Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative
These all look to you to give their food in due season; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things…
When you send forth your breath, they are created; you renew the face of the ground.
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.
- 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.
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 this immersion course from June 16-20. For more information, associated costs, and to register, click above.
Food, Faith, and Justice: A Common Calling
On February 20, 2013 the initiative, along with co-sponsors the Translational Science Institute and the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, hosted a visionary gathering to explore he role of churches and faith communities in promoting health in the Piedmont Triad through improving access to healthy food for all. With keynote speakers Malik Yakini and Haile Johnston, the gathering, which included community garden leaders, educators, preachers, farmers, hunger relief advocates, anti-racism advocates, and health researchers, shared resources and ideas through small group interaction and dialogue opportunities.
>> Read more about the conference here.
- 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