Training Day Workshops

Addressing Environmental Racism through the lens of Corporate Engagement/ Social Responsibility

This workshop will highlight how the committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) has incorporated the directive from the 223rd General Assembly on Environmental Racism into its work of engaging corporations on social responsibility. This conversation will detail the committee’s recent experiences engaging communities affected by environmental racism and climate change in South Louisiana and Detroit and will include first-hand accounts from Emma Lockridge, a community organizer from Detroit, MI. Participants will discuss healthy methodologies of engaging the issue of environmental racism in their own communities, and will explore how people of faith can navigate and engage the moral complexities of our modern economy.

Emma Lockridge, Community Organizer, Michigan United
Rob Fohr, Director of Faith-Based Investing and Corporate Engagement, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Rev. Kerri Allen, Vice-Chair, MRTI
Rev. Dr. Gregory Simpson, MRTI committee member

 Carbon Dividends for Climate Justice

This workshop will provide information on the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s support for Carbon Pricing as well as the work of Presbyterians for Carbon Dividends – a group working to support Carbon Pricing and HR 763.  Learn what carbon pricing is, how it works, and the impact of effective policies.  We will look into how economic injustice is inherent in most carbon pricing proposals.  Learn how a current proposal in congress, HR763, addresses this and how the political landscape is changing with growing and widespread support.

Bill Bray, Member, Presbyterians 4 Carbon Dividends

The Church, Public Education and Climate Change

Global climate change threatens the future of today’s students. Public schools have a responsibility to teach about climate change as science and engage students to make a difference. They deserve to know the facts and learn how they can help save the planet. Churches can advocate and support their local schools in doing this.  This workshop will begin by looking at our denominations policy on public education and how to develop an appropriate relationship between a congregation and local schools. At a time when some religious voices encourage schools to deny climate change, it is important that Christian communities that do not see science as a threat to faith speak up and become involved in public education. The workshop will also introduce the Education Covenant and provide time for conversation on how best to ensure that our schools do not teach a religious point of view that contradicts science.

Rev. Dave Brown, Member of the PCUSA Education Roundtable and former staff to the National Council of Churches Committee on Public Education and Literacy
Jennifer Evans, Mission Specialist for the Presbyterian Hunger Program
Rev. Dr. Alonzo Johnson, Coordinator of the Presbyterian Self Development of People and Convener of the Educate a Child, Transform the World National Initiative.

 Climate Change and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 goals (SDGs) was adopted by world leaders in September 2015.  This ambitious blueprint for eliminating extreme poverty, reducing inequality, and protecting the planet is a plan of action for the whole world community of nations.  The Goals recognize that tackling climate change is essential for sustainable development and poverty eradication.  Many of the SDGs address the core drivers of climate change.  Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations produced the SDG Study and Devotional Guide, highlighting each of the Goals and how our church and our global partners are working to achieve the sustainable development agenda.   Accompanying each fact sheet are biblical reflections from national church staff and global partners reflecting on the goals and examining them through the lens of Matthew 25.  In this workshop, the participants will learn about the SDG goals more deeply by following the new Sunday School curriculum to accompany the Study and Devotional Guide on the SDGs.  This tool will introduce these goals and help to explore them more deeply, with the hope that together and as individuals, people may find meaningful ways to engage the goals and take action.    

Sue Rheem, Mission Specialist for International Advocacy, Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations
Ryan Smith, Director and Representative to the United Nations, Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations

How to Cool a Planet, Retain Biodiversity and Feed the Inhabitants

Food that depends on fossil fuel, synthesized fertilizers, and chemical pesticides is a recipe for disaster. Agroecological farming is an antidote to global warming that provides healthy food, increases biological diversity, and provides jobs. What will it take to make the shift? Land ownership, policy changes, and incentivizing agroecology are key ingredients. We’ll look at local, state and national success stories that illustrate how this can happen and how you can support change.

Andrew Kang Bartlett, Associate for National Hunger Concerns, Presbyterian Hunger Program

 Indigenous Environmental Justice

This workshop will present information about the grassroots Indigenous peoples and individuals who actively address environmental and economic justice issues.   The Native environmental justice movement springs from our love for Mother Earth and our connection to all of creation.  The need for Indigenous Environmental Justice grew from the wounds inflicted upon the earth from the collective greed of humanity.

Rev. Fern Cloud, Presbyterian minister, activist, artist, cultural consultant, and member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Tribe on the Lake Traverse Reservation, located in northeastern South Dakota

Moving Forward: Climate Action for Congregations

As people of faith, we desire to serve God and our neighbors, to pursue peace in our communities, and to work toward a just society. Changes to our climate touch us all, especially impacting the most vulnerable among us. That is why climate change is often called the greatest moral imperative of our time.   If we are called to support the most vulnerable, to work for justice, and to care for creation, then we are called to respond to climate change. The Presbyterian Hunger Program along with our partner, Blessed Tomorrow, is here to help. Join us for this workshop using Moving Forward: A Guide to Climate Action For Your Congregation and Community as we provide you with information and resources to reduce energy use, to build resilient houses of worship as refuges from a changing climate, and to encourage support for policies that better care for creation.

Ani Fete Crews, Director of Blessed Tomorrow
Jessica Maudlin, Associate for Sustainable Living and Earth Care, Presbyterian Hunger Program

Organizing Like Our Lives Depended on It

Social Change Basics:  A) Listen to frontline communities; B) Identify your ‘spectrum of allies’; C) Determine strategy with ‘power-mapping’; D) Build power and momentum!  In this interactive workshop, we’ll review various historic and current organizing approaches and try out some helpful tools. We’ll also look at what sustains us personally and how to foster an integral, loving and transformative approach.

Andrew Kang Bartlett, Associate for National Hunger Concerns, Presbyterian Hunger Program

Partnering for Education and Sustainable Agriculture in Rural Liberia 

From 1980 until 2005, Liberia was embroiled in one of Africa’s bloodiest civil wars.  Learn how building a school in the the Twarbo region of Liberia, helped unite people in this remote rural community, and served as a catalyst for change.  The Dougbe River Presbyterian School of Liberia was formed through a partnership with US-based Presbyterians and members of the Liberian population it serves.  U.S. partners offered financial support, and the villagers pooled their resources and donated over 150 acres of land to be used for the School and its farm. 

Community members, especially women, provide agricultural labor and expertise during planting, harvest, and other critical times throughout the year, to ensure the farm’s success.  Partners include  Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) like Welt Hunger Hilfe (WHH) and the West Africa Initiative (WAI). The above partners offer professional guidance and innovative techniques that have taken the farm from its initial 4 acres, to the current 40 acres, producing rice, cassava, plantains, pineapple and cocoa.  Farm output has significantly reduced the School’s operating costs as it now grows most of its own food.  We’ll explain how the farm is key to the School’s future of financial independence and environmental sustainability.

Margaret Mwale, Associate for Community Development and Constituency Relations
Laurie Moormann and Tedd Roos, Advisory Board, Dougbe River School
Isaac Monah, Executive Director, Dougbe River School

Promoting Environmental Justice through Watershed Restoration

Watersheds are creation’s original neighborhood.  We are organically connected with all those up and downstream and whose lives, like ours, depend on clean water.  Larger climate issues are also impacted by the health of watersheds.    Learn about the work of the Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake’s work with congregations in Maryland, Virginia and DC to protect our regional watershed and help create a healthier and more just future.  They will share their watershed “hub model” (One Water Partnerships ©) for connecting and engaging congregations. Participants will learn about the importance of watershed organizing to improving water quality and addressing larger issues of sustainability and justice

Rev. Mary Gaut, Deputy Stated Clerk for the Presbytery of Baltimore, former pastor of an Earth Care Congregation, former Board Chair of IPC and graduate of the GreenFaith Fellowship program.
Adrienne Knight, Member of Knox Presbyterian Church, former Moderator Baltimore Presbytery
Jodi Rose, Executive Director for Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake, a faith-based non-profit organization that works with many Presbyterian congregations.
Rev. Sue Lowcock Harris, Co-Pastor First Presbyterian Church of Howard Co.

Reimagining the World House: The Role of Faith Communities in Re-Directing Foreign Policy

The “World House” is a phrase used by ML King, Jr., to claim a community of nations that would shelter all peoples, re-directing our single-nation patriotisms toward a broader vision more conducive of peace. “World House” is also an ecumenical phrase, reflecting God’s household or economy and the structures necessary for the “beloved community” to live sustainably. The most urgent arguments for international cooperation today point to climate change and the need to abridge national sovereignties to achieve a common objective. John Paul Lederach writes about the need for moral imagination in peacemaking and this would be a key contribution to the public debate over international relations from the churches. This workshop will discuss the proposal for a forum and study project that would provide thinkers and activists from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and others with a platform for alternatives to the current “America First” approach, which seems to neglect human rights, accept authoritarianism, and even encourage ethno-nationalism. This is a way for the churches’ voice to be heard, and the work of our Washington, DC and UN offices to be reinforced.

Chris Iosso, PCUSA Social Witness Policy Coordinator
Yenny Delgado, Graduate student at Wesley Seminary in public theology, from Peru.   
Rachel Baard, Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics, Union Presbyterian Seminary, from South Africa.

 Storytelling and Environmental Justice: Our Experiences Create Change

Our experiences and stories create conversations and open up dialogue that can ultimately lead to partnerships, collaborations and movements for change.  Climate change is changing our lives and our stories, and it is time to share. This workshop gives you the tools and resources to help tell your story of how the ever changing environment and human impacts affect your life as well as the underlying systemic oppressions that aid in the destruction of our earth.  No matter where you are located, climate change is there. Join us as we delve deep within ourselves and discover the nuances of these pressing events we call climate change.

Lee Catoe, Managing Editor of Unbound and Associate for Young Adult Social Witness
Unbound and Advisory Committee for Social Witness Policy
Destini Hodges, Associate YAV Recruitment and Relationships, Young Adult Volunteer Program World Mission, PCUSA

 Where Have You Seen Me? Gleaning Community Wisdom in Engaging in Missional Antipoverty Work.

Concern about issues of poverty has always been central to the mission of the church. Through movements such as the Poor People’s Campaign, anti-poverty is an issue integral to the healing and strengthening of communities. Preventing and eradicating poverty is restorative work. With Matthew 25 as its backdrop, this workshop will examine poverty (both nationally and internationally), and ways that Presbyterians are called to engage. Attention will be given to issues such as environmental racism, living wages, homelessness, healthcare, and how each intersects with race, class and gender. With the learnings gained from Self-Development of People (SDOP) funded communities, the workshop will also equip participants with missional strategies, real-life stories and training centered around principles of missional engagement to create courageous conversations and seek to leverage Presbyterian congregational/communal power in engaging issues in the local community through direct action and advocacy. The workshop will also include tactile activities designed to better understand how the dynamics of poverty play out in communities. Using biblical and denominational perspectives of justice, the workshop is also designed to encourage relationship and community building among participants so that they may also network and together to address the issues of poverty to create systemic change.

Rev. Dr. Karen Brown, SDOP National Committee Member and Community Organizer.

Presbyterian Committee of the Self Development of People staff members:

Teresa Bidart– International Programs and Bilingual Assistant
Margaret Mwale – Associate for Community Development and Constituency Relations
Clara Nunez – Associate for Program Administration
Rev. Dr. Alonzo Johnson – Coordinator

Will climate change mean I have to leave my home?

There are approximately 68 million people who have been forcibly displaced, the largest in recorded history. While it is difficult to estimate, approximately one-third of these are forced to move by sudden onset weather events—flooding, forest fires after droughts, and intensified storms. In this workshop, we will talk about how climate change is affecting populations around the globe. As these effects lead to violence, land and water grabs, and economic instability, populations are forced to move. We will talk about what’s happening globally offering a more panoramic view of the root causes and movement. The expectation for the time will be a guided lively discussion on what we can do. In a historic moment that clamors for international collaboration, what can we do as Presbyterians to push coordination?

Amanda Craft, Manager for Advocacy in the Office of Immigration Issues, Office of the General Assembly

 Working together locally and globally to address systemic causes of hunger

The workshop will discuss how short-term mission and quick results often drive the way we as individuals and our churches see and understand our role in supporting the poor and the hungry. The workshop will discuss some systemic challenges the world is currently facing (like climate change, land grabs, and corporate abuse in general), and will explore ways that combining short-term work through projects and long-term work through advocacy could have a greater impact on communities around the world and ourselves.

Valery Nodem, Associate for International Hunger Converns, Presbyterian Hunger Program

Workshop by Estrella at ENLACE

Workshop by OPW