You are warmly invited to celebrate the launch of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary’s Center for Ecological Regeneration and installation of Dr. Timothy Reinhold Eberhart as the inaugural holder of The Robert and Marilyn Degler McClean Endowed Chair in Ecological Theology and Practice. This two-day celebration will be held on Friday, April 22, and Saturday, April 23, 2022.
Garrett-Evangelical has long been committed to equipping religious leaders with theological, moral, and spiritual resources to guide communities in responding to the social crises of their time. In a time of widespread environmental degradation, bearing especially on those already suffering from various forms of inequity, the Center for Ecological Regeneration will support the seminary’s efforts to collaborate with others in seeking the just healing of God’s creation for the flourishing of all.
The newly endowed chair, made possible by the generosity of Garrett Biblical Institute alums Marilyn (GBI 1958) and Robert (GBI 1959) McClean, ensures that ecological literacy and justice will remain central to our curriculum and solidifies the seminary’s leadership in the fields of ecological theology, environmental ethics, and regenerative practice.
We hope you will be able to join us in celebrating and embracing these commitments through one or more of the following opportunities during this two-day celebration.
The Center for Ecological Regeneration is what we need in every seminary. Unless we change our ways of thinking and living with the earth there will be no future for us. Timothy Eberhart is the right person to lead this Center. We will be blessed, that I am sure.
Cláudio Carvalhaes, Associate Professor of Worship, Union Theological Seminary
If what exploits people is what exploits the planet, theology needs to engage both ecological and economic justice if it wants to honor God and God’s creation. The new Center for Ecological Regeneration and Timothy Eberhart in the McClean Chair in Ecological Theology and Practice are welcome partners in what is at the heart of the mission of the church in the twenty-first century.
Joerg Rieger, Distinguished Professor of Theology, Cal Turner Chancellor’s Chair in Wesleyan Studies, and Director of the Wendland-Cook Program in Religion and Justice, Vanderbilt University Divinity School
The Center for Ecological Regeneration will make important contributions to the flourishing of our shared planetary future. We welcome this new initiative with great joy and deep gratitude.
Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, Co-directors, Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology
The earth now hears the grateful song; the hills are now clothed with gladness! Let all voices unwearied rise in thanksgiving for this auspicious, new gospel work coming forth from just, visionary leaders at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Angela Cowser, Associate Dean of Black Church Studies and Doctor of Ministry Programs, Associate Professor of Black Church Studies, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
I am filled with hope for the Center’s mission to renew our relationships with the land and with one another, and it is of special significance that those undertaking this work see it as foundational to their theological understandings and commitments to holistic justice and community action. I share support and encouragement for the Center as they unite diverse expressions of spiritual and ecological connectedness in a common vision for healing our earth.
The Center for Ecological Regeneration meets a desperate need for an alternative story for the sake of ecological justice, one that respects the multiple ecological relationships that form a regenerative interconnected web of life.
Reverend Dr. Upolu Luma Vaai, Principal and Head of Theology and Ethics, Pacific Theological College, Suva, Fiji
The holistic vision and work of the Center for Ecological Regeneration is precisely what is needed to face planetary problems like climate change and environmental racism. This approach of social healing, ecological teaching, intersectional organizing, and liberative spirituality is blazing a path for hopeful discipleship today
Dr. T. Wilson Dickinson, Director of The Green Good News and Director of Doctor of Ministry Program, Lexington Theological Seminary
I cannot think of more pressing justice issues than the intertwined human and environmental crises created by climate change and biodiversity loss. The Center for Ecological Regeneration is providing individuals with the knowledge and skills to understand the depth of these challenges, while creating visionary leaders with the compassion necessary to engage the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual suffering of this age. This Center is both revolutionary and absolutely necessary.
Joshua Richardson, Executive Director, Brugmansia Ministries, MA in Public Ministry, Ecological Regeneration Concentration, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary ’20
As a friend of and collaborator with Garrett, I’m grateful for and warmly supportive of the inauguration of the Center for Ecological Regeneration and the McClean Chair in Ecological Theology and Practice. Both are the fruit of local, regional and national organizing and engagement, and will in turn provide soil and seed for further personal and institutional commitments to watershed justice and restorative solidarity. I am grateful for how Garrett is nurturing deep discipleship formation and praxis at the intersection of seminary, sanctuary, streets and soil in our fraught times.
Ched Myers, Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries
In a time when people of faith need to boldly claim a better world without fossil fuels, we need a place like the Center for Ecological Regeneration. We need to reconnect with our faith and with the places we call home – and then we need to work for the flourishing of all creation, with justice and care.
rev. abby mohaupt, Director of Education and Training, GreenFaith
The Center for Ecological Regeneration could not have been launched at a more critical time for our shared home. We at Faith in Place are thrilled to see this inspiring effort take shape, and look forward to working with Dr. Eberhart and the Center in our common struggle for healthy, equitable, and more resilient communities.
Rev. Brian Sauder, President and Executive Director, Faith in Place
The Center for Ecological Regeneration will equip future leaders of the Church to call on the moral resources and traditions of our faith to foster courageous solutions to the climate crisis that support flourishing for all people. This work builds on Garrett’s longstanding commitment to environmental, social, and economic justice as a faithful response to the Gospel of Jesus.
Lizzy Case, Founder of Arrayed, MTS, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary ’16
9 a.m. (CDT)
Interfaith and Environmental Leaders Breakfast for Evanston Community Leaders
Evanston interfaith and environmental leaders are invited to learn how the center can support area efforts for environmental sustainability and justice and to contribute their ideas toward collective education and shared action.
11 a.m. (CDT)
Sponsored by the Center for the Church and the Black Experience, we will welcome Dr. Keri Day-Moore as guest lecturer. Dr. Keri Day-Moore is an Associate Professor of Constructive Theology and African American Religion at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ.
2 p.m. (CDT)
Chapel of the Unnamed Faithful and Live Webcast
The Launch of the Center for Ecological Regeneration and a Service of Installation featuring Rev. Dr. Timothy Reinhold Eberhart as inaugural holder of The Robert and Marilyn Degler McClean Endowed Chair in Ecological Theology and Practice.
5:30 p.m. (CDT)
First United Methodist Church of Evanston
A Celebration Dinner will be held in the Great Hall of First United Methodist Church of Evanston. Located at 516 Church Street, Evanston, Illinois, all are welcome to attend. Registration is required. Following a short program featuring current and past students shaped by Garrett’s eco-theological curriculum and initiatives, guests will enjoy music from The Many.
The Many is an intentionally diverse collective who have come together around their shared love of music and their commitment to honest expressions of faith, worship and the pressing issues of our times. In just a few years, they have become a significant creative voice in the movement for inclusion, justice and mercy across a diverse church landscape. They have led music and worship at The Wild Goose Festival, at denominational Annual Conferences, the Sojourner Summit, the Progressive Youth Conference and they have shared the platform with a long list of prominent speakers, including Brian McLaren, Lenny Duncan, Nadia Bolz-Weber and William Barber III. Their recent work has included a collaboration with The BTS Center, creating online gatherings for lament with the earth.
9 a.m. (CDT)
Loder Hall and the Library Terrace
Church of the Wild: The Movement and the Experience
Featuring Rev. Victoria Loorz
Thomas Berry famously named the spiritual problem underlying ecological degeneration: “We are talking only to ourselves. We are not talking to the rivers, we are not listening to the wind and stars. We have broken the great conversation.” Spirit and Nature are not separate but centuries of Empire have led to a tragic severance that underlies not only the climate crisis but our own spiritual emptiness. A movement on the edges of religious institutions has been drawing people back into intimate and particular relationship with the rest of the living world, and calling it church. Church of the Wild is an opportunity for divine encounter, experiencing God rather than talking about God, through simple spiritual practices that invite people into the wild world (aka “nature”) to listen for the holy, to engage in intimate conversation with the sacred by re-membering ourselves back into the interconnected web of reality.
This two hour session will begin in the Loder Dining Room with a half hour introduction to the contours of the Wild Church movement and then we will gather outside on the Library Terrace for a Church of the Wild experience.
10:45 a.m (CDT)
Botany Bouquet and Story of Place Workshop
Featuring Claire Bjork
Understanding habitat restoration or land stewardship as a spiritually-engaged practice means acknowledging our ecological unity and finding our place in an interconnected community that we are actively working to heal. Through hands-on learning, we’ll nurture our relationships with plants and initiate our own Story of Place, recognizing how land can be our teacher and guide in the restoration process. This workshop uses the Earth Partnership/Caring for Common Ground place-based learning framework, laying a foundation for a more extensive series of native habitat design and implementation that the Garrett community will be embarking upon. All knowledge and experience levels are welcome, as everyone’s perspective is vital to a collaborative learning and stewardship process that centers our relationships with land and with one another.
Dr. Keri Day-Moore is an Associate Professor of Constructive Theology and African American Religion at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ. She earned an M.A. in Religion and Ethics from Yale University Divinity School and received her Ph.D. in Religion from Vanderbilt University. Her academic research focuses on how African American theology and black religious thought address global economics, especially among women of the African Diaspora. Her articles and essays on religion, culture, and economics have been published in several nationally regarded journals. She has authored three academic books, Unfinished Business: Black Women, The Black Church, and the Struggle to Thrive in America (2012); Religious Resistance to Neoliberalism: Womanist and Black Feminist Perspectives (2015); and Notes of a Native Daughter: Testifying in Theological Education (2021). She currently has her next book, Azusa Reimagined: A Radical Vision of Religious and Democratic Belonging, under contract with Stanford University Press, which will be published June 2022. She has also been recognized by NBC News as one of six black women at the center of gravity in theological education in America. She is a fourth-generation Church of God in Christ preacher.
Alongside her scholarship, she also engages public policy leaders. She has participated in White House briefings in Washington D.C. to discuss issues related to economic policy, religious freedom, faith-based initiatives, human rights efforts, and peace building efforts around the world. She has been a guest political commentator on KERA/NPR, DFW/FOX News, and Huffpost Live with Marc Lamont Hill on issues related to faith and politics. She has written for the New York Daily News, The Christian Century, The Feminist Wire, and The Huffington Post.
Rev. Dr. Timothy Reinhold Eberhart is the L. Robert and Marilyn McClean associate professor of ecological theology and practice. Eberhart joined the faculty of Garrett-Evangelical in 2010 and was promoted to associate professor in the spring of 2020. In 2017, he was named director of the Master of Arts in Public Ministry program that he helped design and implement, as well as advisor for a new concentration in ecological regeneration.
Eberhart, who grew up in South Dakota, earned a bachelor of arts in religion from St. Olaf College, master of divinity degree from Vanderbilt Divinity School, and doctor of philosophy from the Graduate School at Vanderbilt University. He has taught courses in theology, Christian ethics, and practical ministry at Dakota Wesleyan University, Vanderbilt University, the Methodist Theological School in Ohio, and Garrett-Evangelical.
A sought-out speaker, Eberhart has lectured and led workshops at institutions and churches throughout the nation in the areas of ecological, economic, agricultural, and racial justice. His publications include Rooted and Grounded in Love: Holy Communion for the Whole Creation (Wipf and Stock, 2017), The Economy of Salvation: Essays in Honor of M. Douglas Meeks (Wipf and Stock, 2015), and chapters on mission, ecclesiology, theological education, and ecotheology.
After coming to Garrett-Evangelical, Eberhart directed the seminary’s Course of Study School from 2012-2015, during which he oversaw the implementation of a new residential/online hybrid model of education. He has led numerous environmental initiatives at the seminary, including Garrett-Evangelical’s founding role in the Seminary Stewardship Alliance and the completion of a three-year Green Seminary Initiative certification as a Green Seminary. He has also participated with students in a variety of protest movements in Chicagoland and beyond, including Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock, and Fridays for Future Climate Strikes. In 2021, he received the Exemplary Teacher of the Year Award from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry for his support of students, curricular contributions, and public initiatives.
Eberhart is an ordained elder in the Dakotas Conference of The United Methodist Church and has served in youth, campus, young adult, and congregational ministries and on numerous boards and committees for the denomination. He is the current North American Secretary for the Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies, a co-founder and co-chair of The Institute for Christian Socialism, and a co-founder and Advisory Team member of the UMC Creation Justice Movement. At the local level, Eberhart has served on the steering committee for Leadership Evanston, the board of Citizens Greener Evanston, where he was active with the Environmental Justice Evanston Committee, and the city of Evanston’s Equity and Empowerment Commission.
Rev. Victoria Loorz is a “wild church pastor,” an “eco-spiritual director” and co-founder of several transformation-focused organizations focused on the integration of nature and spirituality. She feels most alive when collaborating with Mystery and kindred spirits to create opportunities for people to re-member themselves back into intimate, sacred relationship with the rest of the living world.
After twenty years as a pastor of indoor churches, she launched the first Church of the Wild, in Ojai CA and began to meet others with the same sense of call to leave building and expand the Beloved Community beyond our own species. She then co-founded the ecumenical Wild Church Network.
Victoria is co-founder and director of Seminary of the Wild, which is focused on a deep-dive yearlong Eco-Ministry Certificate program for all those who feel called by Earth and Spirit to “restore the great conversation” (Thomas Berry).
She now calls Bellingham, Washington her home, a beautiful land along the Salish Sea on territory tended and loved for generations by the Coast Salish peoples, in particular the Nooksack and Lummi nations.
Dr. Claire Bjork was raised in the St. Croix River Valley of Minnesota (Dakota ancestral land), with close ties to the woods and waters of northern MN (Anishinaabe ceded territory). She has worked for the Earth Partnership program at UW-Madison since 2013, where she explores and enacts culturally-engaged land restoration and stewardship learning through educator professional development and community-based research. Through Earth Partnership’s Indigenous Arts and Sciences initiative, she serves educational partnerships with Native Nations that integrate Indigenous Knowledge and western science in the context of land and water protection.
Claire’s doctoral dissertation (Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, UW-Madison) explored an interfaith approach to land care learning and helped launch the Caring for Common Ground program at Holy Wisdom Monastery in Middleton, WI, which she continues to co-facilitate.
She is grateful to find herself in groups where faith and spirituality invite advocating for justice, honoring Creation, and expressing our whole selves in our connections to the land and one another. Claire lives where she was raised in MN with her husband, two children, and close-knit extended family.
As Garrett continues to watch and be responsive to the COVID-19 pandemic our top priority remains keeping the campus community safe. Vaccination for all on campus is required.