Earthkeeping Summit 2016

hope_leavesJoin us for Earthkeeping Summit 2016!

Saturday, September 24
Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center
2201 Fred Taylor Dr, Columbus, OH 43210

“Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”-Pope Francis

These are, as we all know, challenging times. Climate disruption, social injustices, violence and inequities, call out for our urgent response. For such a time, Ohio Interfaith Power & Light invites persons of faith, good will, change-makers, and justice-seekers to gather for the 2016 Earthkeeping Summit. We will gather in discernment to discover how we can work together, with hope, for climate and social justice. We must choose to stand together for the Earth and its people. Join us for this faithful, urgent witness.


To download a flyer and an overview of the day, CLICK HERE.

The Summit day…

Registration begins at 8:15am. Plenary begins at 10:00am

8:45am: Shabbat Morning Service with Spiritual Leader Jessica K. Shimberg (OhIPL Board Member and Senior Rabbinical Student). Jessica will lead an abbreviated Shabbat morning service on the themes of the weekly Torah portion and environmental teshuvah. All are welcome to attend. For more details, Click Here.

Dr. Melanie L. Harris will offer the keynote message: There is a Balm…Eco justice, Hope, and Renewal.” Through story and song, she will connect social and environmental justice and provide the context for the day. Her message comes on the 25th anniversary of the formation of the 17 Principles of Environmental Justice.

Melanie-Harris-Bio-Pix-3-2-e1453747343589-197x300Melanie L. Harris is Associate Professor of Religion at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX where she teaches and conducts research in the areas of Religious Social Ethics, African American Religion and Environmental Justice. Dr. Harris is a GreenFaith Fellow and co-director of Earth Honoring Faith with Ghost Ranch Education and Conference Center. She regularly conducts workshops with Dr. Jennifer Harvey about racial justice, womanist ethics and environmental justice and has presented to audiences in the AME, United Church of Christ, and Baptist church traditions. As the Black Church Studies Environmental Justice Scholar in Residence with Green Faith she has partnered with such organizations as Green For All and teaches with the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference. MORE

A panel of activists will share stories of the renewal work that is being carried out around Ohio.

Panelists include: (as of 7/21)

For more about the panel participants, CLICK HERE.

beautybannerDuring the lunch hour, you will have the opportunity to visit exhibits, be inspired by art, music and poetry, visit OSU’s enCORE home, browse free resources, and more. You are invited to share your creativity with a banner to add to our display! CLICK HERE for instructions.


Interventions: Art and Ecology at the Wexner Center for the Arts (a traveling exhibit showcasing past student work from Art and Ecology: Youth-a course for high school students offered by the Wexner Center for the Arts that integrates the study and production of contemporary art with ecological advocacy.)

In the afternoon, choose from several engaging workshop options, including:

Prophetic Faith-Rooted Storytelling for Social Change (2-hour session) Facilitator: The Reverend Jennifer Bailey

As change-makers, we often fail to deploy our strongest assets – our stories, our humanity, and our faith traditions – as we advocate for change. Faith-rooted storytelling, in particular, has the unique ability to open hearts, so that we can open minds to our causes. The session will apply the theory of storytelling to the multifaith movement for environmental stewardship and justice. This 2-hour session will root leaders in the vitality of their own story in order to keep connected to this work.

Rev.BaileyNamed one of 15 Faith Leaders to Watch by the Center for American Progress, Rev. Jennifer Bailey is an ordained minister, public theologian, and emerging national leader in multi-faith movement for justice. She is the Founding Executive Director of the Faith Matters Network, a new interfaith community equipping faith leaders to challenge structural inequality in their communities. Jennifer comes to this work with nearly a decade of experience at nonprofits combating inter-generational poverty. MORE…

Solar Power Rocks!! Ohio Solar United Neighborhoods (OH SUN)   Facilitator: Luke Sulfridge

Ohio has long been at the intersection of the world’s energy and manufacturing industries.  The world economy is changing and Ohio is changing with it. New opportunities are emerging with the transition to renewable energy. The sun shines bright on the future of solar in Ohio.  Find out about the benefits of distributed solar energy, organizing for solar installation, and how we can become a community of solar supporters.

Luke Sulfridge Headshot for CPNLuke Sulfridge serves as the OH SUN Program Director. Luke is a lifelong resident of the Mid-Ohio Valley and resides in Washington County. He provides support for the expansion of solar in Ohio through co-ops and policy advocacy. His prior work includes health policy, emergency management, grassroots organizing, and advocacy. Luke holds a B.A. from Berea College in Political Science, a M.S. from Eastern Kentucky University in Safety, Security and Emergency Management, and a M.A. from Appalachian State University in Political Science with a concentration in Environmental Politics and Policy Analysis.


Art as Ritual: Intersections of Art, Environmental Justice and the Power of Resistance   Facilitator: Michele Stanback

“There is no scarcity. There is no shortage. No lack of love, of compassion, of joy in the world. There is enough. There is more than enough. Only fear and greed make us think otherwise.”-Rosmarie Freeny Harding

 We must resist the myth of scarcity.  These myths are carried collectively in our subconscious, becoming tools that empower or imprison. Sadly, we are facing the consequences of these myths through a growing detachment between the land and humans, an ecological amnesia. We can heal from this disconnection through creativity, creating beauty from the ugliness of suffering and loss. The arts engage in the resistance—providing a counter narrative to myths that are prone to complacency. Aligning with this theme, we will explore ways in which art is practiced in our lived experience, and how art can reflect the interconnectedness of a community.

MicheleStanbackMichele Stanback is an artist, art therapist, and educator of ten years. Infusing the arts, she explores rituals, breathing new life into sacred spaces for meaningful reflection. While obtaining her M.Div. at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, she utilizes her unique lens and framework to illuminate issues in Social and Environmental Ethics, Ecofeminism and Indigenous wisdom to inform sustainable practices through the arts—seeking ethical approaches to Mother Earth.  Michele has a B.A. in Individualized Studies from University of Maryland, College Park, and a MPS in Creative Arts Therapy and Creativity Development from Pratt Institute in New York City.


Growing Food, Creating Beauty and Building Community  Facilitators: Dr. Michelle Kaiser, Nicholas Stanich

This workshop will highlight the mission of a nonprofit urban farm in Columbus, Franklinton Gardens, dedicated to ameliorating the negative realities of low income food deserts through sustainable urban food production. The workshop will explore how communities can ensure safe, affordable healthy food for all residents. Information on food mapping, community food assessments and food coping strategies will be shared.

KAISER MICHELLE Dr. Michelle Kaiser is an Assistant Professor in OSU’s College of Social Work and part of several collaborative interdisciplinary research groups through OSU’s Food Innovation Center. Kaiser’s work related to food access, food mapping, chronic diseases in food pantry clients, community food assessments, and food coping strategies uniquely combines perspectives from such disciplines as social work, health, sustainable development, and geography.


NickStanbackNicolas Stanich is a graduate of The Ohio State University and a member of the OSU Food Innovation Center’s Food Mapping Team. He is Executive Director of Franklinton Gardens, a nonprofit urban farm located in a historic neighborhood on the west side of Columbus, Ohio.



Melanie-Harris-Bio-Pix-3-2-e1453747343589-197x300Climate Change and Working as Allies with Communities of Color   Facilitator: Dr. Melanie Harris

This workshop will provide an opportunity to continue the conversation with Dr. Harris, with a focus on connections between climate and social justice and how we can listen to and work together for a common vision.




Prepared for Action! What is a “Ready Bench”?    Facilitators: Deb Steele, Amanda Hoyt, Cheryl Johncox

Stemming from the work in the ELCA tradition, a “ready bench” is a way to ensure persons of faith are heard in the public arena on important issues. Members of a “ready bench” are dedicated to be “ready” when called upon to speak and/or advocate. This workshop will review plans for an OhIPL “Ready Bench” for Climate Action with faith leaders in Ohio. We will share updates on important public policy issues, such as Ohio’s Energy Efficiency/Renewable Energy Standards, the Clean Power Plan, Methane Rules and the Paris Pledge. Find out how you can be involved as an advocate on these important issues.

debsteeleDeborah Steele is an Ohio Interfaith Power and Light consultant working with outreach to congregations, the OhIPL Energy Stewards program, and public policy issues. Growing up in the United Church of Christ in Minnesota she gained a deep appreciation for being connected to, and worshiping in nature. She moved to Ohio in the mid 1990’s and has chosen to stay here because there is so much important work to do in this state. Deborah earned a BA in Sociology in 2003 from Ohio State University, with a focus in Ethnic and Minority Studies.


ahoyt photoAmanda Hoyt is the Strategic Communications Director for Faith in Public Life’s Ohio office.  Most recently she was the Director of Public Affairs for Finance Fund, a statewide non-profit financial intermediary committed to bridging resources with low to moderate income communities. Hoyt was also the Minority Chief of Staff at the Ohio Senate for three years where she led her legislative team in policy, communications, strategy and political maneuvering. Hoyt is seen as a high level political strategist in Ohio.



Cheryl JohncoxCheryl Johncox is an organizer for Sierra Club National Office, working on public policy to address the climate change impacts of methane gas released by the oil and gas industry. Johncox has a degree in Natural Resources from The Ohio State University and has been working on environmental policy for 10 years. She is an Ohio native and lives in Union Co., Ohio with her family.





Moving forward in hope

5:15pm: after the Summit:  Shabbat Mincha/Afternoon Service – A short afternoon service on the grounds of the conference location including meditative walking Tefilla (prayer).  All are welcome.


If you would like to be an Exhibitor or a Sponsor, CLICK HERE.

We offer a special thank you to the sponsors who have made the Earthkeeping Summit 2016 possible.

Co-Sponsors:  School of Environment and Natural Resources, The Ohio State University;  Methodist Theological School in Ohio

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We are grateful to the following organizations and companies: