[MCCN Recent News]

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. 

"Walk the Watershed Way" Launches in Mountain States

This past spring, Albuquerque Mennonite Church and the Western District Conference of the Mennonite Church USA licensed Todd Wynward of Taos, NM, as a minister for watershed discipleship. Todd is pictured at left with his wife, Peg Bartlett.

Welcome to our New Members from Mennonite World Conference

Mennonite Creation Care Network gained 59 new members at Mennonite World Conference in Harrisburg, PA, July 21 to 25. Most are from the U.S. Seven are from Canada, and nine more add perspectives from other continents. They come from Indonesia, Lesotho, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Colombia, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua.

MCCN staff offered three workshops at Mennonite World Conference. Two included Spanish translation. The picture above shows participants sharing about their local contexts in a workshop entitled, "Watershed Discipleship: Understanding Each Other's Environmental Challenges." 

Beltram Peace Center 270 Seeks a Creative Solution

Nancy Shebeneck of Emmanuel Mennonite Church, Gainsville, FL, has a good problem. Beltram Peace Center 270, a ministry she helped birth, is at the point where it needs additional leadership with skills in management, networking and fundraising.

"I am looking for someone who shares our Mennonite values of creation care and service and has the skills to enter into our journey," Shebeneck writes.Beltram Peace Center 270, a ministry of Emmanuel Mennonite Church, is both a nature preserve and a peace center. The congregation partners with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Committee to preserve the 40 acres of oak hammock that a former member bequeathed to them. They also work with a local organization called the Warrior Institute to make this natural beauty a place of healing for veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and their families.

See Beltram Peace Center 270's website and blog
Email Nancy Shebeneck