[MCCN Recent News]

Film and Exhibit Link Doctrine of Discovery and Mennonite History

Creation care includes examining our relationship with Indigenous Peoples, whose land was taken for exploitation and development upon the settling of this country. Earlier this year, some of you contributed to the production of a film that the Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery* working group was preparing for Mennonite gatherings this past summer. The 43-minute documentary is available on the Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery website.

The working group also prepared a visual display showing the connections between the Doctrine of Discovery and Mennonite settlement. This professionally created exhibit made its way from the MCUSA Convention in Kansas City to Pennsylvania’s Mennonite World Conference during the summer of 2015.  It has continued to Ohio, where it is currently being hosted by the Mennonite Historical Society and Bluffton College. In November, it will move to Goshen College.

  • To host this display in your own community, contact Anita Amstutz, afasinger@gmail.com.
  • To purchase your own exhibit, contact Ken Gingerich, kenkendg@aol.com for details and cost.

Rooted and Grounded Conference Provides Venue for Land-based Thinking

The second year of Anabaptist Biblical Seminary's Rooted and Grounded Conference, Elkhart, Ind., offered input from nearly 50 presenters, doing faith-based ecological thinking in a variety of creative ways.

Luckily for those of you who couldn't attend this stimulating event October 1 to 3, the excellent keynote addresses were recorded. You can access them on the AMBS events page. Here is a lightning summary to help you pick which one to listen to first:

Brian Sauder, Executive Director of Faith in Place, challenged us to root our work for justice in our faith communities and the spiritual disciplines, dialog and accountability that they offer. Faith in Place is a Chicago area non-profit that helps faith communities of all stripes to care for the earth through education, connection and advocacy. Need a story about redemption? Hear about a condemned church building that morphed into a labyrinth and rain gardens. Need a story about grace? Listen for the pick-up truck.

Rewilding the Way: Break Free to Follow an Untamed God

 A book by Todd Wynward. Available from Herald Press, September 1, 2015.

"When did we become so tame? How has "the good life" come to mean addiction to screens and status, fossil fuels and financial fitness? Can we break free to become the joyful and prophetic people God calls us to be? Trek along with wilderness guide Todd Wynward as he "rewilds" the Jesus Way. Seek the feral foundations of Scripture and the lessons that the prophets and disciples gleaned from wilderness testing."

Farming Informs Theology, Feeds Pastors

It has become commonplace for congregations with land to host community gardens. Theological reflection that incorporates farming is also cropping up in a variety of settings. 

Mennonite World Review carried an August 24 article about Dr. Nathan Stucky, a Mennonite from a Kansas farming background who now runs Princeton Theological Seminary's "farminary." Planners see the agricultural connections as an antidote to an industrial model of education.The article points out that "seminary" originally meant "seed bed."  Read more here.

Another resource for those who want to learn how farming might inform theological education is HOPE CSA in Manchester, Ind. Proprietor Jeff Hawkins is a farmer/pastor who leads monthly retreats for pastoral leaders on his farm. Participants reflect on the connections between sustainable farming and pastoring.

Meanwhile, in the West African country of Benin, the Benin Bible Institute is developing a farm along with its pastoral training for rather different reasons. Benin Bible Institute (a school with ties to Mennonite Mission Network) offers bivocational education because many of its students are headed for congregations that can't afford to support a pastor. The institute equips its students to both feed their families and model effective agricultural methods that can improve the health of their villages.

Tussock Sedge Farm Holds the Land

When Henry and Charlotte Rosenberger, Blooming Glen, PA, decided to preserve farmland in a suburban area northeast of Philadelphia, they named their enterprise Tussock Sedge Farm after a plant that is common on the property.

"Tussock sedge holds the land along stream banks and prevents erosion. In the same way, our farm preserves land in an area prone to urban sprawl," Henry Rosenberger explained to MCCN staff following a creation care workshop at Mennonite World Conference.

Much of the 552-acre farm is permanently preserved as part of the Bucks County Farmland Preservation Program. The land is used to raise grass fed beef.  
Read more about the farm's conservation practices

Support Pope Francis with a September 23 Prayer Vigil


Many of us have been encouraged by the Pope's recent encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si': On the Care of Our Common Home and look forward to his September visit to the U.S. Multiple organizations are working on a Week of Moral Action for Climate Justice, September 21 to 25 in Washington, DC.

On Wednesday, September 23rd, the Franciscan Action Network will lead an all-night, multi-faith vigil at the Lincoln Memorial. Others are encouraged to host candlelight vigils in their own towns on this date. On June 24, Pope Francis will address U.S. leaders in Washington, DC.

Rooted and Grounded Conference at AMBS

Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Indiana, will host its second Rooted and Grounded conference, October 1-3, 2015. Speakers and workshops aim to root participants more deeply in the biblical text in order to remember and imagine ways of living on the land that are restorative and reconciling. Keynote speakers are Wilma Bailey, Silvia Keesmaat and Ched Myers. Please register as soon as possible.  

Green Church National Summit

Wednesday thru Friday, August 19-21, 2015 in Chicago, IL

Join faith leaders, green innovators, and hundreds of church members for three days of worship, community-building, discussion, and action. Trinity United Church of Christ and Faith in Place, a nonprofit that helps people of faith care for the earth, have teamed up to host the event.  More details here.