Rooted and Grounded:
A Conference on Land and Christian Discipleship

April 20–22, 2017

As God’s people, the church is called to imagine and embody alternative ways of relating to the land that cultivate shalom between human beings, the rest of creation and God. To do this, we must be deeply rooted in the biblical text and engaged with present-day movements to protect the land and its resources. AMBS is pleased to announce the third Rooted and Grounded Conference, building on conversations held at the prior events in September 2014 and October 2015.

2017 Keynote speakers

  • Dr. Stanley Saunders (Thursday evening) will speak on “A Dwelling Place for God: Earth, Ecology, and Eschatology in the Sermon on the Mount.” Stan is associate professor of New Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, with research interests in early Christian understandings of “the last days,” the nature of the Church, spirituality, and how Scripture engages current issues such as creation care and the criminal justice system. He is the author of Preaching Matthew: Proclaiming God’s Presence (Westminster John Knox, 2010), and is currently working on a book about creation, eschatology and ecology. Stan is an ordained member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
  • Sarah Augustine (Friday evening) will speak on "Peoples of the Land Rise Up: The Struggle for the Land is the Struggle for Life,” exploring the struggles of Indigenous peoples in relation to texts from Amos, Isaiah, Hosea and Matthew. A member of Seattle Mennonite Church, Sarah is the executive director of the Dispute Resolution Center of Yakima and co-director of the Suriname Indigenous Health Fund. She led the team that wrote the World Council of Churches Statement on the Doctrine of Discovery (adopted in 2012) and has advocated for the rights of Indigenous Peoples around the globe to the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights.
  • Todd Wynward (Saturday morning) will speak on "Come to the Waters: What Settlers Like Me Learn from Standing Rock." He will dig into biblical examples of transformation in undomesticated space at the water's edge, and how the rootedness demonstrated at Standing Rock can ground all people — settlers and Indigenous alike — in their own home places in interfaith watershed protector alliances today. Todd is the co-creator of a wilderness-based public charter school and founder of the Taos Initiative for Life Together [TiLT] in New Mexico. Licensed as a minister for watershed discipleship ministry in Mountain States Mennonite Conference, Todd is author of Rewilding the Way: Break Free to Follow an Untamed God (Herald Press, 2015).

Conference registration

Register online. Rates: $100/regular; $35/day; $25/student

If three or more undergraduate students register from the same college or university, their registration is free. 


Download information on workshops, immersion experiences and other details.

What to expect

The three days will weave together worship, theology, biblical study and praxis.

In addition to keynote presentations, papers and workshops, participants will join in several worship services. An afternoon of immersion experiences will give participants opportunities to explore conservation and restoration efforts in the region.

The AMBS campus, with areas of native grass and wildflowers, rain gardens, a prayer labyrinth and a walking path, will provide opportunities for learning, recreation and meditation.