[MCCN Recent News]

Mennonites, Music, and the Environment: Sound in the Land

June 5 to 8, 2014, Conrad Grebel University College, Ontario, CANADA
Sound in the Land is an occasional conference celebrating Mennonites and music surrounding a particular theme. This year, the theme is the environment. The conference is a combination of musical performances in various genres and academic presentations. Featured presenters include well-known Canadian composer, R. Murray Schafer, who founded the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology, Gus Mills a South African environmentalist and researcher, and Korean media artist Cecilia Kim, as well as ecomusicologists from around the world.

The Mennofolk concert, which is part of the event, includes performers such as the Anabaptist Bestiary Project, Bryan Moyer Suderman, and Quiet in the Land. 

Anabaptist Bestiary Project

The Anabaptist Bestiary Project is an alternative rock band of students from Bluffton College under the direction of theologian Trevor Bechtel (also an MCCN member). While a great deal of popular music focuses on jilted lovers and sexual frustration, this group sings about sloths. Also bees, sheep, mosquitoes, lions and animals you might not even have heard of.

Together, the group reflects on the things that naturalists discover about other creatures and then engages in theological reflection on the behavior and place of these creatures in the world. The result is thought provoking, richly textured and musically interesting.

Rooted and Grounded: A Conference on Land and Christian Discipleship

September 18-20, 2014
Hosted by Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Indiana

Many people are becoming increasingly aware of the intimate connection between the environmental crisis and humanity’s detachment from the land. Many are perceiving the profound link between the (un)health of the land and the inner disorder of our Western society. As God’s people, the church must imagine and embody an alternative that cultivates shalom between individuals, within and between communities, between humans and the rest of creation, and with God.

This conference is one way we will engage in a theology that cares for God’s creation, for the land and all that lives on it. We invite pastors, scholars, creation care advocates and practitioners to join the discussion.
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Oak Hammocks Preserved at Emmanuel

[Meet Member Congregations]

Creation care Liaison: Richard MacMaster
Joined MCCN 100 Shades: April 2014
From its beginnings, Emmanuel Mennonite Church, Gainesville, Florida, has been known in the community for its commitment to peace and social justice. These interests began developing in a new direction when a former member bequeathed the congregation a small farm. Much of this property is forested wetland and includes what are known in Florida as oak hammocks. The Church Council has been working on plans to preserve most of the land in its natural state and develop a program there for traumatized veterans.

Want to Live Justly?

MCCN Councilmember Joanne Moyer recommends the book Living Ecological Justice: A Biblical Response to the Environmental Crisispublished by a Canadian nonprofit called Citizens for Public Justice, Ottawa, ON. This faith-based group seeks to shape public policy debates in the areas of poverty, ecological justice, taxation and refugees.

Everence Shifts Toward Greener Investing

Divesting from fossil fuels has been much in the news in the past year or two. While it may not have resulted in the demise of oil companies, it has succeeded in opening up discussion about money, values and climate change.

"Two years ago, I wished I could have been as engaged with climate change as I can be now," says Chris Meyer, an investment specialist with Everence, remarking on the increased demand for environmentally responsible investing. Everence is a Christian financial services organization affiliated with the Mennonite Church USA and other denominations. 

Park View Mows with Muscle Power

[Meet Member Congregations]

Creation Care Liaison: Everett Brubaker
Joined MCCN 100 Shades: late 2013
Park View Mennonite Church, (PVMC), Harrisonburg, VA, has gotten a lot done since they established a Creation Care Council in mid-2009—especially in the area of energy efficiency. For one thing, a solar array now generates about half of the congregation’s electricity. Meanwhile, a more humble technology keeps their lawn mowed. 

Erb Blends Family Therapy, Climate Change

[About our Members]
Charletta Erb
, Pasadena, CA, was featured at MCUSA's Women Doing Theology conference February 20-22 in Leesburg, VA. Erb's talk was entitled, She Says Wake Up: Living and Leading with the Heart on Climate Change. Erb applied Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' stages of grief to climate change, and also connected an addictions framework to first world consumption habits. Erb is completing work toward a family therapy degree. 

Need a speaker? Charletta has a wide variety of interests she is willing to share, one of which is involvement with Transition Towns.