Conference Schedule

As Creation Groans: Worshiping God on Holy Ground

ISM Congregations Project Conference — June 13–15, 2018

NOTE: This schedule is subject to change. Please check back for updates.

Wednesday, June 13

As we gather, we bring the gifts and concerns of the communities from which we have come, and we lift up the needs of all. 

9:00 a.m.     Check-in

10:00 a.m.   Morning Prayer

led by Maggi Dawn

10:30 a.m.   Introduction to the Conference

Martin Jean, Welcome
Dorothy Bass, Reflections on the Theme

11:00 a.m.   Singing God’s Creation: Lament and Doxology, Gift and Task

Don Saliers

How does the language of scripture, prayer and poetry guide us in seeing, naming and negotiating the terror and the beauty, our love and deep worry for our planet home?

12:00 p.m.   Lunch provided

1:30 p.m.     Congregations Tell Their Stories

Three congregations from different settings and traditions report on their ministries and invite others in attendance to consider their own as well.

Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Washington, DC
Kingdom Living Temple, Florence, SC
United Church of Santa Fe, NM

4:00 p.m.     Break

4:15 p.m.     Breakout Groups for response and mutual introductions

5:30 p.m.     Catered Supper

7:30 p.m.     Hymn Festival

We gather in Marquand Chapel for an evening of hymns and meditations, led by organist, composer, and conductor John Ferguson, together with a choir, other musicians, and conference presenters. This event is open to the public.

Thursday, June 14

9:00 a.m.     Morning Prayer

9:45 a.m.     How Do We Hymn the Planet in the Anthropocene?

Larry Rasmussen

How does earth’s transition from the epoch of the late Holocene into a new geological epoch, the early Anthropocene, alter the context of congregations today?   This lecture explores that long, hard transition from one epoch to another and ends by asking how practices such as music and ritual can help congregations negotiate change amid new duties and possibilities.  

11:00 a.m.   Break

11:15 a.m.   Workshop Session I

(Participants select one of three choices, which will be repeated at 2pm)

Rita Ferrone - Laudato Si’ and the Witness of Pope Francis

Pope Francis’s encyclical letter on the environment, Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home, takes its name from Saint Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of the Creatures: “Praise be to you, my Lord!” (“Laudato’ si, mi’ Signore!). Francis also invokes creation’s song of praise in Psalm 148 as a touchstone of justice. What do praise and justice have to do with ecology and care for the earth? Francis’s teaching on care for creation is positioned within the tradition of Catholic social teaching, and he expands it in significant ways. We will unpack some of the key elements of the encyclical in order to discover their theological implications, and explore their consequences for a renewed vision of sacramentality

Estrella Sainburg - Developing Multi-Faith Leaders for the Earth: Opportunities to Engage

For 25 years, GreenFaith has helped diverse faith leaders in the US, and now internationally, find their voices and build skills as religious-environmental leaders.  In this workshop, participants will learn about training and organizing opportunities with GreenFaith through the GreenFaith Fellowship Program, GreenFaith Circles, Living the Change (a new global sustainable lifestyle campaign), and the Interfaith Rainforest Initiative

Betty W. Holley - Raising Ecological Consciousness: Scriptures, Worship Liturgies, Historical Voices, Prayers, Poetry and Song

Members of faith communities need to reposition their human stories within the universe’s story and to choose to become a healing presence on finite earth for the sake of its future.  Through these religious, cultural materials an earth faith or a belief in the interconnectedness of humankind and all that comprises God’s creation can begin this process.  Religious, cultural materials can also be used to enhance worship services or special days designated to lift up Mother Earth and environmental justice awareness.

Anne and Jeffery Rowthorn — God’s Good Earth: Shaping Liturgies of Praise and Prayer for Creation

Faced by unprecedented ecological threats, we believe that nothing short of a transformation of heart and mind can ensure the continuity of life on Earth in all its forms. Using a sampler from our forthcoming book, God’s Good Earth:  Praise and Prayer for Creation, we will address the shaping of liturgies that celebrate God the Creator and God’s glorious universe; the physical universe; the diversity of God’s creation; the human community and its needs; the whole creation groaning in travail (hard topics such as global warming, violence, migrants, poverty, the exploitation of the earth, forgotten people); and hope and the future

12:30 p.m.   Lunch provided

2:00 p.m.    Workshop Session II (Select a second option)

Rita Ferrone — Laudato Si’ and the Witness of Pope Francis
Estrella Sainburg — Developing Multi-Faith Leaders for the Earth: Opportunities to Engage
Betty W. Holley Raising Ecological Consciousness: Scriptures, Worship Liturgies, Historical Voices, Prayers, Poetry and Song
Anne and Jeffery Rowthorn — God’s Good Earth: Shaping Liturgies of Praise and Prayer for Creation

3:15 p.m.    Breakout groups

4:15 p.m.    Break

4:30 p.m.    Art as Prayer

Maggi Dawn and Ted Lytton Hadden in conversation about the processes and theological thinking behind the arts. How do musicians, poets and visual artists practice their arts in the context of worship? Q. and A. to follow.

5:30 p.m.    Adjourn for the day

Friday, June 15

9:00 a.m.    Morning Prayer

9:45 a.m.    Worshiping God, as Creation Groans

Three panelists address the question: What language, what art, what song, what ritual may be life-giving in these times?

Teresa Berger
Jill Crainshaw
Michelle Lewis
Dorothy Bass, convener

12:00 p.m.  Lunch provided

1:15 p.m.    Breakout groups

2:15 p.m.    Break

2:30 p.m.    For the Journey Home: Reflections, Questions, Insights

As we prepare to depart, we harvest insights and questions to carry back to our own congregations.

Martin Jean, convener
Rita Ferrone, facilitator

3:30 p.m.    Closing Worship

4:00 p.m.    Adjourn

Scenes from previous years