George W. Truett Theological Seminary

The first AAAS sponsored event we had anticipated offering in September was with our collaborative partner, the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty. BCHP hosted its annual Global Poverty Summit in September, and the keynote speaker for the Summit was David Beasley, the Nobel Peace Prize winning Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme. Governor Beasley had expressed interest in supporting our MA in Theology, Ecology, and Food Justice Program, and met with leadership from Truett to address future possibilities of partnership while he was in Waco. We initially hoped to use the funds from AAAS to develop and highlight this burgeoning relationship by offering a farm to table meal for participants of the Summit, members of Truett faculty, Truett students and the larger Baylor community to reflect together on Mr. Beasley’s keynote address.

By the time we received word that we were recipients of the AAAS grant, the meals had already been planned for the Global Poverty Summit, and so we had to pivot. After communicating with AAAS, and getting the green light, we used our funds to create a follow-up retreat for Truett Students and Faculty, many of whom had participated in the Global Summit. We hosted this retreat at the World Hunger Relief Farm, where the classes for the Theology, Ecology, and Food Justice program are held. We were able to bring in Dr. Robert Creech to be our keynote speaker. He spent the day with students and faculty, reflecting on the impact of climate change on our land in Central Texas. He shared with us his work on restoring his family farm to prairie grassland, and the positive impact on wildlife and water sources this work is already providing. With the AAAS funds, we were able to offer this retreat for free and provided every recipient with a copy of Katharine Hayhoe’s book, Saving Us– an apologetics for Christians to work toward addressing climate change (attached to this report is a copy of the handout participants received that day).

The second event, hosted in early May, was a meal hosted at the World Hunger Relief Farm. This AAAS sponsored evening gathering brought together a cohort of faculty across the wider Baylor Campus who had undertaken a year-long multi-disciplinary discussion on the connection between their disciplines and climate change. The result of that conversation, and that group’s efforts was the adoption of a new minor in Environmental Humanities to be established this upcoming year. This cohort of scholars will also serve as the core group of faculty who will welcome Truett Seminary students into their coursework- professors from Geosciences, Environmental Studies, Philosophy and Literature. This dinner provided us a time to celebrate this new endeavor, build deeper connections and collegiality, and celebrate a new ambitious endeavor. During the dinner, I (Jenny) was able to give an address in which I addressed the community about the connections between environmental justice, theology, and the impacts of climate change. In addition to the meal, each faculty member and administrator was provided a copy of Katharine Hayhoe’s book Saving Us.

To view syllabi in the climate grant cohort, CLICK HERE.

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In furtherance of the AAAS mission of advancing science in service to society, AAAS|DoSER’s role in the Science for Seminaries project is to support efforts to integrate science into seminary education. AAAS|DoSER does not advise on or endorse the theological content of the participating seminaries.