An exciting two-day summit is planned for January 30-31 in Portland, and it features several speakers with connections to Christ & Cascadia (including myself). “Renewing Creation from the Ground Up” is the seventh-annual summit on Earth care sponsored by Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon and Oregon Interfaith Power & Light. Randy Woodley, Christ & Cascadia contributor, professor, and Keetowah Cherokee, will give the keynote address, entitled, “The Earth Speaks, But Do We Listen?” at 3pm on Sunday at Portland State University. The summit is affordable at $35 including dinner (with scholarships available, and options for students or for those who just want to attend the conference without dinner).

This year’s summit will focus on soil, the ground, food, and place; as well as how we can renew Creation in our own area in order to address climate change. The summit is designed to help us deepen our faith and connect with others who are also working to be good stewards of God’s creation in Cascadia.

Heather Moline, one of the event organizers, shared some of the things that bring people to the Earth Care Summit, saying,

People come to see that they are not alone; to gather new information and skills that help them in their paths as interfaith Earthkeepers; to hear (often marginalized) perspectives on environmentalism they haven’t heard before or to be re-awakened in what they have heard; to network; and to be inspired to act out of love for Creation.

When asked what was particularly Cascadian about this summit, Heather replied enthusiastically,

This is our most regional Summit yet! A workshop will offer tips on backyard and ecosystem restoration specific to our neck of the woods. Randy Woodley will talk about incorporating Christ into farm ministry from a Native American perspective, and what we can do to support local collaborative efforts of ecological and social justice. And young people will talk about their ‘grounding’ in this region, and what people of faith can do to bridge intergenerational gaps in climate justice.

Saturday night, the summit will begin with a Climate Arts presentation featuring poet Kim Stafford, poetry professor at Lewis & Clark College and son of poet laureate William Stafford, and Anna Fritz, Portland-based singer-songwriter. Sunday afternoon and evening includes a resource fair, Woodley’s keynote address, breakout sessions and workshops, a dinner, and a talk by Portland mayor, Charlie Hales.

I will be presenting a workshop entitled “Evangelicals, the Encyclical, and Earthcare” alongside Dan Brunner, professor and author of Introducing Evangelical Ecotheology.

Scroll below for the full list of workshops:

  • “Nurturing Our Soil as We Nourish Our Bodies,” with Dr. Valerie Chapman, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Parish
  • “The Mysteries and Science of Soil,” with James Cassidy of Oregon State University
  • “Catholic Farmers Reflect on Pope Francis’ Encyclical,” featuring Jim Bronec, Praying Mantis Farm and Alejandro Tecum, Adelante Mujeres
  • “Our Ground, Our Food: Young People Speak on Food, Climate, and Place,” featuring Ted Swagerty, City Repair; Young Woodley, Native American Youth & Family Center; Tyler Wagner, Interfaith Food and Farms Partnership; Summer Grandy, University of Portland student; and Dyvisha Gordon, Sierra Club Campus Organizer; moderated by Heather Moline from EMO
  • “Evangelicals, the Encyclical, and Earthcare,” Dan Brunner and Cherice Bock, George Fox Evangelical Seminary
  • “Active Hope: Creativity, Empowerment, and Action in Troubled Times,” with artist Pam Wood
  • “Side-by-Side: Ethnocide and Ecocide,” Dr. Randy Woodley
  • “Your Backyard and Beyond: Why, Where, and How We Should Restore Nature,” featuring Mary Logalbo and Michael Carson, East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation
  • “Eating with the Rhythm of the Land,” with Kirk Mustain and Brooke Holmes
  • “The Soil Will Save Us,” with author and journalist Kristin Ohlson
  • “POC Eco-Justice and Food,” with Willy Chambers and Edward Hill, Groundworks Portland
  • “Islam and Ecology,” Nana Firman, International Islamic Climate Change Symposium and the Green Mosque Program

The EarthCare summit will provide a space for those of us in the Portland, Vancouver, and Willamette Valley area to meet one another, discuss issues of faith particular to this smaller portion of our Cascadian bioregion, and gain knowledge and insight to pursue our ministries. I hope to see you there!

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