Creation Care Is Focus of Forum and Young Adult Event

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Cosponsored by Seminary Stewardship Alliance

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Living not in the Garden but in the city and country, how can we consume, protect, farm, and care for creation as followers of Jesus? Bethany Theological Seminary invites exploration of these themes at the 2017 Presidential Forum and Young Adult Event. Invited teachers, speakers, and pastors will join Seminary faculty and students in sharing information and views on this multifaceted concern.

Talks and discussions will include a range of topics, such as ethical farming and consuming, protecting biodiversity, responding to climate change, and simple living for today. Throughout the event, participants will be encouraged to engage with the presenters and dialog with each other in affinity discussion groups. Five plenary speakers will inspire and challenge participants’ thinking with their words:

  • Betty Holley, associate professor of ecological theology – How can we hope to find harmony among the creative tensions of the rights and responsibilities of humans and nature?
  • Rachel Lamb, geographical sciences scholar and national activist – Christians must reject despair and skepticism in response to climate change, demonstrating how redemption and reconciliation are fundamental to our story.
  • Barbara Rossing, professor of New Testament – The book of Revelation and other New Testament visions promise healing for creation, not escape. In a time of ecological crisis, how can we draw on this message?
  • Matthew Sleeth, executive director of Blessed EarthAgainst the background of a personal spiritual and environmental conversion, join in a journey of simplicity, stewardship, and responsibility.
  • A. J. Swoboda, pastor, professor, and author – In a 24/7 culture that is destroying our selves, our society, and the rest of creation, re-embracing sabbath will bring renewal in a way we never imagined.

Dr. Frank Thomas, described as one of the most creative and prominent thought leaders of this generation, will bring the Sunday morning message. Dr. Thomas is the Nettie Sweeney and Hugh Th. Miller Professor of Homiletics and the director of the Academy of Preaching and Celebration at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Bethany faculty will add their expertise to this varied program, with Nate Inglis speaking about an Anabaptist environmental ethic and Dan Ulrich leading a Bible study on the creation hymn in the Gospel of John. Jonathan Frye, faculty member from McPherson College, will lead an interactive session on how science can inform our ethics of natural resources.

Bethany students are engaging in creation stewardship in forthright ways, and four students will share their experiences: Katie Heishman on a journey of simple living, Chibuzo Petty and Jonathan Stauffer on food justice, and Elizabeth Ullery Swenson on a congregation’s creative approach to creation care.

Cost for the full event is discounted to $125 through February 15. High school, college, graduate, and seminary students can attend any or all sessions for a flat fee of $25. Contact forum@bethanyseminary.edu or 765-983-1823 for more information.