JoAnn Jones '17 and Michael Horvath '17, M.Div. seminarians at The General Theological Seminary, were invited to attend the Episcopal Evangelism Society’s Seminarian Leadership Conference at Sewanee School of Theology. The focus of this year’s conference was theology, faith and environmental sustainability. They had the opportunity to connect with fellow seminarians from Bloy House, Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Virginia Theological Seminary, Berkeley Divinity School, Seminary of the Southwest, Nashotah House, Trinity School for Ministry, Duke Divinity and the Episcopal Divinity School.
The seminarians shared what their respective institutions were doing to integrate stewardship for the earth alongside their theological studies. Initiatives around community gardens, beekeeping, food education, and composting, to name a few, were discussed at length, and a panel of professors and practitioners led a discussion around the theological underpinnings of environmental stewardship.
“It was interesting to hear how each seminary’s specific challenges informed their environmental and stewardship outlook,” said Horvath. “General’s relative compactness in one of the world’s most densely populated cities always forces us to think about environmental stewardship in the context of the larger New York City community. On the other hand, more rural or suburban seminaries are finding opportunities to become more self-sustaining. For example, they are using their land to grow food that will make its way to their refectory kitchens, and they have large scale composting operations that minimize the overall waste leaving their campuses.”
In addition to the wonderful hospitality provided by the Sewanee students, the seminarians were guests of Dean Alexander at a reception he held at his home. “There is a strong set of future church leaders who are thinking creatively about environmental issues and stewardship, and I was grateful for the opportunity to get to know them,” said Horvath.