“…need an approach to Christian faith and witness that is more contextual, constructive and practical than prevailing environmental theologies offer. A ”
The proposed project for 2015 has three phases:
1) Research. The key task is to interpret “bioregional” paradigms into ecclesial spaces and theological conversation, focusing on watershed literacy, restorative strategies and Transition practices. It will promote re-imagining the church as a “re-placed” community of regenerative witness in light of the ecological crisis. A team from around the U.S. will develop collaborative watershed perspectives on theology, biblical hermeneutics, ethics, ecclesiology, missions, spirituality, and restorative justice, and translate them into practices for local faith communities. This research will be presented at a conference in the Ventura River watershed in southern California in February.
2) Writing. This will result in three publications: i) a concise primer on a theology and practices of Watershed Discipleship that I will author, that will be translated into Spanish; ii) an anthology I will edit with diverse reflections on Watershed Discipleship by ten educator-activists under 35; and iii) a themed issue of the Semeia Journal on bioregional hermeneutics entitled “Word and Watershed” that I will coedit with Dr. James Perkinson.
3) Education and Organizing. I will lead five ecumenical trainings in geographically-dispersed cities on Watershed Discipleship, in partnership with collegial organizations between June and October. A summer intern will help plan future workshops with other partners, and help upgrade our social media presence. Outreach will focus on low income communities of color and making connections to justice issues, especially native rights.
All these efforts will serve to build the nascent national Watershed Discipleship Alliance, a collaborative working to amplify these perspectives and increase capacity among denominations and congregations to reposition the local church as a demonstration project of repentance, resilience and renewal.