremendous time of change for the church and all Creation, God is still at work. Discerning and following God’s call on your life is the work of a lifetime. Rev. Parish will share her own story and some of the stories of other reflective practitioners responding to God’s call at the intersection of Christian discipleship, sustainability, health and justice. What is a farm ministry? How does it connect to the church as we know it? What is the Christian food movement? How can we glorify God in our own day, engaging the deepest issues of our time with reverence and honesty? A time of conversation will follow her presentation.

  • Fighting Fire with Food [March 2017]

    Fighting Fire with Food: Growing Health for the Beloved Community

    Tuesday, March 28, 2017
    7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
    Greater Cleveland Avenue Christian Church, Winston-Salem

    This event is free and open to the public, but registration is requested. There will be a free reception following the talk.

    How can churches address the mounting challenges of a broken food system and the significant health disparities in our communities? Rev. Heber Brown and Rev. Richard Joyner will share their experiences of leading faith communities to find creative ways to overcome these challenges and nurture community resilience.

    Rev. Heber Brown will tell the story of the Black Church Food Security Network, which was birthed in the Baltimore Uprising of 2015. The network assists historic African American congregations in starting gardens on church-owned land and pairs churches with farmers to create a pipeline of fresh produce from soil to sanctuary.

    Rev. Richard Joyner will share the story of the Conetoe Family Life Center, which emerged in 2007 as a response to the poverty, malnutrition, and premature death affecting one community in eastern North Carolina. Its programs focus on educating children and youth through gardening and providing healthy food for the community. They believe that “by caring for the soil, their plants, their bees, and each other, the children at Conetoe Family Life Center learn what it takes to keep themselves and their community, thriving.”

    sponsored by the School of Divinity’s Food, Health, and Ecological Well-Being Program, in partnership with the following community partners: Greater Cleveland Avenue Christian Church (host), Forsyth County Food Consortium, Cooperative Extension of Forsyth County, Partners in Health and Wholeness, H.O.S.E.A. Project, Drum Majors Alliance of Social Justice & Reconciliation, and United Way of Forsyth County

  • Sustainable Spiritualities with Terry Tempest Williams [February 2017]

    Writing Resistance: Sustainable Spiritualities in the Anthropocene with Terry Tempest Williams

    February 6 – 9, 2017
    Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem

    From February 6-9, Terry Tempest Williams will visit Wake Forest University. Williams is a well-known writer, naturalist, and advocate for wild places. Throughout her life, Williams has published books of numerous genres, including poetry, nonfiction, documentary, essay collections, as well as children’s books. On top of this, Williams was a Guggenheim Fellow, and has won a number of prestigious conservation and literary awards. During her visit, Williams will host a four-day writing workshop, deliver a public lecture and reading, and engage with interested faculty.

    Student Writing Workshop
    February 6-9: Williams will host a four-day Writing Workshop, allowing graduate and undergraduate Wake Forest students the opportunity to hone their writing skills with a well-known and respected author. Completion of the Writing Workshop (all four dates) will count as a 1-credit hour course.

    Public Lecture and Reading
    February 7: Williams will deliver a lecture and book reading that is free and open to the public. The lecture will be in the Byrum Welcome Center Auditorium and will begin at 6:00 p.m. A reception will follow.

    Williams’s visit is sponsored by the Provost’s Fund for Academic Excellence, the Pro Humanitate Institute, the Humanities Institute, the Writing Program, the Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability, the Divinity School, the Environmental Program, the Religion and Public Engagement Concentration, and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department.

  • Cultivating the Soul and the Soil [January 2017]

    Cultivating the Soul and the Soil: Growing Food, Community and Jewish Spirituality at Adamah Farm

    Thursday, January 19, 2017
    5:00pm 
    to 6:00pm
    Wingate Hall, Room 202

    How can weeding, harvesting and pickling provide the backdrop for personal growth and community building? How do we use farming as a way of teaching and learning the fundamentals of ecology, religion and spirituality? For the past 13 years Adamah Farm in the Berkshire hills of western Connecticut has been growing a community of young leaders who are changing the way we think about Judaism, and about food, farming, and sustainability.

    Dr. Shamu Sadeh has been a professor of environmental studies, farmer, Jewish educator, writer, and wilderness guide. He has taught ecology, Judaic Studies, and environmental studies at Portland State University, Berkshire Community College, Southern Vermont College and the Wild Rockies Field Institute. His essays and articles on Jewish ethics, environmentalism, and family history have been published in Orion, Tikkun, The Washington Jewish Week, Response, Kerem, and the anthology Ecology and the Jewish Spirit (1998, Jewish Lights Publishing). Shamu holds a B.A. from Bowdoin College, a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies from University of Montana, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Portland State University. He co-founded and has directed the Adamah Farm and Fellowship for the past 13 years. He has the ancestral connections for his work at Adamah because his great grandparents were Jewish farmers who practiced the mystical art of composting. Shamu lives with his wife and two kids at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Falls Village, Connecticut.

    co-sponsored by the Food, Health, and Ecological Well-Being Program at the School of Divinity and Temple Emanuel (Winston-Salem), WFU Hillel, WFU Jewish Life Department, and WFU Global Food Committee

  • Faith in Literature Festival [October 2016]

    UNC Asheville and the Wake Forest University School of Divinity jointly convened  Faith in Literature: A Festival of Contemporary Writers of the Spirit on Oct. 21-22, 2016 on UNC Asheville’s campus.

    This two-day event was a gathering of 11 writers whose work deeply engages—by embracing, complicating, or wrestling with—a faith tradition or spiritual practice. The event featured writers from several faith traditions and will include readings, panel discussions, guided conversations that involve audience members, and two open productions of On Being with Krista Tippettwho is participating thanks to festival partner WCQS – Western North Carolina Public Radio.

    Krista Tippett, broadcaster and New York Times best-selling author, conducted featured conversations that were recorded for her Peabody Award-winning public radio broadcast and podcast, On Being. Tippett’s interview guests included poet and P. B. Parris Visiting Writer, Marilyn Nelson, on Friday, Oct. 21, and Pulitzer Prize winner and Goodman Endowed Visiting Artist, Isabel Wilkerson, who reads on Saturday, Oct. 22. Wilkerson’s reading also was a part of Pulitzer NC: The Power of Words, presented by the North Carolina Humanities Council.

    The festival was supported in partnership with WCQS, Asheville’s NPR station, with additional support from Malaprop’s Bookstore and Café as well as UNC Asheville’s Center for Jewish Studies, Center for Diversity Education, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute; and the NEH Distinguished Professor in the Humanities. This project was also made possible in part by funding from the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

    Conference co-organizers are Richard Chess and Evan Gurney of UNC Asheville’s faculty, and Fred Bahnson from the Wake Forest University School of Divinity.

    Featured Conversations

    Krista TippettBecoming Wise: An Inquiry Into the Mystery and Art of Living, author and host of NPR’s On Being

    Marilyn NelsonFaster Than Light: New and Selected Poems; The Fields of Praise: Earlier New and Selected Poems; Carver: A Life in Poems; poet, fiction, and non-fiction

    Isabel WilkersonThe Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, non-fiction

    Writers, Poets and Playwrights

    Fred Bahnson is the author of Soil & Sacrament (Simon & Schuster)His essays have appeared in Oxford AmericanImageOrionThe SunWashington Post, and Best American Spiritual Writing 2007. He is the recipient of the Pilgrimage Essay Award, a Kellogg Food & Community fellowship, and a North Carolina Artist fellowship in creative nonfiction from the NC Arts Council. He is Assistant Professor of the Practice of Ecological Well-Being at Wake Forest University School of Divinity.

    Scott CairnsSlow Pilgrim: The Collected Poems; Short Trip to the Edge: A Pilgrimage to Prayer(non-fiction, memoir), poet, non-fiction

    Amy GottliebThe Beautiful Possible (novel), fiction writer

    Shadab Zeest HashmiKohl & Chalk; Baker of Tarifa, poet

    David Brendan HopesThe Glacier’s DaughterA Childhood in the Milky Way, poet and professor of English at UNC Asheville

    Alicia Jo RabinsDivinity School, poet, musician

    Laurie PattonThe Bhagavad Gita (Penguin Classics Series); Angel’s Task: Poems in Biblical Time, translator, poet, scholar

    Lauren WinnerGirl Meets GodMudhouse Sabbath, non-fiction, assistant professor of Christian spirituality at Duke Divinity School

  • Summer Intensive: Bread in the Wilderness [Summer 2016]

    Theme

    Bread in the Wilderness:
    Summer Seminar on Food, Faith, and Ecological Well-Being

    “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. In the afternoons we will explore, through three workshops, how these ideas can be put into practice.

    A Report from the Intensive

    Faculty

    William P. Brown, Biblical Scholar-in-Residence, 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.

    Stephen Blackmer, Course Chaplain, 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?”

    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.

    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 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.

    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
; “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

    Workshops

    Standing on Holy Ground: Practices of Christ-Centered Ecological Conversion

    led by Stephen Blackmer

    In his recent encyclical, Laudato Si’, Pope Francis calls us to an ecological conversion — a profound interior transformation that recognizes, embraces, and embodies our relatedness-in-Christ with all beings and all things. In times when people lived more closely with the land and the natural world in the course of everyday life, such ways and practices may have been second nature. But in our time, when most of us are surrounded by and immersed in a world made by human hands and minds, such direct communion with ecological realities can be difficult. While we may be aware of the beauty of the wilderness or the threats of climate change, what can we do in our daily lives, both spiritually and practically? What practices and resources can we draw upon to open ourselves to this transformation? How does one go about this?

    This workshop will provide an in-depth introduction to tangible resources and practices that can awaken and enliven our hearts, minds, and bodies as we encounter and are transformed by Christ in and through the natural world. Through the week, we will simply enter into and listen for the presence of God in the natural world; explore what various forms of the Word — scripture, sustainability, and science — have to tell us; share joy and love, grief and loss; and participate in the mystery of the sacraments. At the end of the week, each participant will go forth with an intention and resources to take part in a world-wide ecological conversion.

    Saving Places; Savoring Graces: ​Exploring a Grounded Worship Spirituality

    led by Dr. Jill Crainshaw with special guests Dave Workman and Susan Sides

    E.B. White of Charlotte’s Web fame once offered these memorable words:  “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”

    Perhaps some of life’s activities are both saving and savoring work. What if when we garden and bake we both savor and save God’s good earth? By baking bread, gardening, and reflecting together as a part of this workshop, we will consider the saving and savoring possibilities of everyday life and places. We will also explore some of the sacramental and liturgical dimensions of everyday life and work.

    Schedule

    Monday, June 6
    3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Check In
    5:00 – 5:30 p.m. Dinner
    7:00 – 8:30 p.m. Opening Session and Vespers

     

    Tuesday, June 7
    7:30 – 8:00 a.m. Breakfast
    8:30 – 9:00 a.m. Lauds
    9:00 – 11:30 a.m. Lecture with Dr. Bill Brown
    11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Small Group Meetings
    11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Lunch
    2:00 – 5:00 p.m. Workshops
    5:00 – 5:30 p.m Dinner
    7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Vespers and House Concert with Julie Lee and Friends

     

    Wednesday, June 8
    7:30 – 8:00 a.m. Breakfast
    8:30 – 9:00 a.m. Lauds with music by Julie Lee
    9:00-11:30 a.m. Lecture with Dr. Bill Brown
    11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Small Groups
    11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Lunch
    2:00 – 5:00 p.m. Workshops
    Evening Sabbath Time and Dinner On Your Own

    * A chance to explore downtown Asheville, take a hike, rest, or read.

    Thursday, June 9
    7:30 – 8:00 a.m. Breakfast
    8:30 – 9:00 a.m. Lauds
    9:00 – 11:30 a.m. Lectures with Dr. Bill Brown
    11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Small Groups
    11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Lunch
    2:00 – 5:00 p.m. Workshops
    5:30 – 10:00 p.m. Eucharistic Dinner in the Garden Cabin*

    * Overlooking the college’s beautiful organic vegetable garden, this farm-to-table dinner on the porch will conclude with a special table liturgy in which Rev. Stephen Blackmer and Dr. Jill Crainshaw will lead us in celebrating Eucharist.

    Friday, June 10
    7:30 – 8:00 a.m. Breakfast
    8:30 – 9:00 a.m. Lauds
    9:00 – 11:00 a.m. Open Space*
    11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Closing Circle
    12:00 Lunch and Departures

    * Throughout the week participants will be able to jointly craft this final session.

  • Gospel Call to Sustainability: Living an Integrated Life [April 2016]

    The Gospel Call to Sustainability:
    A Model for Living an Integrated Life

    Tuesday, April 12, 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.
    Wingate Hall, Room 302
    Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem NC

    How are we to live as people of faith in a world devastated by ongoing ecological peril and endless war? Jesus’ nonviolent love teaches us how to read the signs of the times as ones of urgency as we attempt to live in harmony with our sacred planet and its inhabitants, human and non-human.

    For the past 34 years, Suzanne Belote Shanley and Brayton Shanley have been a attempting to live with others an integrated life as co-founders of The Agape Community.  They will present a community model of sustainability on 34 acres of land in Central MA which includes practicing contemplation, prayer, education in nonviolence and maintaining green buildings, constructed from the ground up, which include solar energy, compost toilet and a community organic garden among other ecological features.

  • From Living Water to Running Water [April 2016]

    From Living Water to Running Water

    Saturday, April 9, 2016, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
    Elkin Presbyterian Church, Elkin NC
    Cost: Free

    Water is a powerful religious symbol. In Genesis, God’s Spirit dances over chaotic waters to stir up and give birth to the wonders of creation. Isaiah promises that God’s people will be like well-watered gardens, like springs whose waters never fail. In the New Testament, Jesus is baptized in the waters of the Jordan River, and in Revelation, a river of the water of life flows clear as crystal. But many people in the world today lack access to clean water. Water is not plentiful in all places and in some places, waters flow less abundantly than ever before. This workshop explores relationships between the waters that sustain our everyday lives and the waters of baptism. Participants will consider how a greater awareness of the sacramental dimensions of the “places” where we live and work nourishes our capacity to contribute to communal and global water health and well-being. Workshop participants will participate in a creek walk, learn about local water gifts and challenges, and imagine ways to infuse Sunday worship with what they experience and learn.

  • The Wisdom of Trees with Dr. Diana Bersford-Kroeger [April 2016]

    Call of the Forest: A Documentary Film Screening and Talk
    by Dr. Diana Beresford-Kroeger

    Monday, April 4, 2016, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
    Scales Fine Arts Center, Brendle Recital Hall
    Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC
    Free and open to the public.

    The first day of a two-day event (see below), join us for a special preview screening of a new feature-length documentary film about Beresford-Kroeger’s work, followed by Q&A with her.

    Call of the Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees follows Diana Beresford-Kroeger as she tours some of the earth’s last, great forests, from Japan, Ireland, Germany, to the United States and Canada, meeting many of the world’s most ancient trees and educating people about their history and legacy – a history and legacy that is deeply entwined with our grand and benevolent neighbors, the trees.

    From Winnipeg, Canada, which holds the largest population of American Elms anywhere in the world, to the sacred sakaki and cedar forests of Japan, the walnut and redwood trees of America and the great boreal forest of Canada, Diana tells us amazing stories of how trees protect and feed the planet, producing pheromones and oxygen, filtering our air and water of toxins and sequestering carbon. Like a keystone in the boreal forest, the green of the modified chloroplasts hold up the world.

    Diana knows the science and the magic of what the trees hold within. She will tell you that trees have a larger genome than humans; that they talk to each other and they emit subsonic sound to attract migrating animals, birds and insects, and that they contain medicines that heal what we suffer from. She knows we must begin to value them for what they are: incredible banks of untapped answers to the diverse man-made problems of our world.

    co-sponsored by the WFU Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability

    The Wisdom of Trees: A Walking Conversation
    with Dr. Diana Beresford-Kroeger

    Tuesday, April 5, 2016, 4:30 – 6:00 p.m.
    Reynolda Gardens, Winston-Salem NC
    Free and open to the public.

    Following the film screening from Monday, join Diana Beresford-Kroeger for a walking conversation through Reynolda Gardens. The forest conducts a silent symphony of nature.  Carbon is banked out of the atmosphere and the salvation of oxygen is slipped back into the air.  Every leaf performs its quantum grab from the sun into the ring of sugar that smacks of food.  The miracle of medicine is released as aerosols that may touch the sky and resolve themselves as rain.  Even the dichotomy of one branch’s growth—of zero and one, our system of binary arithmetic—is an ancient proof of the divine.  Because nothingness holds the first place of existence in this universe.  And will be revealed as a sylvan embryo in the cathedral of the forest.  Again and again.

    co-sponsored by Reynolda Gardens

  • "Is God's Charity Broad Enough for Bears?" [March 2016]

    “Is God’s Charity Broad Enough for Bears?”

    Tuesday, March 1, 2016, 7:00 p.m.
    Wait Chapel, Wake Forest University
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Free and open to the public.

    The School of Divinity is pleased to announce that Elizabeth Johnson, Distinguished Professor of Theology at Fordham University, will be the 2016 Steelman Lecturer.

    “Is God’s Charity Broad Enough Bears?” is inspired from an observation by the naturalist John Muir. Coming upon a dead bear in the woods, he scorned those religious folk who excluded such noble creatures from divine mercy. To the contrary, he wrote, “God’s charity is broad enough for bears.” Is it? Making use of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, this lecture explores key theological themes needed for conversion to the earth in this age of ecological crisis. Rather than forcing a choice between heaven or earth, we seek to invigorate ethical behavior that cares for plants and animals with a passion integral to belief in the living God.

    Watch now.

  • Pope Francis' Encyclical and Reflections on Our Common Home [February 2016]

    Our Common Home: the Pope’s Encyclical, Climate Science, and Our Clean Energy Future

    Tuesday, February 16, 2016, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
    Wake Forest University Charlotte Center
    Charlotte, NC

    The world needs an ecological conversion.

    That’s the core message of Pope Francis’ powerful encyclical letter Laudato Sí (Praised Be). The human species has managed to run up a sizeable ecological deficit on all our earthly accounts—soil, water, and climate. From the way we feed ourselves, power our buildings, and transport our bodies, the evidence is clear: we need to transition away from fossil fuels and start building a clean energy economy.

    We need to work across disciplines to create a holistic way of approaching climate change. Pope Francis’s words speak to a growing hunger for religious leaders to model ecological leadership, and signals a generative role that the church can play in the larger society.There is also a growing public desire for the business community to support clean energy, which benefits both people and planet.

    Join us as we convene a lively panel discussion on this topic featuring a theologian, a climate scientist, and a local Charlotte business leader who is one of the country’s leading clean energy proponents.

    Panelists:

    Jay Faison is the founder and managing partner of ClearPath. Jay is also the founder and chairman of SnapAV, a high growth company that designs and distributes more than 1,500 audio-video related products to technology integrators worldwide. SnapAV was acquired by General Atlantic in 2013. A serial entrepreneur, Jay started, managed and sold two businesses prior to SnapAV and was named as 2013 EY Entrepreneur of the Year for the Southeast region. Jay has served on numerous non-profit boards and is active in his community. Jay holds a BA in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a MBA from University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. Jay resides in Charlotte, NC with his wife and three children.

    Elizabeth O’Donnell Gandolfo serves as Earley Assistant Professor of Catholic and Latin American Studies at Wake Forest University School of Divinity. Her research interests include feminist and Latin American liberation theologies, Catholic theology, and systematic theology. Her first book, The Power and Vulnerability of Love: A Theological Anthropology(Fortress, 2015), draws on women’s experiences of maternity and natality to construct a theology of suffering and redemption that is anchored in the reality of human vulnerability. She is currently involved with several projects, including a co-edited volume on motherhood as spiritual practice and source for theology, and a book on the practical and theological lessons that North American Christians might learn from the ecclesial base communities of El Salvador.

    Miles Silman is The Andrew Sabin Family Foundation Presidential Chair in Conservation Biology at Wake Forest University. His primary interests are community composition and dynamics of Andean and Amazonian tree communities in both space and time. His lab’s current research focuses on combining modern and paleoecology to understand tree distributions and plant-climate relationships in the Andes and Amazon. The work is focused on the Peruvian and Bolivian Andes and the adjacent Amazonian plain, with a particular emphasis in distributions along environmental gradients, be they in space or time, and includes both empirical work and modeling. The main study site now is a 3 km altitudinal transect from tree line to the Amazon plain in SE Peru, and has 16 years of experience in the western Amazon and Andes.

    Moderated by Fred Bahnson, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Ecological Well-Being and Director of the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative at Wake Forest University School of Divinity

    Wake Forest’s Leadership

    Over the past three years, the School of Divinity at Wake Forest University has emerged as a national leader in addressing sustainability, climate change, and food insecurity through the lens of faith. Our specific niche is training and equipping faith leaders. Through the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative, we train future leaders through a 15-credit certificate program in Food & Faith that is nested within the Master of Divinity degree. We also offer a robust continuing-education program. Our workshops, conferences, and retreats have attracted hundreds of participants from 17 states and five countries; from 10 colleges (Wake Forest University to Exeter University in England); and from more than a dozen Christian denominations, as well as from other faiths. With support from Kalliopeia Foundation and the Byron Fellowship Educational Foundation, we created the Re:Generate Fellowship, a national program for young faith leaders who work in the areas of food justice and sustainable agriculture. Every June we convene a 5-day summer immersion course in Food, Faith, and Ecology in the North Carolina mountains. Our university partners include the WFU Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability (CEES) led by Dr. Miles Silman (one of our panelists).

    co-sponsored by the WFU Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability.

  • Speaking of Climate Change: Sharing Stories, Cultivating Resilience [February 2016]

    Speaking of Climate Change: Sharing Stories, Cultivating Resilience

    Tuesday, February 2, 2016, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
    Porter Byrum Welcome Center, Kulynych Auditorium
    Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC

    Climate change is upon us and agriculture is inextricably involved. Fundamental to our identity as a species, crucial to the health and well-being of our communities, the way that we eat fuels the 21st century challenges that threaten our way of life. Sharing our hopes, our fears, and our own stories of adaptation sparks the social learning and innovation that cultivates community resilience.

    Laura Lengnick, soil scientist, and Dayna Reggero, visual storyteller, gather stories from across America to explore the connections between climate change, food, faith, and community resilience. Weaving these stories with the latest climate science and resilience thinking, Laura and Dayna share a message of hope for these troubling times.

    Dayna draws on more than 20 years of experience to teach about the power of story-telling through film, video, press, social media and community collaboration. Laura brings 30 years of experience as a sustainable agriculture researcher and college educator to her teaching about the ecology of food systems, climate change, sustainability and resilience.

    co-sponsored by the WFU Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability

  • Pope Francis' Encyclical and Reflections on Our Common Home [January 2016]

    Our Common Home: Reflections on the Pope’s Encyclical, Climate Justice, and the Call to Hope

    Tuesday, January 19, 2016, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
    Alumni Hall, University of North Carolina at Asheville
    Asheville, NC

    The world needs an ecological conversion.

    That’s the core message of Pope Francis’ powerful encyclical letter Laudato Sí (Praised Be). The human species has managed to run up a sizeable ecological deficit on all our earthly accounts—soil, water, and climate. From the way we feed ourselves, power our buildings, and transport our bodies, the evidence is clear: we need to transition away from fossil fuels and start building a clean energy economy.

    We need to work across disciplines to create a holistic way of approaching climate change. Pope Francis’s words speak to a growing hunger for religious leaders to model ecological leadership, and signals a generative role that the church can play in the larger society.

    Join us as we convene a lively panel discussion on this topic featuring a theologian, a journalist, a climate scientist, and a local community activist. We invite your participation as we rethink how to achieve a flourishing economy while preserving this earth, our common home.

    Panelists:

    • Dr. Gail R. O’Day, Dean and Professor of New Testament and Preaching
      Wake Forest University School of Divinity
    • Justin Catanoso, Journalism Program Director and Associate Professor of the Practice
      Wake Forest College
    • Jacqueline Patterson, Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program
    • Dr. Laura Lengnick, Soil Scientist and Climate Change Consultant
      Asheville, NC

    co-sponsored by the Office of Sustainability at UNC Asheville and
    Creation Care Alliance of Western North Carolina

  • Pope Francis' Encyclical and Reflections on Our Common Home [October 2015]

    Laudato Si’ (“Praised Be”): The Impact of Pope Francis’ Encyclical and Reflections on Our Common Home

    Tuesday, October 6, 2015, 7:00 p.m.
    Kulynych Auditorium, Porter Byrum Welcome Center
    Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem NC

    Conversations about climate change are often isolated among different disciplines. Scientists use the language of analysis and data; people of faith speak of morals and ethical obligation; journalists speak of social impact. And yet climate change is no respecter of geographic borders or academic disciplines; it is an issue that affects us all. With the publication of his widely-hailed encyclical Laudato Si’ (“Praised Be”), Pope Francis has called for a holistic way of approaching climate change, one that cuts across nationality, academic discipline, or religious difference. Join us as we convene a lively panel discussion featuring three WFU faculty–a theologian, a biologist, and a journalist– whose work in the context of Latin America can help us understand the impact of Laudato Si and rethink how we share this earth, our common home.

    Panelists:

    • Elizabeth O’Donnell Gandolfo, Earley Assistant Professor of Catholic and Latin American Studies, School of Divinity
    • Justin Catanoso, Director of the Journalism Program, Associate Professor of the Practice, Wake Forest College (see video below)
    • Miles Silman, Professor of Biology, Wake Forest College
    • Moderated by Fred Bahnson, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Ecological Well-Being

    co-sponsored by the Wake Forest Humanities Institute and the Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability (CEES)

  • Summer Intensive: New Heaven, New Earth [Summer 2015]

    Theme

    A New Heaven, A New Earth:
    Food Justice, Ecology, and Revelation 

    We live in an age when we can no longer ignore the ecological context in which all our personal and social actions play out. When we begin to learn more about the extent of our combined challenges—ecological degradation, social inequity, food insecurity, climate change—we quickly become overwhelmed. Our world is ill. We need healing. The magnitude of our generation’s challenges can easily lead to inaction, fatalism, and despair.

    Yet the long arc of God’s redemptive work, as reported by the biblical writers, is a hopeful alternative to despair or naïve optimism. The world will be made whole, those biblical writers tell us, and we along with it. In the book of Revelation we discover a compelling set of images depicting that wholeness—the Tree of Life, the River of Life, the Heavenly Banquet Feast. This is a vision of heaven come down to earth. “See, the home of God is among mortals,” John the Seer reports. Far from simply a quaint picture of heaven, such imagery has to potential to help us reimagine how we live now, starting with our own bioregions.

    Each morning during the course Dr. Rossing explored these images from Revelation as touchstones for thinking about the life of faith and how we grow and share food. In the afternoon, skilled practitioners in permaculture, ecology, and community organizing lead experiential learning workshops.

    For people of faith in search of wisdom with which to respond to our current “ecology of injustice,” this course offered knowledge, tools, and disciplines to help us “seek the peace” of the places in which we dwell.

    Faculty

    Chris Grataski is a Permaculture Instructor, Nurseryman, and Design Professional working across the continent and rooted in the diverse landscapes between Appalachia and the Chesapeake Bay. Drawing heavily on the bioregionalist vision, he works as an herbalist, grassroots educator and design activist committed to social and ecological justice. He is currently completing a Master’s Degree in Applied Ecology.

    Na’Taki Osborne Jelks is an environmental health scientist, social change engineer, and educator working for a healthy, just, and sustainable future.  She has over 18 years of community, non-profit, and government experience working to address environmental challenges facing communities of color.  Over 15 years ago, she co-founded the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (WAWA), an urban, community-based organization made up of residents living in the Proctor, Utoy, and Sandy Creek Watersheds in Northwest and Southwest Atlanta, Georgia who are overburdened with environmental stressors and pollution, but often least represented at environmental decision-making tables. WAWA was established as a result of community efforts to halt discriminatory wastewater treatment practices in West Atlanta, and the organization has grown to become an impactful force in community-centered sustainable development. Jelks currently serves as the organization’s Board Chairperson.

    When she is not busy trying to transform toxic landscapes into healthy communities, Mrs. Jelks serves as an adjunct Instructor in the Environmental Science and Studies Program at Spelman College, her alma mater, and she is a Ph.D. candidate at the Georgia State University School of Public Health in Atlanta.  Recognized as a 2014 White House Champion of Change for her efforts to engage urban communities and youth of color in environmental stewardship through hands-on watershed and land restoration initiatives, Jelks co-founded the Atlanta Earth Tomorrow® Program, National Wildlife Federation’s multi-cultural environmental education and leadership development program for urban teens.  As an unprecedented model for empowering inner-city teens to improve their communities, youth from neighborhoods highly impacted by pollution and economic disparities develop and implement bold, innovative solutions that advance urban sustainability.

    Mrs. Jelks is married to Rev. Ken Jelks and is mother to an active five-year old son, Kenyatta. A published poet, she is working on her first book of non-fiction, Rooted Resistance: Women of Color and Environmental Justice.

    Sarah Nolan has worked in both the sustainable agriculture and non-profit sectors for almost 10 years and is a founding member of two different small to mid-size farms in Southern California; one a worker-owner cooperative (South Central Farmers’ Cooperative) and the other, The Abundant Table’s not-for-profit educational farm. In her capacity as Director of Programs and Community Partnerships at the Abundant Table, Sarah provides overall vision, leadership and management of the young adult internship program, the Campus Ministry at California State University, Channel Islands and our small-scale diversified farm operations, including growing, packing, direct marketing, distribution, permits, and finances.

    In addition to her faith-rooted and farm-based activities, she actively participates in multiple regional and statewide networks, including the California Regional Food Hub Network, the Los Angeles Food Policy Council “food systems” working group, and the Ventura County Farm to School Collaborative. She serves on the steering committee for the California State Farm to School Network and in July 2014 began a 2-year Environmental Stewardship Fellowship through the National Episcopal Church for her sustainable agriculture and farm to faith work. Sarah earned a double bachelors of arts in philosophy and theology from Azusa Pacific University and recently completed a graduate degree in ministry, leadership and service at Claremont School of Theology.

    Rev. Nurya Love Parish is a priest, writer, and speaker. She helps Christian leaders imagine and create faithfully innovative ways to live the gospel so we can glorify God, steward God’s creation, and teach the faith to future generations. She serves St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (Grand Rapids, MI) as half-time Associate Priest with a focus on formation ministries for families, children and youth. Her blog, Churchwork, provides insights and commentary on the Episcopal Church and tracks the development of the Christian food movement through the new Faith + Farm + Food guide.

    An adult convert to Christianity and to the Episcopal Church, she has served in ministry positions for over twenty years, five of them within the Episcopal Church. She holds a M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School and a Certificate of Anglican Studies from Seabury-Western Theological School.

    Rev. Parish has been a participant-observer in the sustainable food movement since the 1990′s. While serving as her local humanities council’s director in 2009, she conceived of and produced a documentary titled “Eating in Place,” in cooperation with Calvin College, which subsequently aired on PBS in Michigan statewide. She is a member of the working Steering Committee of the nascent Episcopal Faith/Farm/Food Network and is in the planning phase of a farm-based ministry incorporating Christian formation and environmental education.

    Charles Pettee made his first foray into traditional music as a child in Asheville, North Carolina. Upon his relocation to Chapel Hill in the early 1980s, Pettee—by this time an accomplished guitarist, mandolinist, singer and songwriter—was drafted into the Shady Grove Band, an internationally known bluegrass group with whom he continues to tour and record. In 2003, Pettee founded FolkPsalm, a group the Independent Weekly described as “rich, engaging new acoustic and bluegrass. . . . The most sophisticated and moving of Pettee’s career.” For three decades and across multiple continents, Pettee has served as an ambassador of traditional music of the North Carolina Piedmont, logging more than 5000 performances in the process. In Pettee’s music, says Pastor Mitchell Simpson of Chapel Hill’s University Baptist Church, “something very old and very true is at work.”

    The Rev. Dr. Barbara R. Rossing is professor of New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, where she has taught since 1994. She loves to teach and preach about the Bible, including the Bible’s role in public life.

    An avid environmentalist, Rossing is involved with environmental initiatives at the seminary. Rossing received the bachelor of arts degree from Carleton College, the master of divinity degree from Yale University Divinity School and the doctor of theology degree from Harvard University.

    She served as pastor of a congregation in Minnesota, director for Global Mission Interpretation for the American Lutheran Church, pastor at Holden Village Retreat Center, Chelan, Wash., and chaplain at Harvard University Divinity School.

    Rossing has lectured and preached widely, including synod assemblies and global mission events for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), as well as ecumenical theological conferences. She has served on the executive committee and council of the Lutheran World Federation (2003-2010), and chaired the Lutheran World Federation’s theology and studies committee. She currently serves on the advisory committee for The Lutheran Magazine.

    As a public theologian her media appearances have included “CBS Sixty Minutes” as well as  The History Channel, National Geographic, Living the Questions, and numerous print and radio interviews.

    Her publications include The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation (Basic Books, 2004); The Choice Between Two Cities: Whore, Bride and Empire in the Apocalypse (Trinity Press, 1999); two volumes of the New Proclamation commentary (Fortress Press, 2000 and 2004); a nine-session Bible study, Journeys Through Revelation: Apocalyptic Hope for Today (Presbyterian Women, 2010); and articles and book chapters on the Apocalypse and ecology.

    Workshops

    Track I – Permaculture, Applied Ecology, and the Future of Food

    with Chris Grataski

    “Permaculture Design” is an ecological design discipline and suite of practices concerned with rethinking the nature of human habitats—from the built environment that we create for shelter to the biological systems that provide our food and water.  More than just a gardening technique, permaculture is a discipline committed to reconciliation between the human community and the landscapes upon which we depend.  It is an imaginative and interdisciplinary constellation of practices rooted in the recognition that humans are a part of wild nature, rather than apart from it.  As such, it is deeply resonant with the fundamental convictions of biblical faith that understand salvation and shalom as tied to regeneration and reconciliation – God’s healing work to restore creaturehood and overcome division.

    This workshop will offer an introduction to permaculture skills, principles and ethics with a focus on healing soil and producing nutrient dense food and medicine.  We’ll introduce a variety of practical skills – tailoring the content to the skill level and interest of workshop participants – including topsoil development and remediation, plant propagation, reading the landscape, designing a food forest, and learning to work with, rather than against, insects and other wildlife.

    Track II – Growing and Sustaining a Faith-Based Food and Social Justice Initiative

    with Na’Taki Osborne Jelks and Sarah Nolan

    This three-part session will explore the guiding principles for responsive and responsible community development, as well as the nuts and bolts of growing and sustaining faith-based food and agricultural ministries focused on social change. Through interactive and collaborative engagement of transformative stories of place and purpose, we will cover topics ranging from theories of social change, community organizing, environmental justice, ingredients for successful partnerships, leadership development, fundraising, and more. Through a combination of brief assignments completed before and during the course, participants will guided through activities that will compel them to connect their own sense of place — the watersheds and communities from which they hail — to mission-based work rooted in social justice.

    Morning Lectures

    1. Rapture in Reverse: God Comes to Earth

    Revelation takes us on a journey of hope and transformation, a journey into the heart of God’s own dream for our world. The entire book of Revelation leads up to the wondrous vision of New Jerusalem, the city of beauty, welcome, and ecological renewal that descends from heaven to the earth. As followers of Jesus the Lamb, God’s people undertake an Exodus out of the Roman imperial system into life. God comes to live with us on earth. This vision is the very opposite of Armageddon.

    2. End of Empire, not End of the Created World. Eschatology shapes Ethics

    What aspects of our political economy must come to an end today? In the first century, Revelation helped communities of Jesus’ followers see the inevitable “end” that lay ahead, and gave them the courage to “come out” of empire before it was too late. With its radical diagnosis of the pathology of empire, Revelation gives us eyes to diagnose our ecological crisis as a spiritual crisis, and to find the medicine we need– a different vision of hope.

    3. Tree of Life for Healing the World

    The central image of Revelation is the nation-healing tree of life, growing beside the river of life. Each element of the New Jerusalem vision’s radiant urban paradise helps us envision the healing that flows from the throne of God, into our world. Healing comes not directly from God but through the creation, from a tree. Revelation’s invitation is sacramental and ecological, “Let everyone who is thirsty come.”

  • Adamah Jewish Farm [May 2015]

    Jewish Environmental Fellowship for Emerging Christian Leaders
    Adamah Farm, Falls Village, CT

    From the Adamah website:  “Programs at Adamah integrate physical, social, spiritual, Jewish and ecological realms in order to inspire participants to a life of service – to the Jewish community and to the earth. We emphasize hands-on experience and peer leadership to empower participants with skills and confidence to make a difference, and we offer positive ways to connect to the core Jewish principles of awe and gratitude, which inspire participants well after they leave.” This course will be an immersion course that involves hands-on learning coupled with reading and study. Students will participate in organic farming, goat milking, making sauerkraut and kimchi, and yes, even chicken killing. The course will equip students with a deeper knowledge of Judaism and of the ecological roots of the Hebrew bible as practiced by a modern eco-Jewish community. Students will be empowered with environmental leadership skills, and will ground their theological learning in practical experience. Their newfound “Adamahnik” capabilities of integrating the physical, social, spiritual, Jewish, and ecological realms will inspire them to lives of service in their own communities. A course such as this, where future Christian leaders learn from their Jewish counterparts in a Jewish setting, creates unique possibilities for a new kind of interfaith dialogue. The model we create can be emulated by other religious institutions, leading to greater understanding, empathy, and mutual trust between religious groups.

    Read reflection from the trip.

  • Ecotones of the Spirit [Spring 2015]

    An 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 began on Thursday, March 19, and concluded with a half-day conference on Tuesday, April 14th. All events were free and open to the public.

    Series Events

    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: 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 Ecology

    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
  • An Evening with Vandana Shiva [November 2014]

    Challenges & Realities of Feeding the World

    Dr. Vandana Shiva trained as a physicist at the University of Punjab, and completed her Ph.D. on the Hidden Variables and Non-locality in Quantum Theory from the University of Western Ontario, Canada. She later shifted to interdisciplinary research in science, technology and environmental policy, which she carried out at the Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, India.

    In 1982, she founded an independent institute – the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology in Dehra Dun – dedicated to high quality and independent research to address the most significant ecological and social issues of our times, working in close partnership with local communities and social movements. In 1991 she founded Navdanya, a national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources – especially native seed – and to promote organic farming and fair trade.

    Dr. Shiva combines sharp intellectual inquiry with courageous activism, and her work spans teaching at universities worldwide to working with peasants in rural India. Time Magazine identified Dr. Shiva as an environmental ‘hero’ in 2003. In November 2010, Forbes Magazine identified Dr. Shiva as one of the Seven Most Powerful Women on the Globe.

    Dr. Shiva’s contributions to gender issues are nationally and internationally recognized. Her book Staying Alive dramatically shifts popular perceptions of Third World women. She founded the gender unit at the International Centre for Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Kathmandu, and was a founding Board Member of the Women Environment and Development Organization (WEDO).

    This keynote lecture is co-sponsored by the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative, WFU Office of Sustainability; the Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability; Department of Biology; Department of Chemistry; Pro Humanitate Institute; and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. It is free and open to the public.

    “An Evening with Vandana Shiva” is part of the “Make Every Bite Count” speaker series. Our current farming methods affect more than just the produce and livestock that we grow. Sustainable agricultural practices can help us mitigate the impacts of a changing climate, adapt to an altered environment and increase our resilience as a species. But, the question remains, can sustainable agriculture feed the world? This provocative series investigates the foods that are central to our diets: who grows them, how they are grown, and what challenges and opportunities this holds for local, regional, and global food supplies.

  • GMO OMG: Documentary Film Screening & Discussion [October 2014]

    GMO OMG director and concerned father Jeremy Seifert is in search of answers. How do GMOs affect our children, the health of our planet, and our freedom of choice? And perhaps the ultimate question, which Seifert tests himself: is it even possible to reject the food system currently in place, or have we lost something we can’t gain back?

    These and other questions take Seifert on a journey from his family’s table to Haiti, Paris, Norway, and the lobby of agra-giant Monsanto, from which he is unceremoniously ejected. Along the way we gain insight into a question that is of growing concern to citizens the world over: what’s on your plate?” (GMO OMG)

    We hope that the film and discussion with the filmmaker will stimulate lively discussion of important and contested food-related issues.

    This event is co-sponsored by the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative and the WFU Office of Sustainability. It is free and open to the public.

    The “GMO OMG” Documentary Film Screening and Discussion is part of the “Make Every Bite Count” speaker series. Our current farming methods affect more than just the produce and livestock that we grow. Sustainable agricultural practices can help us mitigate the impacts of a changing climate, adapt to an altered environment and increase our resilience as a species. But, the question remains, can sustainable agriculture feed the world? This provocative series investigates the foods that are central to our diets: who grows them, how they are grown, and what challenges and opportunities this holds for local, regional, and global food supplies.

     

  • Summer Intensive: Sabbath Economics and Watershed Discipleship [Summer 2014]

    Theme

    Sabbath Economics and Watershed Discipleship:
    A Theology and Practice for A New Day

    The interlocking crises of deepening climate change, resource exhaustion, and social disparity are stalking our history.  To truly face these crises is to commit ourselves, as Christians and citizens, to radical and urgent changes that are both profoundly political and personal.  The “Transition Movement” is shorthand for perceptions and practices that center on ecological and economic resiliency, restoration, and renewal.  What might a Transition Church look like in the coming decade? What does Christian discipleship have to do with  our local watershed, our farms and gardens, and the ecosystems on which all life depends? Using the witness of the biblical writers as our guide, this course considered these questions over the span of five days.

    The course combined classroom learning, worship, eating together, and hands-on learning. Morning sessions will were led by renowned biblical scholar and activist Ched Myers, who focused on “watershed discipleship” as a guiding metaphor and theological frame of reference.  Afternoons featured outdoor experiential education in local food gardens. Each day was bookended with a short service of Psalms, music, and silent prayer (Lauds and Vespers) as a contemplative frame to begin and end days together.

    To learn more about the idea of Watershed Discipleship and Ched Myer’s work, visit http://watersheddiscipleship.org or www.ChedMyers.org.

    View photos

    Faculty

    Ched Myers is an activist theologian who has worked in social change movements for almost 40 years. With a degree in New Testament Studies, he is a popular educator who animates scripture and issues of faith-based peace and justice. He has authored over 100 articles and more than a half-dozen books, including Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark’s Story of Jesus (Orbis, 1988/2008); The Biblical Vision of Sabbath Economics (Tell the Word, 2001), Ambassadors of Reconciliation: A N.T. Theology and Diverse Christian Practices of Restorative Justice and Peacemaking (with Elaine Enns, Orbis, 2009), and most recently, Our God is Undocumented: Biblical Faith and Immigrant Justice (with Matthew Colwell, Orbis, 2012). Most of Ched’s publications can be found on his website.

    Ched has worked with a variety of social justice organizations, including the American Friends Service Committee and the Pacific Concerns Resource Center. He is a co-founder of several collaborative projects: the Word and World School; the Sabbath Economics Collaborative; the Center and Library for the Bible and Social Justice; and recently the Watershed Discipleship Alliance. He and his partner Elaine Enns, a restorative justice practitioner, live in the Ventura River watershed in southern California and co-direct Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries.

     

    Brian Ammons  joined Warren Wilson as the Chaplain in the summer of 2012, coming to Warren Wilson from Duke University where he served on the Education faculty.  He graduated from NC State University in 1995 with a degree in Middle Grades Education and a minor in English, and went on to earn a Master Education in Special Education while he was teaching in Iredell County and Chapel Hill Carrborro Schools.  Brian received a Masters of Divninty from Wake Forest University in 2003. Upon completion, he was ordained and served as Minister with Youth and Young Adults at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC.  Brian completed his Ph.D. in Curriculum and Cultural Studies with a certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies at UNC-Greensboro in 2010.  Brian has taught courses in gender studies, practical theology, and education at UNCG, Wake Forest, and Duke, and he writes and speaks widely about the intersection of spirituality, sexuality, and justice.  Brian was born and raised in North Carolina, and is grateful to return to his ancestral roots in Appalachia.

    As the course chaplain, Brian will coordinate our daily Lauds and Vespers services, and lead group reflection at the day’s end. He will also be available for spiritual direction over the four-day course.

    Jill Crainshaw is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Worship and Liturgical Theology at Wake FOrest University School of Divinity. Crainshaw’s research interests include liturgical theology, vocational formation for ministry, and feminist perspectives on church leadership. She is the author of a number of books and articles, including Wise and Discerning Hearts: An Introduction to a Wisdom Liturgical Theology(Liturgical Press, 2000), Keep the Call: Leading the Congregation without Losing Your Soul (Abingdon, 2007), and Wisdom’s Dwelling Place: Exploring a Wisdom Liturgical Spirituality (Order of St. Luke Press, 2010). Crainshaw is co-editor of the two-volume Encyclopedia of Religious Controversies in the Unites States (ABC-Clio, 2012). She is a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

    Chuck Marsh is a pioneer in ecological landscape design and consulting practices, and founder of Useful Plants Nursery, an edible landscape plant nursery located south of Black Mountain, NC. Chuck has over thirty five years of experience working with the plants, soil, water, climate and people of North Carolina to design and install place appropriate, productive, and sustainable home and commercial landscapes. His career has spanned the wholesale and retail nursery business as well as landscape gardening and landscape contracting businesses. His current focus is on teaching people about edible landscaping, biological economics, and Permaculture Design, which he does locally, nationally and internationally; growing edible and medicinal plants for present and future abundance; and consulting with homeowners and landowners to design and create beautiful, productive, resource conserving landscapes that celebrate and deepen our connection to the natural world.

    Charles Pettee made his first foray into traditional music as a child in Asheville, North Carolina. Upon his relocation to Chapel Hill in the early 1980s, Pettee—by this time an accomplished guitarist, mandolinist, singer and songwriter—was drafted into the Shady Grove Band, an internationally known bluegrass group with whom he continues to tour and record. In 2003, Pettee founded FolkPsalm, a group the Independent Weekly described as “rich, engaging new acoustic and bluegrass. . . . The most sophisticated and moving of Pettee’s career.” For three decades and across multiple continents, Pettee has served as an ambassador of traditional music of the North Carolina Piedmont, logging more than 5000 performances in the process. In Pettee’s music, says Pastor Mitchell Simpson of Chapel Hill’s University Baptist Church, “something very old and very true is at work.”

    Visiting Filmmaker

    Jeremy Seifert completed his debut film, DIVE!, Living Off America’s Waste, in 2010.  Initially made with a $200 budget, a borrowed camera, and a lot of heart, DIVE! went on to win 22 film festivals worldwide. In 2010 with the release of DIVE!, Jeremy began the production company, Compeller Pictures.  He is now a filmmaker and activist, traveling the country and speaking on humanitarian and environmental issues. Jeremy’s second film, GMO OMG, tells the hidden story of the take over of our food supply by giant chemical companies, an agricultural crisis that has grown into a cultural crisis. He has once again found the heart of the project in his own journey and awakening. Jeremy and his wife, Jen, live in North Carolina with there three children, Finn (8), Scout (5), and Pearl (3).

    Visiting Speakers

    On Thursday morning we’ll be joined by Rev. T. Anthony Spearman, who will talk about the Moral Monday movement as part of bioregional justice-seeking.

    On Friday morning we’ll be joined by Rev. Eduard Loring, who will talk about solidarity with the marginalized as part of watershed discipleship.

  • To Stand Against the Storm, We Must Stand Somewhere [June 2014]

    To Stand Against the Storm, We Must Stand Somewhere:
    A Forum on Climate and Faith

    June 16, 2014  |  1:00 – 8:00pm  |  Warren Wilson College Chapel
    sponsored by the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative at WFU School of Divinity, WNC Alliance and WNC Green Congregations, NC Interfaith Power & Light, and host congregation Warren Wilson Presbyterian Church

    Given the realities of climate change, what unique role can faith communities play in North Carolina? In this 1/2 day workshop on June 16th, join us as we learn from local and national leaders on a wide array of topics related to faith and climate. This solutions-oriented gathering will explore not only what challenges we face with climate change, but also the unique role faith communities have to play in finding creative solutions. Tired of another guilt-tripping environmental workshop that bums you out and leaves you feeling overwhelmed? This one is different. Join us as we focus on theological reflection, ecological resilience, and that much-neglected biblical virtue of hope. Our evening keynote will be given by biblical scholar and activist Ched Myers. For more on Ched, click here.

  • Half the Sky, Half the Earth: A Conference on Women, Food, and Faith [March 2014]

    A stimulating and challenging day to explore the distinctive intersections of women, food, and faith in shaping a new food ecology.

    Speakers

    Plenary I with Dr. Psyche Williams-Forson

    “I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked:” Race, Food Shaming, and the Politics of Eating Right

    The old adage says, sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. But they do hurt. In recent years, increasing attention has been paid to processes of food production, distribution, acquisition and consumption that tend to operate a part from but within conventional food systems. Many food advocates see the solution as tapping into alternative food networks—farmer’s markets, co-ops, community sponsored agriculture sites, and the like—where not only can fresh food be obtained but also a sense of connection, with the people, places and processes involved with growing and supplying their food, can be established and maintained. But in today’s economy where rapidly changing food options and movements are the order of the day it seems imperative that we not limit our thinking of “alternatives” simply to choosing between organic or conventional options. It seems necessary that we consider the roles played by value stores, bodegas, social and religious networks, as well as ethnic markets; entities that are often involved in feeding communities and therefore challenging how we define “healthy eating.”  Note: This talk will be drawn from Dr. Williams-Forson’s new book in progress tentatively titled, Don’t Yuck M Yum: Food policing, Cultural Sustainability, and African American Food Dilemmas.

    Psyche Williams-Forson is Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland College Park and an affiliate faculty member of the Women’s Studies and African American Studies departments and the Consortium on Race, Gender, and Ethnicity. She is an Associate Editor of Food and Foodways journal, co-editor (with Carole Counihan) of Taking Food Public: Redefining Foodways in a Changing World (Routledge 2011) and author of the award-winning Building Houses Out of Chicken Legs: Black Women, Food, and Power (2006). Her new research focuses on food shaming and policing of communities of color. Dr. Williams-Forson is also the recipient of numerous fellowships including a Smithsonian Museum Senior Fellowship, a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Diversity Fellowship, and a Winterthur Museum and Library Fellowship.

    Plenary II with Dr. Alene Avakian

    What’s That Women’s Studies Professor Doing In The Kitchen? Women, Gender, And Food Practices

    Nineteenth and twentieth century representations of the gender division of labor in industrialized societies consistently present men bringing home the bacon for women to cook and serve despite the steadily growing percentage of women working for wages outside the home. Even today, when women comprise 47% of the work force, women still do most of the housework and daily cooking continues to be identified with women.  After eschewing examination of cooking for decades, feminist scholars have recently began to use food practices to analyze gender and women’s lives.

    Preverbal and bodily, both personal and collective, cooking and eating carry culture, yet neither the food we eat and the meaning it conveys, nor the identities food practices help to construct are fixed, but change over time and space.  As such, food practices provide an excellent vehicle to contextualize women’s lives in an intersectional frame, both embedding gender within other social formations as well as exploring the interactions among them.   This talk will address some of what can learn about women and gender by looking at what we eat, who cooks for whom and under what conditions.

    Arlene Avakian is Professor Emeritus and former Chair of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst.  She is author of  Lion Woman’s Legacy: An Armenian American Memoir (1992); editor of Through the Kitchen Window: Women Explore the Intimate Meaning of Food and Cooking (1997); co-editor of From Betty Crocker to Feminist Food Studies: Critical Perspectives on Women and Food (2005); co-editor of African American Women and the Vote 1837-1965 (1997); and numerous articles. She has also been involved in social justice activism on and off campus for most of her adult life. And she loves to cook.

    Plenary III with Cynthia Hayes

    Taking The Journey with Women of Color in Food And Agriculture

    For women of color in food and agriculture , faith has always provided support, solace and comfort on a journey that can be as challenging as it is joyful and fulfilling. This gathering will introduce you to women that have taken this journey and how faith has played a role. It will allow for participants to join in a discussion on how they see their roles in the food movement and how they see faith will serve as an integral part of their food journey.

    Cynthia Hayes, founder and current Executive Director of SAAFON (Southeastern African American Farmers Organic Network), has worked as a program development consultant for community based organizations for over 30 years. Her work has taken her through out the United States, Caribbean and Central and South America. SAAFON is a good, clean and fair food advocacy organization that works to educate farmers and their communities on how sustainable agriculture can serve as a vehicle to assist the farmers in safeguarding their environment and preserving their land.  Her work has been primarily with small family farms, local community agricultural organizations, and small community farmer groups. Ms. Hayes, through SAAFON, provides rural farmers with information and education on the best practices and technical resources to grow organically. Her organization ensures farmers in the Network have access to available programs and information to create a collaborative for the purpose of marketing their organically grown products locally, regionally, and internationally. Ms. Hayes convened the first Women of Color in Food and Agriculture Summit. She has a BS in Psychology and is a 2013 recipient of both the John Edgerton Award and the James Beard Foundation Award for SAAFON’s work with underserved farmer communities.

    Food Justice with Victoria Strang and Noelle Damico

    Part I: Farms or Factories? with Victoria Strang

    Do we want our food to come from farms or factories? Should people of faith connect their beliefs with food choice? Join Victoria Strang of The Humane Society of the United States Faith Outreach program, and hear how The HSUS works with religious communities across the country to raise awareness on food, farming and faith issues. Learn about the connection between faith and compassion for animals,  and how to help animals through your faith community.

    As the Strategic Initiatives Manager for the Faith Outreach program at The Humane Society of the United States, Victoria works with churches nationwide on establishing animal protection ministry programs and educating faith communities about the role of animals in the care of creation.Throughout her career, Victoria has presented at a number of conferences, local events, and churches around the nation on faith and animals. She established relationships with leaders in many different sectors of faith and taught them how to lead their congregations toward more humane food choices. Victoria has also worked on critical anti-cruelty legislation both in her home state of Massachusetts, and around the nation.

    Victoria attended Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY where she received dual degrees in religious studies and government. Her studies took her to England where she focused on gender in the Middle East, Development Studies and Islamic law. Victoria has also spent time in Switzerland, India, China, and South Africa researching international and national health disparities. Victoria now resides in Washington, D.C. with her orange cat, Puck.

    Part II: The Substance of Things Hoped For: Realizing Rights for Farmworkers with Noelle Damico

    Long ago, Paul of Tarsus famously wrote that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

    Twenty years ago women and men from Haiti, Guatemala and Mexico transcended divides of race, ethnicity, language and gender and gathered in Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic church in Immokalee, Florida in order to discuss how they would collectively confront violence and poverty wages in the fields.  Calling themselves the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and bringing their analytical skills, their creativity and their courage to bear on what had been seemingly intractable problems, they stepped out in faith to create a future that had not yet been seen.  And in so doing, they ignited the consciences of millions across this nation. The CIW reached out to people of faith and students to build a movement that has brought about structural change within the tomato industry.

    Today, the CIW’s Fair Food Program, a collaboration among farmworkers, corporate buyers and growers, has transformed Florida’s 650 million dollar tomato industry, winning increased wages, rights in the workplace and freedom from forced labor, sexual harassment and violence in the fields for tens of thousands of farmworkers.

    This talk will highlight how building relationships of dignity and equality across supply chain divides brought about change and examine cases of sexual harassment and forced labor to illustrate how the Fair Food Program provides a paradigm not only for addressing abuses but for preventing them as well.

    The Rev. Noelle Damico is a senior fellow at the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative. For eleven years she served as national staff for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), coordinating its involvement in the CIW’s Campaign for Fair Food.  A leader in developing a human rights-based approach to addressing human trafficking by the faith community, she has keynoted at the US Department of Justice’s National Human Trafficking Conference, universities, and church events.  A published author of biblical and liturgical resources, Noelle is ordained in the United Church of Christ.

    Photographic Storytelling with Natasha Bowens

    The Color of Food: Highlighting Women of Color in Agriculture

    In this visual and audio presentation we hear from women of color growing food around the country. Their stories share with us agricultural family histories, personal triumphs and community struggles. These women and their stories highlight important issues tied to food such as culture, community, health, spirituality, land ownership, urban gardening, race and gender obstacles, immigrant farmer and farmworker challenges, food/farm entrepreneurship, resources for new farmers, food access in marginalized communities and women empowerment!

    Natasha Bowens is the creator of the multi-media project The Color of Food which honors, preserves and amplifies the stories of Black, Native, Asian and Latina farmers and food activists through photography and oral history. The project was born out of her article series for Grist magazine and her blog Brown.Girl.Farming. where she writes about race and agriculture and highlights people of color revolutionizing the food system around the country. Natasha has been conducting the photo documentary project for the past three years, driving around the country interviewing and photographing farmers and gardeners. She raised part of the project’s funds on a community fundraising site where over $10,000 from small donors was raised in just 60 days. Her work has gained national media attention, such as CNN, TheAtlantic, Colorlines and CSPAN. She is currently working to publish The Color of Food project as a book that will be out next year.

    Closing Address with Sara Miles

    Communion at the Corner Store: Eating in the City of God

    Paradise is a garden…but heaven is a city. In this concluding keynote talk, Sara Miles will explore hunger, appetite and communion in an unsentimental exploration of what it really means to eat with strangers in the holy, dirty, transnational cities of God. A look at faith in the streets, and what is created through public devotion in mixed public spaces.

    Sara Miles is the founder and director of The Food Pantry, and serves as Director of Ministry at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco. Her books include Jesus Freak: Feeding Healing Raising the Dead and Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion. Forthcoming in March 2014 is her new book called City of God: Faith in the Streets. She speaks, preaches and leads workshops around the country, and her writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the New Yorker, and on National Public Radio.

    Schedule

    9:00 – 9:30am Registration
    9:30 – 9:45am Welcome and Announcements
    9:45 – 10:45am Plenary I: “‘I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked:’ Race, Food Shaming, and the Politics of Eating Right” with Dr. Psyche Williams-Forson
    11:00am – 12:00noon Plenary II: “What’s That Women’s Studies Professor Doing in the Kitchen? Women, Gender, and Food Practices” with Dr. Arlene Avakian 
    12:00 – 1:30pm Lunch
    1:30 – 2:30pm Plenary III: “Taking the Journey with Women of Color in Food and Agriculture” with Cynthia Hayes 
    2:30 – 2:45pm Coffee Break
    2:45 – 3:45pm Food Justice
    2:45 – 3:00pm Part I: “Farms of Factories?” with Victoria Strang
    3:00 – 3:45pm Part II: “The Substance of Things Hoped For: Realizing Rights for Farmworkers” with Noelle Damico
    3:45 – 4:30pm “The Color of Food: Highlighting Women of Color in Agriculture: A Photographic Storytelling Presentation” by Natasha Bowens
    4:30 – 5:00pm Break
    5:00 – 6:00pm Closing Address: “Communion at the Corner Store: Eating in the City of God” by Sara Miles 
    6:30 – 8:00pm Optional Private Dinner with Sara Miles (limited to 50 people; additional registration required)

    sponsored by the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative at the Wake Forest University School of Divinity, with generous support from Kalleiopeia Foundation

    co-sponsored by the WFU’s Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, and The Humane Society of the United States

  • Prayin', Truckin', Servin' [November 2013]

    This event is sponsored by the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative and co-sponsored by Partners in Health and Wholeness (NC Council of Churches), in partnership with the following churches and faith communities: Morning Star Missionary Baptist, Temple Emanuel, Parkway United Church of Christ, Centenary UMC, The Greater Tabernacle Worship Center, and Macedonia Worship Center.

    Following on the success of our February 2013 food justice conference, this follow-up gathering will focus more on skills that you can take back to your community. Using local presenters, each of our three sessions will feature lecture-style learning with small group discussion centered around our three themes:

    Prayin’

    What do our scriptures and faith traditions teach us about food and its role in our lives? Hear from a Christian pastor, a Jewish rabbi, and a Muslim imam on their respective traditions and what we can learn from them.

    Truckin’

    How can churches and faith communities improve healthy food access in urban areas? Learn about mobile farmers markets, food trucks, and other innovative projects already happening.

    Servin’

    When people of faith get together, we often share a meal. How can we make healthy food more available in our places of worship?

    Cost

    The conference is free; lunch is included.

    Schedule

    8:30 – 9:00am Registration
    9:00 – 9:30am Welcome, Interfaith Prayer and Song, and An Overview of Food Security in Forsyth County by Tyler Jenkins
    9:30 – 10:45am Prayin’ – Hear from Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions on rituals of eating, and how those rituals can help us care for ourselves, our neighbors, and the earth. Led by Rabbi Mark Strauss-Cohn, Bishop Todd Fulton, and Imam Khalid Griggs.
    10:45 – 11:00am Break
    11:00 – 12:00pm Truckin’ – Learn how to increase healthy food access in food deserts, including such innovative practices as healthy corner stores, mobile food trucks, and mobile farmers markets. Led by Tamica Patterson (Healthy Corner Store Initiative), Jon Barber (Mobile Farm Fresh), and Ben amd Marty Tennille (HOPE).
    12:00 – 1:00pm Lunch
    1:00 – 2:00pm Servin’ – How can congregations and faith communities increase healthy food options in their places of worship? Led by Partners in Health and Wholeness (North Carolina Council of Churches) and friends.
    2:00 – 2:30pm Choose one of three sessions (Prayin’, Truckin’, Servin’) and go deeper into dialogue with others working in this area. Chose one thing you can do, and find like-minded people to help you do it.
    2:30 – 3:00pm Closing Thoughts and Departure

     

  • Creative Writing and Social Change, Asheville [November 2013]

    Sponsored by the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative, this writing workshop is aimed primarily for those working at the intersection of food & faith who want to learn creative writing skills to use in their work. Whether you’re a pastor, community gardener, non-profit leader, activist, or student, this workshop is aimed at helping you tell better stories through writing. The initiative thanks co-sponsors First UCC of Asheville and Warren Wilson College.

    Friday, November 1  |  7:00 – 9:00pm  |  First UCC, Asheville

    A Language To Make Us Whole – Writing, Activism, and Hope at the Margins

    How can stories help us regain a sense of the world as holy, mysterious, and worthy of our care? How can language, especially as it’s used by people of faith and people called environmentalists, be used to heal and mend what is daily being torn assunder? Could it be that what we need now in this time of climate change and food insecurity is not more information, but better stories? Join us as writers Janisse Ray and Fred Bahnson talk about their work, which combines a rooted spirituality with a commitment to social change, and how stories can inspire people to care for their watersheds, foodsheds, and the people who inhabit them. This lecture is free and open to the public with Q&A and book-signing to follow.

    Saturday, November 2  |  8:30 – 4:00pm  |  Upper Fellowship Hall, Warren Wilson College

    Faithful Witness: A Workshop on Creative Writing and Social Change

    In this writing workshop, Janisse Ray and Fred Bahnson will explore ideas of soil and sacrament, tapping into stories to recover a sense of the world as holy and worthy of our care. In a stimulating blend of journaling, writing prompts, brainstorming, and discussion, we will use creative nonfiction to investigate our personal relationships to food and food security. Only by telling our own stories of the changing world, and imagining new stories, can we create a future in which we honor the earth and its offerings. We’ll discover fun and self-revealing ways to tell these stories. The class will be both personal discovery as well as an inquiry into ways to carry the message beyond your own notebooks. You will leave inspired, more dedicated to your work, and in possession of a toolbox for incorporating writing into your faith and social justice work.

    About the Presenters

    Writer, naturalist, and activist Janisse Ray is author of five books of literary nonfiction and a collection of nature poetry. Her most recent book, The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food is a look at what’s happening to seeds. The book has won awards from the American Horticultural Society and Garden Writers Association, among others. Ray holds an MFA from the University of Montana and in 2007 was awarded an honorary doctorate from Unity College in Maine. She attempts to live a simple, sustainable life on Red Earth Farm in southern Georgia with her husband and daughter. Janisse is an organic gardener, tender of farm animals, slow-food cook, fermenter, and seed saver.

    Fred Bahnson directs the Food, Faith, & Religious Leadership Initiative. He is the author of Soil and Sacrament: A Spiritual Memoir of Food and Faith (Simon & Schuster) and co-author of Making Peace With the Land: God’s Call to Reconcile With Creation (InterVarsity). His narrative journalism and essays have appeared widely including Oxford American, Image, Orion, The Sun, Christian Century, and the anthologies Best American Spiritual Writing (Houghton Mifflin), Wendell Berry and Religion(University Press of Kentucky), and State of the World 2011—Innovations that Nourish the Planet (Norton). His writing has received a number of grants and awards, including a William Raney scholarship in nonfiction at Bread Loaf Writers Conference, an Award of Excellence from the Associated Church Press, a Kellogg Food & Community fellowship at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, and a North Carolina Artist fellowship in creative nonfiction from the NC Arts Council. In addition to his writing, Bahnson is an experienced permaculture gardener. The co-founder of Anathoth Community Garden in Cedar Grove, NC, he has practiced and taught regenerative agriculture for the past ten years.

  • "For God's Sake, Let's Focus On the Earth" with Richard Cizik [October 2013]

    On World Food Day, what better time to ask: What is my duty to God and Planet earth?  Stewards are not born, they are made.  We can choose our own destiny, boldly.  Come examine with Richard Cizik, President of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, the incredible hope that arises for all of creation when we partner with the Creator in the renewal and redemption of earth and the cosmos.  But beware. As Cizik says, “If you’ve never changed your mind about something, pinch yourself, you may be dead.”

    Sponsored by the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative and co-sponsored by the WFU Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability, Cizik’s visit is made possible through the support of the Good Steward Campaign.

    About Richard Cizik

    The Rev. Richard Cizik is President of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, an internationally known Evangelical leader on “creation care.” For over 15 years he was a top leader of the National Association of Evangelicals, setting the organization’s policy on issues and lobbying the White House, Congress, and the Supreme Court. In 2002, following meetings and conversations with fellow Evangelical and climate scientist John Houghton, Rich was convinced that addressing climate change and creation care should be part of the Evangelical agenda. His stance, based on Scripture passages such as Genesis 2:15, Revelation 11:18, represented a courageous witness from within the Evangelical community. In 2005, Rich was instrumental in creating the Evangelical Climate Initiative, signed by over 300 Evangelical leaders nationwide, which led Fast Company to name him one of its “Most Creative Minds” and Belief Net.com to name him among the “Most Inspiring Persons of the Year.” In Science magazine he was called “one of America’s most dynamic public speakers.” In 2008, Time named him one of the world’s 100 most influential people. Rich delivers a powerful, Biblically-based message in support of creation care. He’s spoken in hundreds of churches and on dozens of college campuses. He’ll challenge you to think more clearly, to care more deeply, and to act more boldly in your life as a follower of Jesus. “It’s time we return to being people known for our love and care of the earth and our fellow human beings,” Rich says. His inspirational style of speaking will engage, encourage, and challenge you to greater faith and works.

    About World Food Day

    On October 16, World Food Day, join the global movement to end hunger. Be a part of the solution and take action in your community and around the world.We can end hunger. It will take all of us. Learn more.

  • Many Hands: Perspectives from the Field [October 2013]

    Many Hands: Perspectives from the Field

    A workshop on farmwork justice, featuring guest speakers Chris Liu-Beers and Anna Jensen, that discusses immigrant labor in the fields of North Carolina and looks at workers’ experiences in the fields. Liu-Beers and Jensen will present these stories through workers’ own voices, including videos and photographs, as well as provide background for understanding the realities farmworkers face in the fields. They will also focus on ways that congregations and students can get involved through ministry and advocacy. Sponsored by the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative.

    About the Speakers:

    Chris Liu-Beers grew up in Delaware and went to college in Pennsylvania before moving to Durham, NC in 2003. A graduate of Duke Divinity School, he has been working with the NC Council of Churches since 2006. His commitment to immigrant rights, sustainability and social justice has been shaped in part by studying abroad in Jerusalem, Israel and Zacatecas, Mexico. As Program Associate with the NC Council of Churches, he works on immigration and farmworker-related advocacy, rural life issues, and the Council’s worship resources. Chris lives in Durham with his family.

    Anna Jensen grew up in North Carolina and studied at UNC-Chapel Hill. Farmworkers and farmworker issues have been her passion since working with farmworkers one summer for a college internship. She has worked with farmworkers in the tobacco fields of eastern NC, where she acted as a health outreach worker with the NC Farmworkers Project, and the Central Valley of California, where she conducted research for her master’s thesis at UC Davis. She joined the staff of Toxic Free NC as their community organizer in May of this year, and works with farmworker communities, among others, on pesticide protection and advocacy. She is passionate about including all voices in policy work.

  • Summer Intensive: Spirituality of Food, Field, and Table [Summer 2014]

    Theme

    The Spirituality of Food, Field, and Table: A Retreat on the Art of Homecoming

    June 16 – 20, 2013
    Warren Wilson College | Swannanoa, NC

    How can we live at home in the world? Most of us have a roof over our heads, but we don’t often think of “home” in terms of our watersheds, fields, and communities. How can we learn to dwell within our local ecosystems in a way that sustains, rather than desecrates, God’s abundant creation? How do we become native to a place so that we can move outward from a center of ecological, emotional, and spiritual rootedness?

    Whether you are a faith leader or a person who simply wants to go deeper into these issues in your own life, we invite you to join us for The Art of Homecoming, an immersion course from June 16-20.

    The skills required to come home require the focus of the whole person—mind, body, and spirit—and it is your whole person who will benefit during this retreat. Following the 1,500 year old Christian monastic patterns of prayer, work, and study, we will follow a daily rhythm that combines spiritual disciplines and ecological practices, a rhythm that can sustain us for the long haul.

    The course will take place on the campus of Warren Wilson College, in the lovely Blue Ridge mountains of western North Carolina. Mornings will feature experiential learning in the campus garden and surrounding area, with classes on biointensive gardening, permaculture, creating a community garden, and wild foods foraging. Afternoons will consist of lectures and discussion, engaging in both theological and scriptural reflection on the practices of field and table. After dinner a brief Vespers service of Psalms will conclude the day. Evenings are free to rest, read, or explore nearby Asheville.

    For anyone interested in the intersection of Christian spirituality, ecological restoration, and redemptive agriculture, then this course is for you.

    Course Leader

    Fred Bahnson | author and director of the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative

    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: Food, Faith, and Growing Heaven on Earth (Simon & Schuster, 2013) and co-author of Making Peace With the Land (InterVarsity, 2012). In 2005 he co-founded Anathoth Community Garden, a church supported agriculture ministry that he directed until 2009. He lives with his wife Elizabeth and their three sons in Transylvania County, where they tend a ½ acre permaculture orchard and terraced hillside gardens.

    Workshop: Consider the Lilies, How They Grow

    If Jesus told his disciples to “consider the lilies of the field, how they grow,” how might that apply to the way we grow food? The created order is our standard, we might infer from Jesus’ words. A host of modern thinkers are now saying something quite similar, and they’re calling it “regenerative agriculture.” It uses nature as the model and measure for our agriculture. In this two-part workshop you will be introduced to practices and concepts of regenerative agricultural practices like biointensive gardening and permaculture. You will build compost piles, learn to double dig a garden bed, and transplant seedlings. And through the combination of hands-on learning and theological reflection, you will be empowered to begin growing some of your own food.

    Faculty

    Dr. Gail O’Day | biblical scholar and Dean of the School of Divinity

    Gail O’Day is Dean and Professor of New Testament and Preaching at the Wake Forest University School of Divinity. A graduate of Brown University, O’Day earned a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and a doctorate in New Testament from Emory. She is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. O’Day’s scholarly research focuses on the Gospel of John, the Bible and preaching, and the history of biblical interpretation. She has written a number of books and articles, including the commentary on the Gospel of John in The New Interpreters Bible (1996) and Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary: A Guide (Abingdon Press, 2007). She was editor of the Journal of Biblical Literature from 1999-2006 and is currently General Editor of the Society of Biblical Literature book series, Early Christianity and its Literature.

    WorkshopGarden Spirituality in the New Testament

    Garden. Vineyard.  Mustard seed. Tree of life. Soil. Root. Branch.  In this session we will explore together agricultural imagery that is at the heart of biblical stories and teachings. Our traditions invite us to return regularly to the garden, to experience anew how human beings can only thrive when we are integrated into the whole of creation.

    Alan Muskat | wild foraging expert

    alan-muskatAlan Muskat, philosoforager and epicure of the obscure, has been “going out to eat” for nearly twenty years. Author of Wild Mushrooms: A Taste of Enchantment, he has appeared on The Travel Channel’sBizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern, The History Channel, PBS, CBS, and in magazines as diverse as The New Yorker and Country Living.

    He’s even preached on Voice of American, ardently urging the masses to sample, rather than trample, the toadstools. “Wild foods,” says Alan, “are a way of feeling at home in the world, where we are continually provided for and never alone.” Oh, and his mother would like you to know that he graduated from Princeton.

    Workshop:  Coming Home to Eat

    Read to go wild? Join famed forager Alan Muskat on an adventure “off the eaten path.” On this culinary treasure hunt, you’ll learn how to safely find, identify, appreciate, and maybe even eat wild mushrooms, plants, and other wild cuisine. Whether gathering honey mushrooms or wild persimmons or feasting on ramps and morels, you’ll learn why wild foraging is a “slow food, slow mood” experience, all taught by The Mushroom Man and his unique blend of poetry, stories, wit, and wisdom.

    Charles Pettee | musician-in-residence for the week

    Charles Pettee made his first foray into traditional music as a child in Asheville, North Carolina. Upon his relocation to Chapel Hill in the early 1980s, Pettee—by this time an accomplished guitarist, mandolinist, singer and songwriter—was drafted into the Shady Grove Band, an internationally known bluegrass group with whom he continues to tour and record. In 2003, Pettee founded FolkPsalm, a group the Independent Weekly described as “rich, engaging new acoustic and bluegrass. . . . The most sophisticated and moving of Pettee’s career.” For three decades and across multiple continents, Pettee has served as an ambassador of traditional music of the North Carolina Piedmont, logging more than 5000 performances in the process. In Pettee’s music, says Pastor Mitchell Simpson of Chapel Hill’s University Baptist Church, “something very old and very true is at work.”

    Leading: Daily Lauds and Vespers service

    Could the 3,000 year old poems and prayers we call the Psalms have any relevance today? A glance at the Psalter can give the impression that much of the content is simply unrelated to life today, and unfortunately, that is true. Unrelated, in that these works are God-centered, creation-embracing, prophetic, and wisdom-soaked Scriptures which point to a way of being in this world which is very different indeed than what our own culture teaches us. But what if we could experience these sung prayers not as snippets of an ancient alien culture, but as beautiful, simple songs that draw us in and enhance our own prayers? Could the haunting laments or the full-throated shouts of joy and pain so beautifully offered throughout the Psalms better help us in our journeys to wholeness and reconciliation if we could sing them too? At the start and close of each day, I heartily look forward to exploring with you “the land of the Psalms.” Amen.

    Dr. Laura Lengnick | Sustainable Agriculture, Warren Wilson College

    Laura Lengnick is on the faculty of the Environmental Studies Department at Warren Wilson College where she directs the Sustainable Agriculture Program.  She is fascinated by the behavior of social-ecological systems of all kinds, but especially those involving the production of food and fiber. For more than 25 years, Laura has actively explored agricultural systems as a researcher, policy-maker, community activist, professor and farmer to better understand what it takes to move sustainability values into action on the farm, in our communities, and as a nation.  While on sabbatical in 2011/12, Laura researched agricultural resilience to climate change as a lead author of the recently released USDA report “Climate Change and Agriculture in the United States: Effects and Adaptation.”

    Workshop: Changing the Way We Eat, To Create The World We Want

    Consumers are creators. We create the world with every dollar that we spend.  This session invites you to a new awareness of the ecological, social and economic impacts of your daily consumption of food and how sustainable agriculture offers a hopeful and resilient response.  Resilience thinking inspires personal and community-scale changes that restore ecological health, promote social equity, and improve our capacity to thrive in a world increasingly challenged by resource scarcity and climate change.

    Dr. Mallory McDuff | Environmental Studies,Warren Wilson College

    Mallory McDuff teaches environmental education at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC. A lifelong Episcopalian, she was raised in a family that integrated faith and the environment through actions such as giving up trash for Lent. She is the author of Natural Saints: How People of Faith are Working to Save God’s Earth (OUP, 2010) and Sacred Acts: How Churches are Working to Protect Earth’s Climate (New Society Publishers, 2012). Mallory is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, Sojourners, and USA Today. She lives on campus at Warren Wilson with her daughters Maya, 14, and Annie Sky, 7, in a tiny duplex with an expansive view.

    WorkshopBe Ye Transformed: Experiencing Transformation by Caring for Creation

    Faith communities are like public schools in some ways: with so much on their collective plates, the care of creation or environmental stewardship can seem like an additional task on an overburdened agenda. However some of the most effective congregations are integrating a sense of place into their traditional ministries, such as feeding the hungry, educating youth, promoting justice, and creating sacred space. This session will share research findings from a cross-country journey to document stories of faith and place, as well as a collection of strategies for connecting faith and climate change. Participants will leave the workshop with a hopeful plan for integrating place into a ministry in their own faith community.

    Susan Sides | director of The Lord’s Acre

    Susan habitually exceeds the limit for the amount of new ideas one is legally allowed to have before breakfast. She is the executive director & garden manager for The Lord’s Acre and was long ago and far away, the head gardener for The Mother Earth News magazine. She will argue that she now has the best job EVER and yet wakes up every day with the goal to make her job irrelevant.

    WorkshopStaring a Community Food Project

    The Lord’s Acre is a nonprofit garden that works with the strengths of our community to address the fresh food needs of everyone. We love wrestling with questions that go beyond food security and food justice, to the very core of what it means to know and love your neighbor. We look forward to sharing our work and our garden with you and getting to know you as we weed, hoe or plant together.

    Brian Ammons | chaplain, Warren Wilson College

    Brian joined Warren Wilson in the summer of 2012, coming to Warren Wilson from Duke University where he served on the Education faculty.  He graduated from NC State University in 1995 with a degree in Middle Grades Education and a minor in English, and went on to earn a Master Education in Special Education while he was teaching in Iredell County and Chapel Hill Carrborro Schools.  Brian received a Masters of Divninty from Wake Forest University in 2003. Upon completion, he was ordained and served as Minister with Youth and Young Adults at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC.  Brian completed his Ph.D. in Curriculum and Cultural Studies with a certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies at UNC-Greensboro in 2010.  Brian has taught courses in gender studies, practical theology, and education at UNCG, Wake Forest, and Duke, and he writes and speaks widely about the intersection of spirituality, sexuality, and justice.  Brian was born and raised in North Carolina, and is grateful to return to his ancestral roots in Appalachia.

    As the course chaplain, Brian will coordinate our daily Lauds and Vespers services, and lead group reflection at the day’s end. He will also be available for spiritual direction over the four-day course.

  • Interfaith Conversations on Food, Faith, and Sustainability [March 2013]

    Nigel Savage, founder and director of Hazon, will speak about the rise of the Jewish Food Movement, describing how traditional understandings of kosher are expanding to include an emphasis on food justice, sustainable agriculture, and local food economies. Hazon, which means “vision,” is the largest faith-based environmental organization in the country, and has become a leader in creating a more just, sustainable food economy. This is an interfaith gathering and everyone is welcome to attend.

    All events are free. Sponsored by the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative, and co-sponsored by Temple Emanuel of Winston Salem, The Jewish Studies Program at UNC Asheville, and Mars Hill College.

    Schedule

    Monday March 18
    Winston-Salem, NC

    • 12:00 – 1:00pm
      Brown Bag Lunch Conversation with Nigel Savage and students in Wingate Hall, Room 301A
    • 7:30 – 8:30pm
      Lecture and Q&A at Temple Emanuel (201 Oakwood Dr | Winston Salem, NC 27103 | (336) 722-6640)

    Tuesday March 19
    Asheville, NC

    • 11:00am – 12:00noon
      Nigel Savage speaking at Chapel Service, Mars Hill College
    • 12:00noon – 1:00pm
      Lunch Event at Mars Hill College
    • Afternoon meeting with UNC Asheville students, Time and Location TBD
    • 7:00 -8:30pm
      Evening Lecture and Q&A at Asheville Jewish Community Center (236 Charlotte Street | Asheville, NC 28801 | (828) 253-0701)

  • Food, Faith, and Justice: A Common Calling [February 2013]

    Food, Faith, and Justice: A Common Calling

    A visionary gathering exploring the role of churches and faith communities in promoting health in the Piedmont Triad through improving access to healthy food for all.
    being held at The Enterprise Banquet and Conference Center | Winston-Salem, NC

    The Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative, along with Wake Forest School of Medicine’s Translational Science Institute and Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity, will host a conference in Winston-Salem on food justice and the role of faith communities. This conference will explore the innovative ways minority communities are creating better food access, and the hopeful contribution faith communities can make toward that effort.

    Keynote Speakers

    Malik Yakini
    James Beard Award winning food activitst | Detroit, MI

    • View Malik Yakini’s inspirational discussion at D-town Farms about urban agriculture and social justice for Lean, Mean, and Green.

    Haile Johnston
    Founder, Common Market | Philadelphia, PA

    • View Halie Johnston talking about “The Whole Life Food Continuum.”
  • The Spirituality of Eating [October 2012]

    The Spirituality of Eating | a seminar with noted eco-theologian Norman Wirzba

    October 12-13, 2012 | Asheville, NC

    The Food, Faith & Religious Leadership Initiative at Wake Forest University School of Divinity, in partnership with First Baptist Church of Asheville, will sponsor two events on The Spirituality of Food on October 12-13 in Asheville.

    These linked events begin Friday evening Oct.12 at 7pm at Malaprops Bookstore where Norman Wirzba, eco-theologian and Research Professor of Theology, Ecology, and Rural Life at Duke Divinity School, will give a free public lecture. He will describe how eating, ranging from production to consumption, is a moral and spiritual act, and will suggest ways that we as eaters can help promote a communion of life. Following the lecture Wirzba will be joined by Fred Bahnson, Director of the Food & Faith Initiative, for a Q&A with the audience. Bahnson and Wirzba will also be signing copies of their recently co-authored book Making Peace with the Land: God’s Call to Reconcile With Creation (InterVarsity, 2012). This event is free and open to the public.

    On Saturday Oct.13th, Bahnson and Wirzba will lead an in-depth seminar on The Spirituality of Eating. Expanding on the topic of their book, Bahnson and Wirzba will look at a Christian vision of caring for the earth through the way we grow and share food. The workshop will explore scriptural and theological understandings of eating, agriculture, and creation care, and will conclude with a look at current models of church-supported agriculture. Says Bahnson: “For those tired of the litany of environmental and societal problems, this workshop will offer a hopeful look at a more holistic spirituality of eating, one approached through the scriptural lens of reconciliation and the witness of modern faith communities engaged in sustainable agriculture ministries.

    First Baptist Church of Asheville will co-sponsor and host the seminar, which runs from 8:30-5pm. ”This seminar is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the intimate, but too often ignored, connections between the good news and the good earth, between our hungers for bread and for peace, and between the supper table and the Lord’s Table,” said Senior Pastor Guy Sayles. “It’s a call to take as grace and gift what we too often just take for granted.”

    Schedule

    8:30 – 9:00am Registration and Coffee
    9:00 – 10:00am Lecture: Food, Land, and Membership: The Scriptural Witness (Norman Wirzba)
    10:00 – 10:30am Break
    10:30 – 11:15am Small Group Study
    11:15 – 12:00noon Reconvene for Discussion with Norman Wirzba
    12:00 – 1:00pm Lunch
    1:00 – 2:00pm Lecture: Soil and Sacrament: Toward a Common Spirituality of Food (Fred Bahnson)
    2:00 – 2:15pm Break
    2:15 – 3:00pm Small Group Study
    3:00 – 4:00pm Reconvene for Panel with Bahnson, Wirzba, and Others