Scholars, interfaith workers, and environmental activists of all faiths will gather on March 18 and 19 at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 1100 East 55th Street, Chicago, for “Shared Earth: An Interfaith Conference on the Environment.” There is no charge for the conference, but pre-registration is requested. Visit centers.lstc.edu/ccme/conference or phone 773-256-0708 for more information.
“Shared Earth” features four keynote speakers addressing care of creation from their faith’s perspective.
Saleem H. Ali, associate professor of environmental studies at the Rubenstein School of Natural Resources, University of Vermont, will present “Need, Greed and a Sustainable Future.” Dr. Ali has studied the causes and consequences of environmental conflicts and how ecological factors can promote peace.
Ellen Bernstein, founded Shomrei Adamah, an organization that explored the ecological roots of Jewish traditions, in 1988. She will present “Celebrating God, Celebrating Earth: Psalms, Sabbath and Holy Days.” In recent years Bernstein has returned to Jewish theological work by delivering the Bible’s deep ecological messages through writing, teaching, speaking and consulting.
Philip Clayton, Ingraham Professor at Claremont School of Theology and professor of religion and philosophy at Claremont Graduate University, studies issues that arise at the intersection of science and religion. He will present “This Sacred Earth: Why Interreligious Partnerships Are Indispensable in Addressing the Global Environmental Crisis.”
Ven. Sevan Ross, director of the Chicago Zen Center, was ordained as a Zen Buddhist priest in 1992. Sensei Ross has been involved with the Adirondack Action Coalition on land management and wildlife management issues. He is a student of Philip Kapleau, who relates environmental issues to Buddhism. Sensei Ross will present “An Intimate Truth: Selling Water by the River.”
Scheduled workshops include “Organizing Environmental Interfaith Action Projects” led by Cassie Meyer, content director, Interfaith Youth Core; “Creating Faith in Place” led by the Rev. Dr. Claire Butterfield, director, Faith in Place; “The Care and Redemption of God’s Good Earth: Perspectives from Christian Theology” led by Robert Saler, Ph.D. candidate, LSTC; “Caring for Mother Earth: A Native American Perspective on Environmental Justice” led by Vance Blackfox, master of divinity student, LSTC; and “Living Green at The Mosque Foundation” presented by Sh. Kifah Mustafah, Imam and associate director, The Mosque Foundation.
With this conference, LSTC honors the memory of Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf (1924-2008), former Rabbi of KAM Isaiah Israel. He was an interfaith leader, a visionary and a friend of LSTC.
This conference and other Earth Year at LSTC events pay tribute to the Rev. Dr. David M. Rhoads, professor of New Testament at LSTC, as he nears retirement. He is a mentor to faith communities as they learn greater love of and care for the earth.
A Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice at LSTC, inaugurated in September 2006, provides cultural and educational opportunities in which Christians, Muslims and people of other faiths come together for mutual enrichment, understanding, healing and wholeness. It is the outgrowth of LSTC building relationships with the Muslim community in Chicago for over two decades.
Mary "Joy" Phillip
The Lutheran School of Theology (LSTC) is dedicated to bearing witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. Based in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, it is the leading urban Lutheran seminary training students for purposeful vocations in the global community. Aligned with its Lutheran heritage and built on a foundation of intellectual rigor, LSTC’s innovative, nationally recognized curriculum gives students skills for visionary Christian leadership in the public sphere.