Recap on SSA Annual Gathering 2016 “Permaculture”

On October 13-15th, 68 attendees representing the 34 Seminary Stewardship Alliance partner convened at George Fox Evangelical Seminary in Portland, Oregon for the fifth annual gathering, “Permaculture.” The aim of “Permaculture” was to provide a space for our liaisons discuss how to develop a culture of creation care on their respective campuses.

Keynote speakers included Dr. Kathryn M Schifferdecker (Professor of Old Testament, Luther Seminary), Seth Bible (Director of Student Life & Adjunct Professor, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary), Steve Delamarter (Professor of Old Testament, George Fox Evangelical Seminary (GFES)), and Dr. Benjamin Stewart (Associate Professor of Worship and Director of Advanced Studies, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago).

Apart from four plenary sessions, the program included two breakout sessions to discuss unique challenges presented in developing cultures of creation care. The first breakout session was grouped by geographical location while the second was grouped by tradition.

Portland made for an ideal location as Seminary Stewardship Alliance has gained a dozen pacific northwest partner schools in the past academic year. George Fox Evangelical Seminary, the first SSA partner school from the pacific northwest, and a leader in Christian earth-keeping studies, agreed to host the gathering. Dinners were held at local establishments, Elephants Delicatessen and McMenamins Wilsonville Old Church & Pub. Lunch at GFES was catered by Simmer Down Catering. Skout Backcountry generosuly donated sample size organic Trail Bars.

At dinner on Friday evening, Executive Director Dr. A.J. Swoboda thanked SSA co-founder Dr. Matthew Sleeth (Blessed Earth) for his past and continued leadership of SSA. Dr. Swoboda announces an award in honor of Dr. Sleeth, the “Matthew Sleeth Seminary Stewardship Alliance Award,” which will be presented at each future annual gathering to the partner school which has made the most sustainability progress.30435512506_5e34c9a37b_o