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Ecotheology Travel Seminar

GBHEM has the responsibility of providing greater awareness of global ecological crises in clergy education and training (Section 1023, Book of Resolution, 2012). As a part of this initiative, the Office of Clergy Lifelong Learning co-hosted an Ecotheology Travel Seminar to Peru to remind clergy about their responsibility to care for God's creation. The seminar is one of many training tools for the church’s focus on environmental issues. Each month, we will feature the clergy’s reflections on the interrelationships between spirituality, nature, stewardship of creation and the church’s responsibility in regards to the environmental concerns. Learn more about the Ecotheology Travel Seminar

Ecotheology Blog Posts

Mark Terwilliger Theological Reflection
Posted on: July 20, 2017

Mark Terwilliger

Pastor, Countryside Community United Methodist Church

A great irony of this travel seminar is that we drank bottled water throughout our time in Peru. While the United Nations declares clean drinking water a basic human right, it is available mostly to privileged people who can afford it, such as myself. Peru is one of many places in the world where people are at risk from diseases caused by water-borne microorganisms and chemicals. If tap water is not safe in Peru for travelers to drink, is it safe for locals? Do Peruvians develop an immunity that I do not have? And if not (which I suspect to be the case), are they able to afford bottled water?

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Landscape of Peruvian city.
Posted on: June 8, 2017

Mary L. Fraser, Ph.D.
Director, Office of Pastoral Care and Counseling, Iowa Annual Conference

At Bocca Manu, Peru, the Manu River joins the Madre De Dios. We arrived in Bocca Manu after a time in the Rainforest of Manu National Park, where one does not need a religious text or a poet to remind the human heart that the sacred exists in all life. Our group consisted of concerned ministerial professionals, educators, doctors and two Peruvian guides.  

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Jane Cheema Theological Reflection
Posted on: May 4, 2017

Jane Berman Cheema

Pastor of Youth and Family Ministry, First United Methodist Church, Evanston

Listening to the needs of people and listening to places of pain and brokenness in the world is a practice that shapes my ministry as a Deacon in the local church. This practice of listening shapes my understanding of how I am called to live in covenant with God’s people and with all of Creation. When I tune my ears to hear both where God is present and where people and creation long for compassion and justice, I am reminded of how deeply we are intertwined with each other and with Creation. In all the sounds I heard, God was being revealed in a richness of expression I had not known before our Eco theology journey.

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Child and Llamas
Posted on: February 20, 2017

Rev. Dr. Sharon G. Austin
Director of Connectional Ministries and Justice Ministries, Florida Annual Conference

First this: God created the Heavens and Earth—all you see, all you don’t see. Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. God’s Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss. Unfathomable, the biblical account of the creation. Unbelievable, the ecotheology trip to Peru. The word of God as I interpret it and the particular appreciation that I derive from the above-referenced Genesis text through the message translation, conjures an image in my mind of all life on earth through ‘birthing.’

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Machu Picchu
Posted on: February 20, 2017

Rev. Greg McGonigle
University Chaplain, Tufts University

I applied to participate in the United Methodist Church GBHEM Ecotheology Travel Seminar to Peru in Fall 2016 because ecotheology is not an area that I had studied in depth before, but I know the profound importance of ecology to addressing the contemporary plight of our planet, and, as a university chaplain, I feel I have a responsibility to help our campus community address the spiritual and ethical aspects of today’s environmental crisis.

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