The first annual Seminary Stewardship Alliance Conference took place September 27-29 at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. Representatives from each of the 12 founding SSA seminaries convened to discuss progress towards sustainability at their schools. They also came together in fellowship and conversation as they discovered their common ground in creation care.
The weekend kicked off with a “Meet and Greet”, where the foundations for new friendships and working partnerships were laid. The camaraderie continued through the first evening’s dinner at Asbury Seminary, following an opening greeting from Blessed Earth’s executive director Matthew Sleeth.
The next day, representatives from each school gave presentations detailing efforts their seminary has made so far. Topics discussed included waste reduction, landscaping, food services, and “green” buildings. After hearing about endeavors at other seminaries, the representatives divided up into small groups to talk about future sustainability plans for their campuses.
The weekend’s itinerary included dinner at the home of Asbury president Timothy Tennant, as well as devotional time in the Asbury Theological Seminary chapel.
As a closing ceremony, twelve trees representing the founding Seminary Stewardship Alliance schools were planted on the Asbury campus. Dr. Matthew Sleeth presided over the dedication of the trees, which symbolize the flourishing partnerships at the heart of the sustainable seminary movement. May they continue to grow!
Conference attendees at the tree planting ceremony.
Dinner at Asbury Theological Seminary.
Dr. Gordon Isaac (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) chats with Dr. Michael DeLashmutt (Luther Seminary).
Tabor Adelaide’s Rev. Dr. Graham Buxton gives a presentation about waste reduction efforts at his Australian seminary.
Dr. Timothy Eberhart, from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, discusses the campus’ LEED certified structure.
Dr. Stanley Saunders (Columbia Theological Seminary) details his school’s mission statement.
The Rev. Dr. Ann Clay Adams, from Columbia Theological Seminary, presents on the school’s creation care projects.
The Rev. John Spangler (Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg) describes the many ways his school has worked towards sustainability.
Fred Bahnson, representing Wake Forest University School of Divinity, shares some inspiring projects.
Dr. Mark Jensen (Wake Forest University School of Divinity) describes the Food and Faith Initiative.
Dr. Dan Brunner, from George Fox Evangelical Seminary, introduces the audience to his school.
Representatives absorbed in the presentations of their colleagues.
Representatives and Blessed Earth staff listening to presentations.
Devotional time in the Asbury Theological Seminary chapel.
Dr. Corey Beals, from George Fox Theological Seminary, converses with Dr. Matthew Sleeth, co-founder and executive director of Blessed Earth.
At dinner, the seminary representatives enjoy a welcome address from Dr. Sleeth.
Attendees at dinner, conference opening night.
Dr. Matthew Sleeth welcomes the seminarians to the first SSA conference.
Will Samson (Director of Advancement, Blessed Earth) chats with Dr. Norman Wirzba (Duke Divinity School).
Rev. Dr. Graham Buxton (Tabor Adelaide) greets Dr. Beth Sheppard (Duke Divinity School) as Dr. Tommy Givens (Fuller Theological Seminary) looks on.
The Rev. Dr. Gil Waldkoenig (Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg) talks with Dr. Norman Wirzba (Duke Divinity School).
Conference attendees were given the chance to “meet and greet” each other on the first evening of the conference.
Dr. Mark Jensen (Wake Forest University School of Divinity) meets with Rev. John Spangler (Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg).
Dr. Thomas Tumbin (Asbury Theological Seminary), Ryan Bennett (Blessed Earth Board of Directors), and Dr. Timothy Eberhart (Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary) get to know each other.
Twelve trees representing the founding seminaries are planted on the Asbury campus to commemorate the first SSA conference.
Dr. Sleeth explains the significance of the trees being planted.
The tree planting ceremony wraps up a weekend of camaraderie and good will.
Dr. Richard Olson, from Berea College, gives a special presentation on sustainability resources for higher education.
At Asbury president Timothy Tennant’s home, Dr. Matthew Sleeth (Blessed Earth) and Dr. Tommy Givens (Fuller Theological Seminary) share a meal and ideas.
James Benson (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary), Dr. Gordon Isaac (Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary), and Dr. David Buschart (Denver Seminary) working in their small group.