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Southeast Symposium on Ecologically Informed Theological Education

We invite faculty and administrators in theological education to the Southeast Symposium on Ecologically Informed Theological Education—Implications for Teaching, Learning and Seminary Life. It will take place from Wednesday evening to Friday lunch, March 21-23, 2018, and be held at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA.

The symposium will bring together faculty, staff and administrators from Southern seminaries and theological schools to explore how theological education can address our ecological reality. We are able to offer this opportunity at no cost to invited participants, thanks to a Luce Fund for Theological Education grant and additional support from the Julia Burke Foundation. We will provide lodging, travel reimbursement and meals featuring delicious fare.   

An increasing number of Americans are turning to their pastors, priests, rabbis, and imams for wisdom and guidance on ecological sustainability, lifestyle and spirituality. Awareness is growing of the injustice and inequity of pollution and waste and the implications of climate change. The Symposium will further enable your institution to equip the next generation of religious leaders to engage effectively in creation care and ecological justice. Our time together will inform and invigorate all of us as we strive to better incorporate the care of our planet into our work as educators.

Date, Venue & Registration


Attendees: Seminary Faculty & Deans from Southern States 

When: March 21 – 23, 2018

Where: Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Georgia (near Atlanta, GA)

Cost: Free of Charge

Registration: Link

The Symposium will include


  • Plenary, panel discussion and breakout sessions on the emerging field of religion and ecology in seminaries and theological schools
  • Networking and discussion on integrating ecology in courses in theology, Bible, liturgy, ethics, and more, as well as innovate new courses.
  • Ideas and proposals for clinical and field education as well as vocational options.
  • Addresses from leading environmental scientists.

Agenda (subject to change)


Wednesday, March 21

4:00 PMArrival & Check in
6:30 PMDinner
7:30 PMWorship
8:00 PMPlenary Presentation. Speaker: J. Marshall Shepherd (UGA professor of atmospheric sciences)

Thursday, March 22

7:30 AMBreakfast
9:00 AMPlenary: Laurel Kearns and Tim Van Meter: Moving Toward Being a Green School: Obstacles and Strategies
10:30 AMWorkshops on Teaching Ecology within and beyond Our Disciplines
12:30 PMLunch
1:30 PMInterfaith Panel: Cultivating Eco-Consciousness within Various Communities of Faith
2:45 PMBreak
3:00 PMCampus Sustainability and Environmental Justice
1. Walking Tour to Agnes Scott College to meet with Susan Kidd (Director of Sustainability).
2. Teaching Environmental Justice: Na’taki Osborne Jelks (Assistant Professor in Public Health)
6:30 PMEat and Play! Fishbanks Simulation Game with Rob Williamson (Kennesaw State University)

Friday, March 23

7:30 AMBreakfast
8:30 AMMorning Plenary: Jennifer Ayres (Emory University/Candler School of Theology): Ecology in Religious Education
10:00 AMPanel on Takeaways and Best Practices
11:30 AMConcluding Worship with the Rev. William E. Flippin (pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Atlanta)
12:15 PMLunch
After LunchDeparture

Lodging


Lodging on campus will be provided on a first come, first serve basis. We have both single rooms (queen size bed, accommodating an individual or couple) and double rooms (two twin beds).

If you choose to arrange your own lodging, we recommend the Marriott Courtyard in downtown Decatur. Reimbursement will be provided up to $125 per night with receipt.

Past Symposiums


To view pictures from the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Symposium on Ecologically Informed Theological Education, held at Catholic University of America’s School of Theology and Religious Studies in Washington D.C., click here. To view a video from that Symposium, click here. To see a video of a similar conference in Manhattan in 2016, click here

Our Supporters & Partners


This Symposium is part of the Seminary Environmental Leadership Initiative, which is funded through a grant from the Luce Fund for Theological Education, with additional support from the Julia Burke Foundation.

The Symposium is being co-organized by Columbia Theological Seminary, The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, Methodist Theological School in Ohio, the Green Seminary Initiative, and Georgia Interfaith Power and Light