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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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
No CME credit available. M & M Conference is a 501(C)(3) tax exempt organization.
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“Whole Persons, Whole Earth: Theological Responses to Environmental Crisis”
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 5
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.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 6
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.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7
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.
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Prof. Jenkins has suggested the following readings as preparation for his presentations:
For Lectures #1 and #2
For Lecture #3
For Lectures #3 and #4
For Lecture #5
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If you have questions about or want assistance negotiating the electronic requirements beforehand, please contact John Roach (email@example.com)
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Dr. Norman and Carolyn Boyer, The Rev. George W. and Pat Kinnamon,
Dr. Richard and Elizabeth Sosnowski
M & M STEERING COMMITTEE
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.