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Faces of Leadership: Dr. Steven Bouma-Prediger, Board of Trustees

Posted by lindsaybarden | Nov 03, 2016

Dr. Steven Bouma-Prediger has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2012, and with experience as a faculty member at Hope College for 22 years and being a well-established author, he brings much insight to Au Sable through his leadership.

Steve has written a number of books, including For the Beauty of the Earth: A Christian Vision for Creation Care which is in its second edition, Beyond Homelessness: Christian Faith in a Culture of Displacement, and The Greening of Theology. For 17 years he has taught for the Creation Care Study Program in both Belize and New Zealand and has also held teaching positions at Fuller Seminary in California and Western Seminary in Michigan.

Now on the faculty at Hope College, Steven has the distinct privilege of also calling Hope his alma mater where he studied math and computer science during his undergrad. During those years of study, Dr. Bouma-Prediger explains that he was "liberal-artsed" and consequently discovered his truer passions; philosophy and religion. The next few years, he professionally instructed and led backpacking, canoeing, and rock climbing trips before returning to academia to pursue three (yes, three!) Master's degrees and a Doctorate. He holds an M. Phil. in philosophy from the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto, Ontario, an M. Div. in theology from Pasadena, California's Fuller Theological Seminary, then finally an M.A. and Ph.D. in religious studies from Chicago, Illinois' University of Chicago.

Dr. Bouma-Prediger's teaching career began at North Park College where he worked for four years after which time, in 1994, he moved to Hope College. His current role at Hope is in teaching for the Religion department, coordinating the Environmental Studies program, and serving as Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning. As part of Hope College's "Ecological Theology and Ethics" course, he takes students whitewater rafting, flatwater canoeing, and backpacking in the Adirondacks of upstate New York.

"Caring for the earth and its many creatures -- human and non-human -- is our calling. We are supposed to be earthkeepers. But we Christians have not (yet) embraced this Genesis 2:15 calling. For decades Au Sable has been working in all kinds of ways to help Christians (and others) live into this vocation. For that same period of time, I have been -- in my teaching, research, writing and speaking -- trying to do the very same thing. The work of Au Sable has been a great encouragement to me and I have seen the many positive effects of its faithful and humble work," explains Steve. "At the Institute, I have seen students who have caught on fire for earthkeeping, faculty who selflessly serve others by teaching and doing research, and books that have changed people's minds and actions."

With a careful appreciation for the good gifts in life; large and small, when speaking of his home life, Steven will share about his wife Celaine, three daughters Anna, Chara, and Sophia, their 122 year old home in Holland Michigan, and various pets from through the years; a dog Rosie, cat Lokita, bird aptly named Birdy, rabbits, Bella the chinchilla, and not least, numerous crickets. Steve spends as much time as possible in the outdoors, backpacking, canoeing, biking, birding, and hiking among many other activities and enjoys reading just about anything!