Skip to content »

Garrett-Evangelical Partners with Illinois-based Organization Faith in Place to Offer New Course in Environmental Justice

January 15, 2019
Organizing for Environmental Justice

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary has established a new partnership with Faith in Place, a state-wide organization that has worked with over 1,000 houses of worship throughout Illinois to protect our common land, air, and water. Through this exciting partnership, Garrett-Evangelical will be offering a dynamic new course this Spring semester called Organizing for Environmental Justice. The class is part of a new concentration in Ecological Regeneration at the seminary, with courses in ecological theology, environmental ethics, and practical ecological ministries. The course is available both to masters students, including those in the newly launched Master of Arts in Public Ministry degree, and to non-seminarians throughout the Chicago area.

The course, which will be taught by Rev. Brian Sauder, president and executive director of Faith in Place, and Veronica Kyle, director of Chicago outreach, will be held Fridays this spring from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at various sites throughout Chicagoland.

With outreach staff working across the state and offices located in Chicago, the north and west suburbs, Lake County, and Central Illinois, Faith in Place inspires faithful people to care for the Earth through four program areas: energy and climate change, sustainable food and land use, water preservation, and advocacy.

“Faith in Place’s mission to empower people of faith to lead the environmental movement includes seminary students – the next generation of faith leaders,” said Sauder. “We are delighted with this partnership because of the ways it strengthens our shared missions of enacting environmental justice for all.”

Through this new course students will increase their awareness as leaders, organizers, managers, and advocates for the care of the earth and environmental justice by reading and discussing literature on these topics and witnessing the work of leaders and organizations committed to these ends during the site visits. They will also come to appreciate the complex challenges facing individuals and communities suffering from environmental injustices.

“I’m thrilled about the course, and I’m thrilled about the growing partnership,” said Rev. Dr. Timothy Eberhart, assistant professor of theology and ecology at Garrett Evangelical. “Faith in Place is recognized worldwide for their faith-based environmental work throughout Chicago and the state of Illinois. At a time when a growing number in the environmental movement are recognizing the connections between ecological degradation, poverty, and racism, I’m so pleased that our students will be able to learn from an organization that has been at the forefront of addressing all three through their interfaith organizing and advocacy work. I see this class as just the beginning of a long-term collaboration with Faith in Place in bringing healing and justice to the people and places of our shared region.”

When asked about this new course offering, President Lallene J. Rector of Garrett-Evangelical said, “The shape of ministry is changing today, with more and more students sensing a call to love God and neighbor and to seek justice in the world in ways that connect with but go beyond traditional forms of congregational ministry. Courses like this are designed to equip and empower a new generation of public-oriented ministers who love Jesus, feel the movement of the Spirit in their lives, and are deeply committed to the well-being not just of the church but of the world God so loves.”

For non-seminarians interested in taking the course for academic credit, the seminary is offering 50% off of the tuition for this course. An audit-only option is available with no credit given. To learn more and to register for the Organizing for Environment Justice course, go to Garrett.edu/EnvironmentalJustice.