The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development (ICSD), in conjunction with our partners, has organized many interfaith environmental conferences over the years. The events provided an opportunity for religious leaders to address issues of environmental sustainability, and created a forum for faith members to participate in a wide array of interactive sessions on faith and ecology.
Some of the conferences were held in Jerusalem, with some 250 Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Baha’i participants together with religious leaders, while others have been in the USA, South Africa, and other parts of the world. The conferences received broad media coverage in over 50 international media outlets.
Washington, DC, March 2017, Symposium on Ecologically Informed Theological Education
In March 2017, ICSD co-organized a Symposium on Ecologically Informed Theological Education in Washington, DC where seminary deans and faculty explored ways of integrating faith and ecology into their theology curricula. The Symposium was co-organized by the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, the Washington Theological Consortium, the Green Seminary Initiative (GSI), and Methodist Theological School in Ohio (MTSO), and hosted by The Catholic University of America‘s School of Theology and Religious Studies.
In his keynote address on Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si’ — On Care for Our Common Home, Monsignor Kevin Irwin, research professor, underlined the importance of broadly integrating ecological concerns into theological education, which “would lead to an ecological consciousness across theological specializations and fields.”
Seminary faculty and deans conducted workshops that explored a number of topics including ways that seminaries can encourage faculty to incorporate ecology teachings into existing courses in theology, the Bible, homiletics, ethics, and counseling, among others. The event drew 70 participants and speakers from more than 10 seminaries and six states in the Mid-Atlantic region.
New York, December 2016, Faith and Ecology in Seminary Education Conference
In December 2016, ICSD co-organized a Faith and Ecology in Seminary Education Conference in New York City. 65 participants- mostly seminary faculty and deans- attended the conference, which worked to equip the next generation of religious leaders to more effectively educate about Creation care and stewardship. The conference was co-organized by The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development; the Center for Earth Ethics of Union Theological Seminary; the Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue at the Jewish Theological Seminary; and the Green Seminary Initiative. Washington D.C. Ecologically Informed Theological Education Conference: Implications for Teaching, Learning, and Seminary Life
An increasing number of Americans are turning to their pastors, priests, and rabbis for wisdom and guidance on ecological sustainability. Awareness is growing of the injustice and inequity of pollution and waste. This conference offered participants resources to prepare seminarians in addressing these ecological concerns from a faith perspective. The conference was held at the Catholic University of America School of Theology and Religious Studies and involved Washington, D.C. and Mid-Atlantic Area Seminary faculty and deans.
Jerusalem, November 2015, Religious Education in the Era of Climate Change
On November 4th, 2015, Religious Education in the Era of Climate Change: A Summit of Conscience took place in Jerusalem.
This one-day event promoted ideas and action plans to encourage faith-based environmental education in seminaries and theological schools in the Holy Land. The conference included discussions around the regional impact of climate change and subsequent urgency of this work; best practices from field experts; and a forum for creative dialogue among participants. The event was co-organized by the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.
Jerusalem, October 2014, Faith and Ecology Conference
In October 2014, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim clergy and seminary students convened around a shared vision of ecological sustainability at the Faith and Ecology Conference. The conference educated over 100 clergy members, seminary students, and others and provided tools and inspiration to help expand faith-based environmental teaching and action. Moving one step beyond previous ICSD conferences, this one-day event incorporated action planning sessions for each participating institution to return home with plans to “green” their places of study and worship and continue collaborating across religions to create a more sustainable Holy Land.
This event was part of the United Planet Faith & Science Initiative, which brings faith and science leaders together to catalyze shifts in society to address climate change. Several other events took place in New York, Jerusalem, and Lima in late 2014. To read more about the 2012 conference, click here.
Jerusalem, July 2011, Interfaith Eco Forum
In July, 2011, the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development put on the Interfaith Eco Forum in Jerusalem. This Forum was the culmination of The Holy Land Climate Change Declaration Project, which successfully brought together religious leaders in the Holy Land to endorse a joint statement on climate change. In April, 2011, the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land (CRIHL), representing the high religious authorities of the Holy Land, endorsed the Declaration. The Declaration articulates a religious call for action to address climate change from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish religious leaders in the Holy Land. The Holy Land Climate Change Declaration Project worked to promote a multiplier effect for action on climate change by leveraging the moral authority of religious leaders in the Holy Land. It also advanced coexistence in the Holy Land by creating an example of interfaith cooperation on an area of joint concern.