Fourth Rooted and Grounded Conference announces call for papers

Published: June 12, 2018

AMBS release

ELKHART, Indiana (Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary) — Registration is now open for the fourth Rooted and Grounded Conference on Land and Christian Discipleship, which will be held Sept. 27–29, 2018, at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana.

Conference organizers are inviting proposals for papers and workshops until July 1. Proposals may address themes such as biblical and/or theological perspectives on creation care, climate change, watershed discipleship, agriculture and care for the land, and land restoration. The event is being planned for practitioners of creation care from scholars and food justice activists to urban gardeners and environmental justice practitioners to farmers and church members.

“Building on the conversations of the Rooted and Grounded conferences in 2014, 2015 and 2017, we are very excited to continue bringing together people from across North America who care deeply about the well-being of God’s creation,” says Janeen Bertsche Johnson, coordinator of the conference planning committee.

Keynote speakers for the conference include:

  • Valerie Bridgeman, associate professor of homiletics and Hebrew Bible at Methodist Theological School in Delaware, Ohio, will speak Friday evening on “Creation as Teacher,” focusing on wisdom from the wisdom literature of the Bible.
  • Karenna Gore, founder of the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary in New York, will speak Thursday evening, presenting a moral framework for concern about climate and related environmental issues.
  • Randy Woodley, distinguished professor of faith and culture at Portland (Oregon) Seminary, will speak Saturday morning on “Resurrecting Ancient Wisdom and Worldview,” looking at how scriptural worldviews can help people take serious action toward reconciling with the community of creation.

On Thursday afternoon, participants will choose one of three extended presentations:

  • Ben Brabson, professor emeritus of physics of climate change at Indiana University Bloomington, will offer a scientific perspective on climate change. 
  • Vurayayi Pugeni, humanitarian relief and disaster response coordinator for Mennonite Central Committee Canada, will present on how climate change is contributing to food insecurity, migration and conflict — especially in the Global South.
  • Ken Quiring, pastor of Grace Mennonite Church in Brandon, Manitoba, and member of the Network of Biblical Storytellers, International, will present a concert of biblical creation stories.

On Friday afternoon, participants will select from several immersion experiences — field trips into the surrounding region to learn more about being in relationship with the land. Other features of the conference are worship services, paper presentations, workshops and time for networking.

Co-sponsors of the conference include the Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions and Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College in Wolf Lake, Indiana. Merry Lea will offer free housing and transportation for college students, and registration costs will be waived if three or more students register from the same college.

Registration, costs, the call for paper and workshop proposals, and other details are available at

Additional image

Janeen Bertsche Johnson, campus pastor and admissions counselor, introduces students in AMBS’s 2017 orientation course to ways in which the seminary seeks to care for God’s creation. Among various features of AMBS’s 42-acre campus are six acres of native prairie grasses, rain gardens, a 60kW solar array and energy-efficient buildings like the green AMBS Library. (Credit: Peter Ringenberg)

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