Medicine and Ministry Conference 2020
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49th annual conference for healthcare professionals, 
clergy, psychologists, & their spouses/significant others. 

** A Zoom Webinar **
Virtual Conference – November 5-7, 2020
Keynote Speaker: Willis J. Jenkins, Ph.D.
“Whole Persons, Whole Earth: Theological Responses to Environmental Crisis”

Environmental problems have put intense pressure on religious accounts of human roles and responsibilities in relation to the rest of Earth. These presentations explain where and why Christian theology is changing in response, and how those shifts track with the broader context of religious responses to planetary crises.
Willis Jenkins lives in the Rivanna River Watershed where he works as Professor of Religion, Ethics, & Environment and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. He is author of two award-winning books, Ecologies of Grace: Environmental Ethics & Christian Theology, which won a Templeton Award for Theological Promise, and The Future of Ethics: Sustainability, Social Justice, & Religious Creativity, which won an American Academy of Religion Award for Excellence. He co-edited the Routledge Handbook for Religion & Ecology with Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, and currently co-directs with Matthew Burtner the Coastal Futures Conservatory.

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Links to recordings of 49th Conference Sessions
Links will be added here as sessions are available.

Recording for Thursday, November 5th

Recording for Friday, November 6th Morning Session

Recording for Friday, November 6th Afternoon Session

Recording for Saturday, November 7th Morning Session

Recording for Saturday, November 7th Afternoon Session

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Daily Meditations
During the conference, each day's opening meditation will be made available here: 

Introductory comment: Before I begin with a few quiet readings, I want to let you know that the music you heard as you joined our first session today was Psalm 148 performed by Folk Psalms. They were to be our entertainment at Kanuga this year and were gracious in letting us incorporate one of their selections at the beginning of each day’s sessions. Charles Pettee, who leads the group, made this comment about Psalm 148 which we’ve just heard: even humans get to join into the praise that the rest of creation has been singing all along. You can listen again to these selections on the Medicine and Ministry website and the each day’s meditation will be posted there as well.

The meditations will consist of a few short readings with a short pause between each one.


So let's all take a quiet, deep breath and begin. 

From wherever spring arrives to heal the ground, from wherever searching rises in a human being. The looking itself is a trace of what we are looking for. 

The Summer Day

Who made the world? 
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver

In the silence before time began, in the quiet of the womb,
in the stillness of early morning is your beauty.
At the heart of all creation,
at the birth of every creature,
at the centre of each moment
is your splendour.
Rekindle in me the sparks of your beauty
that I may be part of the splendour of this moment. 
Rekindle in me the sparks of your beauty
that I may be part of the blazing splendour
that burns from the heart of this moment.
John Philip Newell

God said: 
I was a hidden treasure and I longed to be known. So I created the world. 
Sufi tradition


How do stories end? Who shall explain them? Every story is us. That is who we are. 

If we fall in love with creation deeper and deeper, we will respond to its endangerment with passion. 
Hildegard of Bingen

Fr. Richar Rohr reminds us that in stories about the life of St. Francis, he is regularly heard speaking to the creatures…birds, fish, wild animals. He speaks to them as mutual spiritual beings who are worthy of being addressed. He addresses inanimate creation too, as if it were indeed ensouled. His Canticle of the Creatures includes fire, wind, water, Brother Sun, Sister Moon, and, of course, our Sister Mother Earth. Francis saw all things as likenesses of God, fingerprints and footprints that reveal the divine DNA underlying all the links in the Great Chain of Being. This view has been called cosmic mutuality. Daily cosmic events in the sky and on the earth are the Reality above our heads and beneath our feet every minute of our lives: a continuous sacrament, signs of God’s universal presence in all things.

Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things –
       For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
          For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
      Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
          And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
      Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
          With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise Him. 
  Gerard Manley Hopkins

Prayer for the Cosmos

God of melting glaciers, God of disappearing rainforests: You entrust us with the care of creation but for too long the natural world has suffered from the effects of human ignorance, apathy, and exploitation. Just as we have awakened to the harm we have done to our world, help our eyes be open to the ways we can participate in its healing, living into our call to be caretakers who fall deeper in love with creation each day. Amen.

God said:
I was a hidden treasure and I longed to be known. So I created the world.
Sufi tradition


A Gaelic Blessing

Deep peace of the running wave to you,
Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
Deep peace of the shining stars to you,
Deep peace of the gentle night to you,
Moon and stars pour their healing light on you,
Deep peace of Christ, the light of the world to you.
Deep peace of Christ to you. 
Adapted by composer John Rutter from an old Gaelic rune

The Luminous Web. I am part of a web that is pure relationship…Where is God in this picture? God is all over the place. God is up there, down here, inside my skin and out. God is the web, the energy, the space, the light—not captured in them, as if any of those concepts were more real than what unites them—but revealed in that singular, vast net of relationship that animates everything that is. … God is the unity—the very energy, the very intelligence, the very elegance and passion that make it all go. 
Barbara Brown Taylor

The Journey
When the earth is sick and dying,
There will come a tribe of people
From all races…
Who will put their faith in deeds,
Not words, and make the planet
Green again… 
Cree Prophecy

From the beginning to no-matter-how-it-comes-out. The rest of this must be said in silence because of the enormous difference between light and the words that try to say light. 

God said: 
I was a hidden treasure and I longed to be known. So I created the world.
Sufi Tradition

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Music for this year's annual conference: We had invited the group FolkPsalm to be our musical entertainment at the Medicine and Ministry Conference at Kanuga this weekend. They were kind enough to let us use some of their music for the virtual conference. You can hear the music again using the links below. 

A note from Charles Pettee, the leader of FolkPsalm: One of my “things" with musical Psalm settings is that I view the whole Psalm as one song. Thus, PSS e.g., 119 are a challenge -- as is 104. I'm glad, then, to have a poem the length of 148, but it's the power of the prayer, in the end, that "sings" to me (148 was also sung by Shadrach, Mesech, etc. in the furnace in the Book of Daniel). Note that by the end of 148, even humans get to join into the praise that the rest of creation has been singing all along. A nice blow to anthropocentrism! Ps 65 starts with humans being silent, but creation ends up belting it out at the end!

Psalm 148
(Acoustic waltz, Elizabeth, Brittany, and Brian singing; from the Way of Manna CD)

Psalm 148
("All of Creation Sings Praise," Full FolkPsalm band with drums, etc. Vocals led by Charles Pettee, with everybody joining at end)

Psalm 65
(Also from Way of Manna CD)

Genesis One
(Also from Way of Manna CD, Elizabeth kicks this one on the fiddle!)

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The focus of Medicine and Ministry is the health of the whole person, mind, body, and spirit, an idea introduced in the 1940s by Swiss physician/theologian Paul Tournier. His whole-person healing principles are the criteria for our choice of speakers as we explore issues of physical and spiritual healing.

Tournier believed that it is futile to attempt to heal the body without addressing the emotional and spiritual dimensions of the person, the part can never be well until the whole is well. The attitude of the healer (physician, therapist, chaplain, clergy) is vital to the process. The goal of this conference is to nurture these ideas among healing professionals, including spouses and partners, lay and professional.

Medicine and Ministry, while historically Christian, welcomes all persons, regardless of their chosen spiritual path.

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​This year’s annual conference will again bring together a gifted keynote speaker and a group of active, vital healers and spouses. Our 2020 focus is on the environmental crisis, in recognition of the interdependence of human wholeness and the intact wholeness of the Earth. Threats to the integrity of the planet are simultaneously threats to the well-being—in body, mind, and spirit—of every human being.

The program for the 2020 Conference was set before the coronavirus pandemic caused the cancellation of all group programs at Kanuga Camp and Conference Center, our usual meeting venue, for Fall 2020. We are delighted that Professor Jenkins has graciously agreed to produce a Zoom webinar in five sessions over November 5-7, 2020, the weekend we would have convened at Kanuga. Therefore, we can continue our unbroken 49-year history of exploring together the mystery of seeing ourselves and all others as whole and valued persons.

All sessions will be on Zoom and, thus, require that attendees have a reliable internet connection. In addition, each session will include time in “breakout rooms” for small-group discussion of questions posed by Prof. Jenkins. Participation in breakouts requires that attendees’ devices have a functioning camera and microphone; if you do not, you are still welcome to attend and listen to the presentations only.

All sessions will be recorded. The recording of each session will become available on-line shortly after that session is completed, and all recordings will remain accessible after the Conference ends.

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​The usual registration fee for the Medicine and Ministry Annual Conference is $125 per person. This year, given the situation imposed by the pandemic, the registration fee is waived; there is no charge for participating in this Conference. Instead, we strongly encourage you to donate some or all of the usual registration fee (or more!) to either or both of the following tax-exempt organizations:

Kanuga Camp and Conference Center, which has been the home for M&M Conferences for most of our history, has suffered major financial losses as a result of pandemic-related cancellation of camps and conferences through spring 2021. Donate Here

Southern Environmental Law Center, recommended by Prof. Jenkins, has a strong record of highly effective work for environmental justice. Donate Here

Click here to register

No CME credit available. M & M Conference is a 501(C)(3) tax exempt organization.

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Conference Schedule
“Whole Persons, Whole Earth: Theological Responses to Environmental Crisis”

3 – 4:30 p.m.      Opening Session  
         3 – 3:45                    Welcome and Introductions
         3:45 – 4:30               Lecture #1 – Introduction
         Troubling background concepts and gathering questions

NOTE: This initial session will include webinar instructions and practice for breakout rooms.

10 a.m. – 12 Noon
         Lecture #2 – Ecologies of Injustice: health, humanity, and personhood
         On how community-based confrontations with ecological dimensions of white supremacy are reshaping understandings of environmentalism, of social justice, and of human personhood.

3 – 4:45 p.m.              
         Lecture #3 – Ecologies of Grace: rethinking dominion and salvation
         On the critique of Christianity as anthropocentric, the way salvation stories shape contemporary patterns of ecotheology, and emergence forms of spirituality. ​

10 a.m. – 12 Noon     
         Lecture #4 – Climate-changed Theology? Laudato Si as test
         On how Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change integrates ecological understandings of injustice and of dominion; on why it is seen as revolutionary by some and as inadequate by others; on questions it raises about connections of religious and environmental change

3 – 5 p.m. – Closing Session
         Lecture #5 – Sacred Places & Planetary Stresses: imagining religious futures
         From inside a research project on how sacred landscapes are experienced and managed amidst ecological crises, suggestion of post-human futures on the humanized planet. 

4:45-5 p.m. Closing

NOTE: Each of the four sessions on Friday and Saturday will include three lectures alternating with two breakout-room times for small group discussion of questions posed by Prof. Jenkins, as well as a brief stretch break and time for Prof. Jenkins to respond to participants’ submitted questions.

Click here to register

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Prof. Jenkins has suggested the following readings as preparation for his presentations:

For Lectures #1 and #2
Pollution is Killing Black Americans. This Community Fought Back. NY Times Magazine 

Enemies of Humanity: Political Theology from the Pipelines Political Theology Network

​For Lecture #3
Loving the Least of These (pdf link) National Association of Evangelicals

For Lectures #3 and #4
Laudato Si Pope Francis

For Lecture #5
From the Anthropocene to a New Axial Age (pdf link) Bronislaw Szerszynski

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If you have questions about or want assistance negotiating the electronic requirements beforehand, please contact John Roach (

If you have any questions about the Conference in general, please contact Margaret Mohrmann ( Susan Lefler (

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M&M Founders
Dr. Norman and Carolyn Boyer, The Rev. George W. and Pat Kinnamon,
Dr. Richard and Elizabeth Sosnowski

Dr. Carol Graf-Beard and Alex Beard, Mount Pleasant, SC
Dr. Dan Johnston and Rev. Becky Johnston, Hampstead, NC
Dr. Charles and Susan Lefler, Brevard, NC
Dr. Margaret Mohrmann and Dr. Deborah E. Healey, Charlottesville, VA
Dr. Ellyn Mullis, Statesville, NC
Rev. John Renfro, Murrel’s Inlet, SC
Dr. John G. and Lynn Roach, Winston-Salem, N.C. 
Dr. Charles and Jeanne Sasser, Greenville, SC
Rev. Nancy Walton, Asheville, NC

​A Personal Reflection on the Medicine and Ministry Conference
Some years ago a friend and colleague began encouraging me to come to the Medicine and Ministry conference. I was a hard sell. My early life in the church did not leave me with fond feelings for religion and, frankly, the main reason I decided to attend was that I needed the continuing education credits offered that year and the conference was about five minutes from where I live. What I discovered completely overturned my prejudices. Here was a group of individuals and couples who were genuinely committed to the integration of spirituality and healing, and speakers who invited us to relate to both of these spheres in innovative and consciousness-expanding ways. All this, embedded within a warm and relaxed group of fellow seekers and a beautiful setting. In an era when mechanistic thinking and concern with technique dominate health care, this conference is a temenos, a sacred space, for practitioners, clergy, and those who are dear to them, to nourish the person behind the profession, and to acknowledge that the Presence of the healer is at least as important as the tools that s/he wields.
—Jim Nourse, Ph.D