Wednesday, July 27, 2011

McCormick Seminary Certificate in Environmental Ministry Program Equips Religious Leaders with Tools to Make Their Impact on the Earth More Sustainable and More Just.

Deep personal commitments to environmental ministry and a strong belief that the care of creation must be a vital ministry of the Church led four McCormick faculty members to develop this program that blends the study of Science, Theology, Bible, Ethics and Action as a means of equipping persons of faith who are passionate about ecological concerns. The Certificate is targeted to those who seek to shape policy, who are looking for deeper biblical and theological foundations for their practices, and are interested in pursuing these questions with a group of committed peers and colleagues.

Read what the faculty that developed this program has to say about its importance to the church and its leaders and their contributions to it:

"Many pastors and congregational leaders feel some sense of urgency about responding to our current ecological context. But where to begin? The scientific, theological, and practical aspects of the issues can be intricate and complex, and we may quickly feel overwhelmed. I hope that participants in this program will be able to engage the ecological context (and lead others in doing so) in an integrated way, with practices that have real effects on the ground, theological depth, and spiritual significance. I also hope that the certificate will contribute to the building of a dispersed community of energized, informed, and committed religious leaders who can shape the next phase of the religious ecological movement!" -- Jennifer R. Ayres, Assistant Professor of Religious Education and Director of the Program in Religious Education, Candler School of Theology Atlanta, GA and former McCormick Faculty member.

Clare Butterfield, Faith in Place
"I think the course is important because it helps religious leaders be where their laity is already. People come to church with concerns about the planet. This certification program is designed to help their clergy help them to integrate those concerns, and practical responses to them, into the life of the church. My contribution is in the realm of practical and impactful things that congregations can do." -- Clare Butterfield, Executive Director, Faith in Place

“Our current ecological crisis makes it imperative that we find new ways of living within the world of nature. There are some very practical steps we know we should take, yet finding sufficient courage and motivation to make the needed changes is sometimes difficult. There are spiritual and theological dimensions to the challenge before us. What we believe about God and the world and about the place of the human being within nature affects how we live--theology matters. This course will resource religious leaders in both the practical and the theological work we need to do.” Anna Case Winters, Professor of Theology.

Ted Hiebert, Professor of Old Testament
“I think the course is important because it helps religious leaders rediscover the importance of the entire creation in their Scriptures. We've forgotten about this because of such a strong spiritualizing tendency in our tradition. My contribution is to help us retrieve the ways in which the world of nature is foundational for our faith and to help us connect biblical values with contemporary challenges." Ted Hiebert, Francis A. McGaw Professor of Old Testament.

Registration is open until August 15th; a $100.00 discount applies to all applications received by July 31st. For more information, contact Martha Brown. Application forms and detailed information may be found on the McCormick Web Site