Rooted and Grounded:
A Conference on Land and Christian Discipleship

Sept. 27–29, 2018

Students pray in the prairie grasses near the AMBS library. Credit: Peter RingenbergAs God’s people, the church is called to imagine and embody alternative ways of relating to the land that cultivate shalom among 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 fourth conference, building on prior events.

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. Download a PDF of the schedule.

2018 Keynote Speakers

Karenna Gore, Valerie Bridgeman and Randy Woodley

Karenna Gore is the Director, and founder, of the Center for Earth Ethics at Union Theological Seminary. She has previously worked in the legal center of Sanctuary for Families and as Director of Community Affairs for the Association to Benefit Children (ABC). She has also worked as a writer and is the author of Lighting the Way: Nine Women Who Changed Modern America. Karenna is a graduate of Harvard College, Columbia Law School and Union Theological Seminary.

Rev. Dr. Valerie Bridgeman is the Founder and President of WomanPreach!, Inc., the premiere non-profit organization that brings preachers into full prophetic voice around issues of equity and justice both in the pulpit and in the public arena. Our mission is to produce a network of preaching women and men who will use their voice in service to the gospel of Jesus Christ, especially as it relates to Womanist/Feminist concerns of equity and justice.

Dr. Bridgeman is a graduate of Trinity University with a double major in Communication and Religion. She holds a Master of Divinity degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, where she won the Charles L. King Excellence in Preaching Award for graduating seniors. She pursued further studies at Baylor University, receiving a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Biblical Studies with a concentration in Hebrew Bible.

A preacher and teacher of preaching and biblical interpretation, Dr. Bridgeman is currently the Dean and VP of Academic Affairs at Methodist Theological School in Ohio (MTSO). She has taught graduate courses at several prestigious seminaries, including Brite Divinity School, Wesley Theological Seminary, New York Theological Seminary and Memphis Theological Seminary. Prior to her appointment at MTSO, she was a tenured Associate Professor at Lancaster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania.

Dr. Bridgeman has also authored and contributed to numerous books, including Those Preaching Women: A Multicultural Collection with Rev. Dr. Ella Pearson Mitchell; The Audacity of Faith: Christian Leaders Reflect on the Election of Barack Obama by Dr. Marvin McMickle; and her own collection of poetry entitled, In Search of Warriors: Dark and Strong and Other Poems. Her forthcoming work from Westminister/John Knox Press is entitled, From God and a Woman: Womanist Hermeneutic for Biblical Interpretation.

Rev. Randy Woodley, PhD, is a Keetoowah Cherokee (legal descendent) teacher, poet, activist, former pastor, missiologist and historian. Woodley received his baccalaureate degree from Rockmont College in Denver, Colorado. He was ordained to the ministry through the American Baptist Churches in the USA in Oklahoma after graduating with a Masters of Divinity degree from Eastern Seminary (now Palmer Theological Seminary), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Randy's PhD is in Intercultural Studies from Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky.

Woodley’s books include The Harmony Tree: A Story of Healing and Community (Friesen Press 2016), Shalom and the Community of Creation: An Indigenous Vision (Eerdmans 2012) and Living in Color: Embracing God’s Passion for Ethnic Diversity (IVP 2004). He has authored numerous book chapters, contributing essays and articles in compilations such as the Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics (Baker Academic), An Emergent Manifesto of Hope (Baker), The Justice Project (Baker), and The Global Dictionary of Theology (IVP).

Professor Woodley is active in the ongoing discussions concerning new church movements, racial and ethnic diversity, peace, social justice, interreligious dialogue and mission. Woodley regularly blogs in these areas and publishes his own blog, Ethnic Space and Faith. He is also a regular contributor to God's Politics Blog: Jim Wallis and Friends, Emergent Village Voice and The Huffington Post, Religion page.

Rev. Woodley was pastor of the Eagle Valley Church in Carson City, Nevada, which for many years served as a unique role model as an authentic Native American Christian church. He and his wife Edith, cofounders of Eagle's Wings Ministry, are considered early innovators in what has been dubbed the “Native American Contextual Movement.” The Woodleys have spent over 25 years of culturally contextual service in Native North American communities. Randy Woodley is a founding board member of NAIITS, the North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies and he administers the Fox/ NAIITS cooperative Master of Arts Intercultural Studies degree.

Schedule overview

Thursday, Sept. 27: Lunch presentation, afternoon papers and workshops, late afternoon networking time, evening worship and keynote by Karenna Gore

Friday, Sept. 28: Morning papers and workshops, chapel, afternoon immersion experiences (exploring regional efforts), evening worship and keynote by Valerie Bridgeman

Saturday, Sept. 29: Keynote by Randy Woodley, workshops, closing conversations, ending at noon

Learn more

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.

Rooted and Grounded logo

Gathering schedule

Download the schedule (PDF)
Updated September 25.


Register online for Rooted and Grounded. Registration rates include lunches.

Regular rates: $110 entire conference; $40 for Thursday or Friday; $30 for Saturday only;
Student rates: $35 entire conference; $15 for Thursday or Friday only; $5 for Saturday only.

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

Conference location

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.

Connect on Facebook

Visit the Rooted and Grounded Facebook page to like, share, and invite others to the event!


The Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions and Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center, Goshen College

Contact us

For more information, email [email protected]