Gather with other Christians to learn about creation and climate care

Humanity is facing three interconnected crises: biodiversity loss, climate change, and poverty and inequality. Many of us struggle to find our role in addressing these crises. We struggle with theological questions, practical problems, and simply loving our places well. 

Will you join us at Consider the Lilies, a conference to connect and resource Christians in the great call to creation care?

We hope to see you there!

June 14-16, 2024

Westwood Community Church

401 Westwood Drive

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Schedule
FAQs
Immersive Experiences
Past Conferences
Recordings

Schedule

Schedule

Friday June 14

9:00 am – 4:30 pm

New! Immersion Experiences – More info below
1. Boreal Ecology Centre Discovery Day – Explore the trails and beauty of A Rocha’s property in East Braintree, Manitoba

2. Food, Faith, Farming, and the Land  – Come along with the Germinating Conversations committee for a day of farm exploration and dialogue with farmers

6:15 PM – Registration

7:00 PM – Keynote Lecture 1

Dr. Sylvia Keesmaat:
Torn Between Grief and Hope: Biblical Wisdom and Climate Catastrophe

Saturday June 15

8:00 AM – Bird Walk

9:45 AM – Coffee, Tea, & Refreshments

10:00 AM- Noon – Children’s Activities with A Rocha (outdoors, for ages 4-11)

10:30 AM – Workshops

1: Sylvia Keesmaat: Lament and Liturgy: Shaping Worship to Hold our Grief
2: Scott Gerbrandt & Rick Faw (A Rocha Canada) – Becoming Good Neighbours: Earthkeeping Churches Where All God’s Creatures Flourish
3: Teresa Prokopanko – Building Hope at Home: How to choose and implement impactful actions

12:30 PM – Lunch and Exhibitor’s Hall
1:30 PM – 3:15 PM – Children’s Activities with A Rocha (outdoors, for ages 4-11)
2:00  PM – Keynote Lecture 2 

Dr. Michael Gilmour

Jonah’s Ark: Reflections on Christianity and Animals

3:15 PM – Coffee, Tea, & Refreshments
3:30 PM- Hands-on Conservation Project at Sturgeon Creek (Family Friendly!)
7 PM – Panel Discussion and Reception
Topic: Who Owns the Earth?
Speakers: John Boopalan, Don Buckingham, Michael Gilmour, and Sylvia KeesmaatModerated by: Ryan Turnbull

Sunday June 16

10:30 AM – Worship at Westwood Community Church with guest preacher Dr. Sylvia Keesmaat

Dr. Sylvia Keesmaat – Keynote Speaker

Dr. Sylvia C. Keesmaat is a biblical scholar, activist and  farmer. She teaches courses at the intersection of biblical faith and radical discipleship through Bible RemixedSylvia is the co-chair of the Bishop’s Committee on Creation Care for the Anglican Diocese of Toronto. She speaks frequently on topics related to the Bible and economic justice, climate catastrophe, gender justice, and Indigenous justice. Sylvia is the co-author, with Brian Walsh, of Romans Disarmed: Resisting Empire, Demanding Justice  (Brazos Press, 2019) and Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire (IVP, 2004), and the author-editor of The Advent of Justice. Sylvia lives at Russet House Farm (www.russethousefarm.ca) an off-grid permaculture farm in the Kawartha Lakes on the traditional territory of the Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg, with her husband, Brian Walsh, and a fluctuating number of people and animals.

Dr. Michael Gilmour – Keynote Speaker

Associate Professor of English Literature at Providence University College and a Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. On a good day, Michael teaches Jane Austen in the morning and St. Paul in the afternoon – such are the perks for an instructor in both English literature and New Testament. He researches animal ethics and regularly teaches a course on Animals and the Bible. Whenever possible, he urges the Christian community to take creation care and animal wellbeing seriously as matters of moral responsibility. His books include Eden’s Other Residents: The Bible and Animals (2014), Animals in the Writings of C. S. Lewis (2017), and Creative Compassion, Literature and Animal Welfare (2020).

Dr. Sunder John Boopalan – Panelist

Sunder John Boopalan (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is Associate Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU). John is the author of the book, ‘Memory, Grief, and Agency,’ which explores the positive place of redressive grief over structural wrongs. John majored in Environmental Science during his undergraduate days and his favourite activity during that time was to literally chase butterflies trying to determine the health of ecosystems. Though he left wildlife biology and conservation as a career to pursue theology (which he thinks is wilder), his interest lives on in his CMU course on ecotheology. John is an ordained minister in the progressive Baptist tradition.

Dr. Don Buckingham – Panelist

Raised on a farm in Saskatchewan, Don’s first major travel off the farm was to Senegal to work on reforestation projects. Upon his return, Don completed degrees in French literature and in international development studies before completing bachelor, masters, and doctorate -level degrees in law with a focus on agriculture and food law. As a lawyer, he has served as law professor, legal advisor to governments and NGOs, administrative judge, and CEO of a national food and agriculture think-tank. Don serves as Board Chair for A Rocha Canada.

Rick Faw – Workshop Facilitator

Rick Faw has been a lead educator at A Rocha Canada since 2004. In 2014 he became the Vice President of Programming, and in 2022 moved into the role of Education Director.

Rick combines academic backgrounds in science (BSc) and theology (MCS) with a love for the outdoors. His desire is for people to integrate their spiritual life with their experience of the created world. Rick, along with his wife Crista and children Jared and Zoë, lives and plays at Kingfisher Farm in Surrey, BC.

Scott Gerbrandt – Workshop Facilitator

Scott Gerbrandt joined the A Rocha Canada Team in 2017 as the Manitoba Director. As an all season cyclist he boasts of having the best commute in Winnipeg along the Assiniboine River. Growing up near the small hamlet of Vivian in eastern Manitoba, he fell in love with the boreal forest and Canadian Shield through camping, canoe tripping and rock climbing. Scott has over 30 years of adaptive leadership experience in various Christian ministry roles. Most notably, he served 19 years with InterVarsity Canada, in a variety of roles, including Western Field Director. His family has deep roots in the Wolseley neighbourhood of Winnipeg where you can see him and his wife Jana nurturing their fledgling food forest and receiving well deserved eye rolls from their three boys as he calls out to them to be curious, kind and courageous.

Teresa Prokopanko – Workshop Facilitator

Teresa Prokopanko is a sustainability professional in Winnipeg. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Psychology from The King’s University in Edmonton, Alberta; and a Master of Natural Resources Management from the University of Manitoba. She has worked at Green Action Centre as a Compost Program Coordinator and is currently the Sustainability Coordinator at Assiniboine Park Conservancy. Her Christian-Catholic faith has always underpinned her passion for environmental sustainability. She loves spending time at the family Whiteshell cottage with her husband and two young daughters.

Keynote 1: Dr. Sylvia Keesmaat

Torn Between Grief and Hope: Biblical Wisdom and Climate Catastrophe

These are the days of grief and fear. These are the days for stories. When collapse threatened, our biblical ancestors told stories: stories shaped by possibility, stories nourished by faithful love, stories rooted in visionary hope. Together we will delve deeply into the stories of catastrophe and hope in the Bible with our ears open for the voice of lament and our hearts open to new life.

Keynote 2: Dr. Michael Gilmour

Jonah’s Ark: Reflections on Christianity and Animals

In 1885, the Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon suggested a person “was not a true Christian if his [or her] dog or cat were not the better off for it.” This may seem an odd remark since rarely if ever do we think of animals in relation to the spiritual life. But is Spurgeon on to something here, suggesting the church owes them moral consideration? During this presentation, we explore a range of biblical texts raising questions about the religious import of nonhuman animals for Christian thought and practice.

Panel Discussion: Who Owns the Earth?

With Dr. John Boopalan, Dr. Don Buckingham, Dr. Michael Gilmour, Dr. Sylvia Keesmaat,
Moderated by Dr. Ryan Turnbull

Ownership, in our society, is really a question about who is ultimately responsible for something. To ask “who owns the earth” is therefore to enquire into who holds ultimate responsibility for the state of the world. This is an urgent legal, moral, philosophical, and theological question in the face of a climate crisis that threatens to do significant damage to the conditions of our common life on earth. Panelists will speak from their perspective, thinking broadly with Christian scripture and tradition around both the question “who owns the earth” and potential critiques of this question as an exercise in communally discerning how Christians might take responsibility for the care of our common home.

Workshops

1: Lament and Liturgy: Shaping Worship to Hold our Grief with Dr. Sylvia Keesmaat

What if our worship services became a safe place not only to name our grief about creational loss, but also a place where that grief was honoured and held? We will explore liturgies, prayers and ritual action that provide room for sharing and holding grief.

2: Becoming Good Neighbours: Earthkeeping Churches Where All God’s Creatures Flourish with Rick Faw and Scott Gerbrandt

Caring for creation is a basic component of discipleship. But how does earthkeeping work out in practice in the midst of church ministry? This workshop will outline an approach to earthkeeping and will tell stories of real-world projects as a way to spark further imagination. Attendees will be prompted to explore what the Spirit is inviting them to do in their own settings.

3: Building Hope at Home: How to choose and implement impactful actions with Teresa Prokopanko

If you’ve ever felt frustrated with how hard it is to reduce your environmental footprint, you’re not alone. As Paul said, “I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15). Why can it be so hard to take action on environmental sustainability in our own lives? In this workshop we’ll explore some of the principles of the psychology of behaviour change and how to apply it to our own environmental action.

Immersive Experiences

Both Tours are now full

On Friday June 14, there will be an option to attend one of two immersive experiences during the day. (Open to all, even if you can’t make the rest of the conference)

  1. Boreal Ecology Centre Discovery Day – Lead by Graham Peters, A Rocha Conservation Science Coordinator
    Explore the Boreal Ecology Centre’s trails and experience the beauty of the place where prairie turns into boreal forest.
    Bring a bag lunch. Carpooling option available (bring $10 cash for gas).
  2.  FULLFood, Faith, Farming, and the Land – Lead by A Rocha Manitoba and Germinating Conversations Facilitators
    Come along with the Germinating Conversations committee for a day of farm encounter and dialogue with a diverse group of farmers. We will visit Martin Entz’s field study site in Glenlea, Artel Farms, Natural Collective CSA, and Metanoia Farm. We will meet at CMU and go together from there. Bring a bag lunch, $10 cash for gas.

FAQs

Lunch on Saturday is covered by the ticket cost. There will be options for vegetarians/vegans/gluten free.

Absolutely! The more the merrier. We would love to have you – that said, you will have to find your own accommodations if you plan on staying in Winnipeg overnight.

Yes, this event is for you, too. That said, we recommend doing a little reading/listening to find out more about what creation care is before attending the conference – we just don’t want you to feel confused or left out!
See this blog post or this one here for some recommendations. We also recommend this podcast.

Yes, the Westwood Community Church building is wheelchair accessible. If you have questions about accessibility or want to chat about how we can accommodate your need or disability, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Yes! If you register, you do not have to attend the whole conference. You are welcome to attend whichever sessions you would like.

Registration

This year we are providing registration payment on a sliding scale. We hope that this conference is accessible to everyone regardless of level of income. Please register at the cost that is right for you.

You are more than welcome to register and come to whichever sessions work for you.

$100 – Roots – Help us offer lower rates to folks who need them. This amount pays for more than the cost of your registration and supports the ongoing work of A Rocha.

$75 – Trunk – When you register at this rate, you are covering the full cost to create and deliver the conference without the help of grants and donors.

$50 – Branches – Register at this rate with the help of subsidizing grants and donors.

$25 – Leaves – This rate covers the cost of lunch and snacks. We offer this rate through the help of grants and donors.
If this amount is not affordable, please email us  and we can work something out.

Register here
Immersive Experiences Sign Up
Children’s Activities Sign Up Form