Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative
Renewing theological education for the 21st century, we equip religious leaders with the knowledge, skills, and pastoral habits necessary to guide congregations and other faith-based organizations into creating more redemptive food systems, where God’s shalom becomes visible for a hungry world.
The Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative was featured on a radio show of the Australian Broadcasting Network on September 16, 2013. The program entitled, Food and Faith, was a part of Encounter, a regular broadcast on the network.
>> Listen Now
- Create courses across the curriculum emphasizing the themes of stewardship of and within Creation, and that highlight food’s pivotal place in that stewardship.
- Equip students with the knowledge, skills, and experience so that they can lead on these issues in the church and not-for-profit ministries.
- Develop research and publications across the core areas of theological education on these themes, and generate resources for faith communities who want to learn, worship, and serve more effectively as stewards of Creation and leaders in creating food systems that embody shalom.
- Build partnerships in worship, service, and education around food issues within the university, with the Piedmont and Western mountain regions of North Carolina, and with national and international partners.
- Teach and cultivate the theological habit that living in peace with the land and with non-human Creation is a core pastoral practice for religious leaders and the communities with whom they serve.
Faithful Witness: Creative Writing and Social Change
Friday, November 22, 2013 | 8:30am – 2:30pm
St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church | 2575 Parkway Drive | Winston-Salem NC
In this writing workshop writers Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove 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.
Regular $50 Student and Scholarship Rate* $25
* A small number of need-based scholarships are available. To qualify, you must be someone working at the intersection of food & faith. See registration form for more details.
Registration has been closed. For more information or to inquire about registration, contact Fred Bahnson.
About the Presenters
Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove is a celebrated spiritual writer and sought-after speaker. A native of North Carolina, he is a graduate of Eastern University and Duke Divinity School. In 2003, Jonathan and his wife Leah founded the Rutba House, a house of hospitality where the formerly homeless are welcomed into a community that eats, prays, and shares life together. Jonathan directs the School for Conversion, a nonprofit that has grown out of the life of Rutba House to pursue beloved community with kids in their neighborhood, through classes in North Carolina prisons, and in community-based education around the country. Jonathan is also an Associate Minister at the historically black St. Johns Missionary Baptist Church. Jonathan is a co-complier of the celebrated Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals, and is the author of several books on Christian spirituality, including The Awakening of Hope, The Wisdom of Stability, and The New Monasticism. An evangelical Christian who connects with the broad spiritual tradition and its monastic witnesses, Jonathan is a leader in the New Monasticism movement. He speaks often about emerging Christianity.
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.
Half the Sky, Half the Earth: A Conference on Women, Food, and Faith
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 | 8:30am – 5:oopm
Wait Chapel | Wake Forest University
Keynote Speaker: Sara Miles
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. 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.
Details to follow, including more speakers.
- Who We Serve
Clergy, congregations, divinity students, faith-based non-profits, community gardeners, food activists, and any faith leader confronting community health issues caused by substandard food systems.
- From the Dean
Food — food access, food quality, food production — is one of the defining issues of this generation. The rapid growth of local food and farm-to-table movements has sparked a creative and essential conversation that links the revitalization of rural economies, food access for urban neighborhoods, and the health and well-being of all our communities. Connecting food and faith is about our care of the earth and of one another — the core realities of our vocations as children of God. We need to be educating religious leaders who understand that caring for creation is an essential pastoral practice in working for the kingdom of God.
Gail R. O’Day, Dean of the School of Divinity and Professor of New Testament and Preaching
- From the Director
Over the past seven years, I’ve witnessed the rise of a new faith-based food movement. From congregation-supported community gardens to farmworker justice, there’s a deep desire among people of faith to reconnect with the sources of their daily bread and to those who produce it. Far from a passing trend, I believe this renewed interest in food, justice, and sustainability is driven by an even deeper hunger: the desire to see embodied what the biblical writers call shalom, that graced state of being that results from a right relationship between God, people, and the land. Our work with the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative is to support, nurture, and encourage that shalom.
Fred Bahnson, Director