Ecofeminism, ecology key topics for women’s conference
April 21, 2009
By Darla Martin Tucker
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – ( www.lasierra.edu )What responsibilities do women, particularly Seventh-day Adventist women, have toward safeguarding planet Earth? What connection do religious beliefs have with stewardship of the earth? And how can women and men show respect for God’s creation through conservation?
These and other issues will be addressed this weekend during the conference, “Adventist Women and the Earth: A Response to Ecofeminism.” The series of talks, workshops and outreach activities will take place April 24 – 26 at La Sierra University Church, 4937 Sierra Vista Ave., Riverside.
The conference is open to all who wish to attend. Admission is free. For more information call 951-785-2470 or visit http://adventistwomenearth.wordpress.com/. The “Adventist Women and the Earth” weekend event serves as the annual Young Women and the Word Conference organized by La Sierra University’s Women’s Resource Center. La Sierra University is an institution of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The weekend kicks off with a 7:45 p.m. program on April 24 titled “Where Does the Accent Go?” presented by LSU Master’s of Divinity student Jared Wright. The following day’s lineup includes talks by educators Maritza Duran and Somer Penington. They will speak respectively at 8:30 a.m. and at 9:30 a.m. with talks titled “Resurrection and New Life” and “I Came For the Wildflowers, and All I Got was a Snake.” At 11 a.m., Chris Oberg, La Sierra University Church senior pastor will give a talk titled “Going Green is Going Home,” a presentation that addresses reasons to care for the earth despite certain religious views predicting Earth’s demise.
At 2 p.m., conference keynote speaker Rosemary Radford Ruether will give an address titled “Ecofeminism and Theology: A Comparative Perspective.” “The talk defines different meanings of the term ecofeminism and discusses why I choose the third view and compares ecofeminist views of Vandana Shiva of India and Ivone Gebara of Brazil,” Ruether said.
Ruether is a Claremont Graduate University visiting professor of feminist theology and a noted theologian whose books include “Sexism and God-Talk” and “Integrating Ecofeminism, Globalization, and World Religions.” She has held a long career as a scholar, teacher and activist in the Roman Catholic Church and is known as a groundbreaking figure in Christian feminist theology.
The afternoon’s offerings will include workshops and panel discussions on ecology and its relation to art, religion, gender and spirituality. Students will give presentations on the earth and feminism and on ‘bright green’ environmentalism.
“Adventist Women and the Earth” aims to address our responsibility to the earth, to explore connections with gender justice, and to examine religious beliefs as they underpin individual and collective stewardship,” said Trisha Famisaran, an LSU alumna, Claremont Graduate University doctoral student and Women’s Resource Center board member. She will lead the conference’s paper presentations by La Sierra students Felisa Samarin-Meier and Ana Cristina Lee Escudero. The students’ presentations are respectively titled “Differentiating Feminine and Feminist,” and “The Earth is My Mother.”
“We hope to lead out and show how young Adventist women care about the earth and women and challenge others not only to recognize this problem but to actively create and practice solutions that respect the dignity and value of God’s creations,” Famisaran said.
Conference attendees will have the opportunity to walk a 45-foot-by-24-foot prayer labyrinth in Sierra Vista Chapel, watch the natural history feature film “Earth” at 7:30 p.m. at Edwards Corona Crossings Stadium theater on Saturday evening, and participate in beautification and cleanup outreach projects on Sunday morning. The latter outreach activities will include cleaning, plant trimming and landscaping at a homeless shelter. Conference organizers are seeking donations of cleaning supplies, flowerpots, gardening supplies, plants and flowers for this project.
“The conference is including community projects because we feel that it is important to engage in practices beyond discussion and theory,” Famisaran said. “Conservation is a very important aspect of ecofeminism because it calls us to recognize a different relationship between humans and the environment, a relationship of interconnection and recognizing the intrinsic value of all things. The particular community projects that we have organized offer a small glimpse of what conservation is and gives participants the opportunity to provide a service to the community.”
Following is a schedule of events, speakers and participants.
Fri., April 24
7:45 p.m. – Vesper program, “Where Does the Accent Go?” presented by Jared Wright, LSU graduate divinity student.
Sat., April 25
- 8:30 a.m. - Maritza Duran, Orangewood Adventist Academy vice principal, will speak on “Resurrection and New Life.”
- 9:30 a.m. - Somer Penington, Redlands Adventist Academy chaplain will discuss the Global Issues Experience prayer labyrinth and give a talk titled “I Came For the Wildflowers, and All I Got was a Snake.”
- 11 a.m. – Chris Oberg, La Sierra University Church senior pastor will give a talk titled “Going Green is Going Home.”
- Lunch break - Attendees will provide their own lunch.
- 2 p.m. – Keynote speaker and Claremont Graduate University theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether will give a talk titled “Ecofeminism and Theology: A Comparative Perspective.”
Afternoon Workshops and Panels
3 p.m. - Ecology, Religion and Gender Panel, with Ruether; John B. Cobb Jr., professor, award-winning author and co-director of The Center for Process Studies at the Claremont School of Theology; Sheryll Prinz-McMillan, executive director of the Christian Counseling Center in Redlands and a pioneer of Adventist women’s writings on ecofeminism; and Warren Trenchard, La Sierra University provost and professor of New Testament and Early Christian Literature. La Sierra Associate Professor of Religious and Theological Studies Ginger Hanks-Harwood will moderate the panel.
4:15 and 5:15 p.m., Breakout Sessions
- Conservation, led by Wendy Walters, LSU alumna and senior biologist at environmental and land use planning firm, LSA Associates Inc.
- Art and Ecology workshop, led by Beatriz Mejia-Krumbiein, LSU art department chair, with Ann Isolde, visual artist and feminist art movement participant; and France White, Roman Catholic nun, artist, teacher and peace educator.
- Spirituality and Ecology: Fostering Awareness, led by Hanks-Harwood.
- Presentation of Student Papers, led by Famisaran.
- Eco-Dome: Building a Bright Green Future, led by John Razzouk, former La Sierra Students In Free Enterprise president and members of SIFE’s Environmental Sustainability Team. They will discuss the SIFE team’s environmentally friendly projects including construction of demonstration eco-domes on La Sierra’s campus. The structures are made primarily of earth and mixed with such elements as cement, barbed wire and polyurethane tubing. The team will also talk about simple solutions to a brighter, greener future.
7:30 p.m. – Film screening: “Earth” (Rated: G), Edwards Corona Crossings Stadium 18, 2650 Tuscany St., Corona. Tickets available for purchase at the theater.
Sun., April 26
- 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Outreach projects.
PR Contact: Larry Becker
Executive Director of University Relations
La Sierra University