Ministry training in an environmental emergency
There is an urgent need to include teaching on environmental issues in ministerial training and formation. This is the conclusion of a recent ecumenical consultation initiated by environmental specialists Martin and Margot Hodson of The John Ray Initiative, and Dave Bookless of A Rocha. ‘The imperative is both missional and theological,’ says Margot Hodson, ‘today’s students will be ministering in communities facing major environmental challenges, impacting on poverty, justice and mental health. As community leaders, they will be facilitating huge
shifts in lifestyle and community living to respond to the crisis. They will need to be resourced theologically, missiologically and practically to live out an effective message of hope in this challenging and uncertain world.’
21 heads and tutors at UK Theological Education Institutions (TEIs) met for the online consultation on 7th and 8th December 2020 and their conclusions were published on 12 April 2021, and available from the John Ray Initiative website and from the St Peter’s Saltley Trust publications page.
• It is imperative that creation care is made a key element in ministerial training in all denominations.
• The focus on integrating environmental understanding across the curriculum, management and lifestyle policies of TEIs must be strengthened.
• Education on environmental issues is crucial if students are to be equipped to reflect theologically and lead practical and missional responses to the worldwide environmental crisis.
• Experiential learning is especially desirable in this area.
The consultation was sponsored by St Peter’s Saltley Trust