Summit Workshops

Below are descriptions of the Earthkeeping Summit 2014 Workshops offered on Monday, October 13.

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Monday, October 13 Workshops

Climate Conversations: Steps towards Dialogue  (Facilitator: Eric Toman, Ph.D.)

It can be difficult to know how to start a conversation about climate change. Members of congregations may see the topic as contentious and potentially dividing. We know from recent research that Americans hold five or six distinct views about climate change and these views can make climate change communication a challenge. Join this workshop and learn the latest insights from social scientists working to understand how Americans think about and respond to climate change, and how best to communicate your congregation’s response to climate change.

Eric TomanEric Toman, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor in the School of Environment and Natural Resources. His interdisciplinary background includes training and experience in the social and natural sciences and his research focuses on developing a better understanding of the factors that influence the adoption of behaviors that enable adaptation to changing environmental conditions. He served as a US delegate to the 28th United National Framework Convention on Climate Change/Scientific and Technological Advise negotiations.


Public Policy and Climate Change: Steps to Climate Action (Facilitators: Deb Steele; Amanda Hoyt)

Join us for an update on recent legislation and actions, state and federal, impacting our response to climate change. We’ll share tips on how to engage persons of faith in strong climate change advocacy; hear about how engage the media and receive information about hosting a legislator’s visit at your congregation.  We’ll share new advocacy opportunities for the upcoming year.

debsteeleDeborah Steele has been a passionate advocate and organizer on a variety of issues from healthcare to environmental concerns for the past decade. Growing up in the United Church of Christ in Minnesota she gained a deep appreciation for being connected to, and worshiping in nature. Deborah earned a BA in Sociology in 2003 from Ohio State University, with a focus in Ethnic and Minority Studies. She is the Volunteer Coordinator for OhIPL.


hoytAmanda Hoyt directs strategic communications at Faith in Public Life’s Ohio office.  Amanda was 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. She is seen as a high level political strategist in Ohio. Amanda received her Bachelor of Arts from Ohio State University, is a Green Belt in Lean Six Sigma and is a prior service member in the United States Army Reserves.  She attends Xenos Christian Fellowship, a non-denominational, Evangelical church.


Energy Stewardship: Steps to a Cleaner, More Efficient Energy Future (Facilitator: The Rev. Craig Foster, PE)

Save Energy, Save Money, Save Creation. Do you wonder how your congregation can reduce its energy use? What steps can your congregation take towards energy efficiency? In this workshop we’ll share practical tools for saving energy, provide renewable energy resources and and explain the energy audit process.

CraigFosterThe Rev. Craig Foster, PE, Founder and President of Foster Energy Management, has over 33 years of experience as an engineer and manager, coordinating environmental compliance and energy saving and reduction actions.  His consulting work focuses on energy and waste management and he is the technical consultant for Ohio Interfaith Power and Light, working with congregations in the Energy Stewards program. Craig is also a Deacon in the Episcopal Church and serves St. John’s Episcopal Church in Columbus.



Transforming Food Systems –  Growing Healthy Food, Feeding Communities in Faith’s Backyard   (Facilitator: Jesse Hickman, Tadd Petersen)

This workshop will look at how community collaboration can inspire sustainability practices, especially related to food systems. By working collaboratively individuals, communities, and policy makers can develop leadership and build support for a sustainable food system. Jesse Hickman, Growing Matters Program Manager will share examples and explore how our decisions about food impact the quality of our health, our land, and our communities. Also joining this workshop is Tadd Petersen, Manager of Farm and Food of Seminary Hill Farm.

JHickman-webJesse Hickman  grew up around people with a passion for food. As a young man his family were food conscious avid gardeners that were heavily involved in the food co-ops of the 1970’s. Food has always played an important part in his life, from working in a fine dining restaurant to running a garden for the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas on the Near East Side of Columbus, to teaching the Food Matters Curriculum for several years. Jesse has dedicated himself to educating people of all different ages on the subject of how to grow and cook healthy food.



Tadd Petersen head shotTadd Petersen is Manager of Farm and Food for Seminary Hill Farm. Cultivating organic produce on the campus of Methodist Theological School in Ohio (MTSO), Seminary Hill Farm is a place of theology, ecology and good food for all. The farm is one of the ways the MTSO community lives out its commitment to a just and sustainable world.




Climate Change and Faith: Steps towards Responsible Choices  (Facilitators: Sister Paula Gonzalez)

As we move into the 21st Century we humans face enormous challenges and must make some critical choices.  Our faith journey calls each of us to “read the signs of the times” and to take on the responsibility of making the changes needed today.  Think about making changes in some habits:   In eating?  In driving?  In shopping?. “Reducing our “carbon footprint” – individually and globally – is essential for us,  both as citizens and as believers.

SisterGonzalezSister Paula Gonzalez, Ph.D., has worked for more than three decades to promote sustainable living. Sister Paula was a biology professor for 21 years and entered the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati in 1954. She co-founded, with Keith Mills, Ohio Interfaith Power & Light in 2007. She spearheaded the development of two solar buildings on the campus of the College of Mt. St. Joseph. This work has earned her the nickname of the “solar nun.” Green Energy Ohio honored Sister Paula with their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.


Congregational Panel:

A diverse group of congregations showcasing examples of energy efficiency, renewable energy, earth care education and ritual, and faith-based environmental leadership.

  • Athens First Presbyterian Church (Energy Efficiency)
  • Unitarian Universalist Church of Cleveland (Renewable Energy)
  • Little Minyan Kehilla (Environmental education and ritual)
  • First Community Church, Central Ohio (new building design)
  • Trinity Lutheran Seminary (faith-based environmental leadership)