Christianity and Ecology

April 16-19, 1998


  • Opening Sessions and Plenary Addresses
  • Cosmology and Creation
  • Relation between Nature and Ethics
  • The Spirit in an Ecological Context
  • Responses to Population and Consumption Growth
  • Broadening the Scope of Ethics
  • Ecology, Ecumenism, and Interreligious Dialogue
  • Plenary Addresses
  • Human Vocation
  • Christian Influences in Nature Writing
  • Human Intervention in Natural Processes
  • Public Policies for Sustainability
  • Environmental Justice
  • Eschatology
  • Responses to Climate Change
  • Environmental Virtues
  • Plenary Address
  • The Engaged Community
  • Panel on the Praxis of the Churches


Opening Sessions and Plenary Addresses

Lawrence Sullivan, Director, CSWR

Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, Conference Coordinators

Dieter Hessel, Rosemary Radford Ruether, and Richard Clugston, Conference Convenors


Welcoming Remarks

Steven Rockefeller, Middlebury College - Plenary Address - Ethical Principles Underlying the Earth Charter

Respondents - Larry Rasmussen, Union Theological Seminary, and Jonathan Tucker, Park School


Plenary Addresses: Cosmology and Creation

Chair - Mary Evelyn Tucker, Bucknell University

Thomas Berry, Fordham University - The Cosmological Dimensions of Christianity

Respondent - Tu Weiming, Harvard University

Elizabeth Johnson, Fordham University - Losing and Finding Creation in the Christian Tradition

Respondent - Gordon Kaufman, Harvard University


Relation between Nature and Ethics

Michael McElroy, Harvard University

Opening comments

Chair - Dieter Hessel, Theological Education to Meet the Environmental Challenge

James Nash, Churches Center for Theology & Public Policy - Seeking Moral Norms in Nature

Respondents - Cristina Traina, Northwestern University, and Douglas Sturm, Bucknell University


Concurrent Sessions:

The Spirit in an Ecological Context

Chair - Nancy Wright, co-author, Ecological Healing: A Christian Vision

Mark Wallace, Swarthmore College - Recovering the Spirit in an Age of Radical Ecology

Respondents -Eleanor Rae, The Center for Women, the Earth, and the Divine, and John Chryssavgis, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology


Responses to Population and Consumption Growth

Chair - Harvey Cox, Harvard University

Daniel Maguire, Marquette University - Population-Consumption-Ecology: The Triple Problematic

Respondents - Susan Power Bratton, Whitworth College, and James Martin-Schramm, Luther College


Broadening the Scope of Ethics

Chair - Loyal Rue, Luther College

Daniel Cowdin, The Catholic University of America - The Moral Status of Otherkind and Christian Ethics

Respondent - Chai-sik Chung, Boston University

Calvin DeWitt, University of Wisconsin - Behemoth and Batrachians in the Eye of God: Responsibility Toward Otherkind in Biblical Perspective

Respondent - Paul Waldau, Oxford University


Ecology, Ecumenism, and Interreligions Dialogue

Chair - John Carman, Harvard University

Paul Knitter, Xavier University - Deep Ecumenicity vs. Incommensurability: Finding Common Ground on a Common Earth

Respondent - Leonard Swidler, Temple University

Peter Lee, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Hong Kong Vancouver School of Theology - A Christian-Chinese View of Goodness, Beauty, and Holiness

Respondent - Heup Young Kim, Kang Nam University, Korea


Plenary Addresses

Chair - Lisa Sowle Cahill, Boston College

Rosemary Radford Ruether, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary - Ecofeminism: The Challenge to Theology

Respondents - Heather Eaton, St. Paul University, and Carol Wayne White, Bucknell University

Chair - Wesley Wildman, Boston University

Sallie McFague, Vanderbilt University - Ecological Christology: Does Christianity Have It?

Respondent - Kwok Pui-Lan, Episcopal Divinity School


Concurrent Sessions:

Human Vocation

Chair - Vittorio Falsina, former Weaver Fellow, Rockefeller Foundation

Theodore Hiebert, McCormick Theological Seminary - The Human Vocation: Origins and Transformations in Christian Traditions

Respondents - Michael Northcott, University of Edinburgh, and Stephen Scharper, St. Paul University


Christian Influences in Nature Writing

Chair - John Grim, Bucknell University

Douglas Burton-Christie, Loyola Marymount University - The Word Incarnate: A Christian Theopoetics of the Natural World

Respondent - Lawrence Buell, Harvard University


Human Intervention in Natural Processes

Chair - Janet Nelson, Bucknell University

Roger Shinn, Union Theological Seminary, Emeritus - The Mystery of the Self and the Enigma of Nature

Respondents - Audrey Chapman, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Ian Barbour, Carleton College, Emeritus


Public Policies for Sustainability

Chair - Scott Paradise, Episcopal Divinity School

Timothy Weiskel, Harvard University - Doing Theology on a Small Planet

Respondent - Richard Clugston, Center for Respect of Life and Environment

William French, Loyola University of Chicago - A Christian Ethics of Restraint for Public Policy

Respondent - Preston Williams, Harvard University


Environmental Justice

Chair - Jamie Hoyte, Harvard University

Vernice Miller, Environmental Justice Initiative, National Resources Defense Council - The Environmental Justice Movement and the Church

Respondents - Joan Martin, The Episcopal Divinity School, and Jaycee Hanson, United Methodist Church



Chair - Kimberley Patton, Harvard University

Catherine Keller, Drew University - No More Sea: On the Lost Chaos of the Eschaton

Respondents - Mary Ann Hinsdale, Holy Cross College

Barbara Rossing, Lutheran School of Theology


Responses to Climate Change

Chair - William Moomaw, Tufts University

David Hallman, World Council of Churches - Climate Change: Ethics, Justice, and Sustainable Community

Respondent - William Somplatsky-Jarman, Presbyterian Environmental Justice Program


Environmental Virtues

Chair - Brennan Hill, Xavier University

Louke van Wensveen, Loyola Marymount University - Christian Ecological Virtue Ethics: Transforming a Tradition

Respondents - Steven Bouma-Prediger, Hope College, and Christine Firer Hinze, Marquette University


Plenary Address

Chair - John Berthrong, Boston University

John Cobb, Claremont School of Theology, Emeritus - Ecology and Economics: Reflections from Christian Theology

Respondents - Dean Freudenberger, Luther Seminary Northwest, Emeritus, and Neva Goodwin, Tufts University


The Engaged Community

Chair - Larry Shinn, Berea College

Marthinus Daneel, Zimbabwean Institute of Religious Research - Church and Eco-justice at the African Grass Roots

Respondent - Martin Robra, World Council of Churches


Panel on Praxis of the Churches

Chair - Mary Evelyn Tucker, Bucknell University

Walter Grazer, U. S. Catholic Bishops Conference

Stan LeQuire, Evangelical Environmental Network

Patricia Mische, Global Education Associates

William Somplatsky-Jarman, Presbyterian Environmental Justice Program