Director of Pastoral Ecology plans first pastoral retreat

“Equipping pastors and congregational leaders” is one of the goals of the Center, which began to be realized with the hiring of Doug Kaufman, the Center’s Director of Pastoral Ecology in partnership with Mennonite Creation Care Network (MCCN). Doug, a pastor himself, joined the team with the goal of training pastors to talk about climate change with their congregants.

This September, Doug’s work will come to fruition with his first pastoral retreat. The retreat, “Who Cares About Climate Change?” is set to take place September 17-19th, at Camp Friedenswald in Cassopolis, MI. The retreat is free to MCUSA pastors, who will receive meals and lodging during their time at the camp (other pastors can still sign up, for a $225 fee).

While Doug hopes for the event to touch on the basic science and understanding of climate change, he hopes for it to focus on the emotional and ethical aspects. He wants to answer the question: “what makes it so hard for us to take appropriate action to prevent further climate change?”

“We have a whole toolkit of emotional responses such as denial, distancing and despair, that keep us from doing the right thing,” says Doug. “I would like pastors to have a toolkit of ways to bring truthfulness and hope to climate change. We acknowledge that it is happening and we do something about it. I see congregations as particularly positioned to help people take broader action that can have a greater impact than an individual.”
This impact can come in many forms, from encouraging congregations to engage in green energy projects for their church building, to engaging with their community to “remind and help one another to turn from consumption as the primary way to find happiness to the path of simplicity and joy.”
Pastors who attend the retreat can look forward to:
  • Increasing your understanding of the way caring for creation directly connects to caring for people and living out God’s vision for our world.
  • Engaging in peer-to-peer exchanges with fellow pastors intent on making creation an essential piece of the good news of Jesus Christ.
  • Listening for God’s guidance as we face the environmental issues of our time and seek to become change agents.
  • Finding a renewed sense of purpose, hope and possibility!

The sign-up form for the retreat can be found on the MCCN website, and follow the Facebook event for further updates about the retreat.

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