Hamline News

Creation Care Group

Connections and Engagement Define the Creation Care Summit

In late July, 112 Methodist Earthkeepers came to Hamline at the invitation of Chaplain Nancy Victorin-Vangerud and the Wesley Center for the 2018 Creation Care Summit. The summit was an opportunity for members of the United Methodist Church to worship and to make plans for bold action to address climate change and work for a just transition to a life-sustaining society.

Chaplain Victorin-Vangerud felt that Hamline offered a good setting for the conference, which took place July 26th through the 29th.

“As the United Methodist related university in Minnesota, Hamline was the perfect place to host the Summit. With our own commitments and leadership in sustainability, student summer internships, and robust collaborations with Hamline Church, we could offer hospitality to the Earthkeepers’ leaders and work with them to envision and organize for this high impact gathering,” she noted.

Hamline students participated in and attended the conference. Samantha Weiss agreed with the goals of the event and wanted to meet like-minded people. Weiss studies food systems and is learning sustainable agricultural practices through work at the Hamline Microfarm, the Sprout Garden, and the Peace and Appreciation Gardens.

“I am excited to be in a room with people who care about the earth as much as I do,” she said on the first day of the conference.

Weiss had helped to grow shiso, arugula, and basil that accompanied pizzas baked in the oven at the Hamline Church for conference attendees. She also created signs that identified the greens and included written blessings for the meal.

“Everyone appreciated what we did,” she said. “Our Hamline gardens were able feed over 100 people!”

Not everyone who attended was local. Sotico Pagulayan III, an agriculture and food advisor in Cambodia and a member of the governing board for the summit, came from his home in the Philippines. Climate change is a tremendous concern to him in his work and for his family. He noted that typhoons had already caused more than $1 billion pesos in damage this year in the Philippines. Meanwhile, for his work in Cambodia, he advises rice farmers to diversify their production in order to adapt to a new climate.

Tim Eberhart, Assistant Professor of Theology and Ecology at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, and a 2016 Mahle Lecturer, returned to Minnesota for the summit to participate as a panelist. He noted that need for the gathering was urgent.

“This conference is part of an ‘all hands on deck’ moment for our future,” Eberhart said. “All the world’s religions are working to address climate change.”

The summit participants enjoyed a variety of activities from worship services, to meals, to farm-tours. Hope Hutchinson, an Earthkeeper who helped organize the summit, felt it went well.

“I loved all of the ways that we curated opportunities for people to converse with others and dream up more ideas to deal with the environmental degradation that we are facing.”

Chaplain Victorin-Vangerud felt the conference was a success, both because of the activities and because of the people who attended.

She said, “We were also able to build on the relations we have with Indigenous teachers and mentors of Healing Minnesota Stories—Bob Klanderud, Jim Bear Jacobs and Jim Rock, whose voices and presence invited us to listen, learn and see our shared responsibility for eco justice and care of creation.”

For another report on the Creation Care Summit please read the article from the Minnesota Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.