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Au Sable Graduate Fellows 2013 Conference Features Dr. Loren Wilkinson

Jan 21, 2013

Twenty-eight Au Sable graduate fellows traversed the country to gather at the Great Lakes Campus for their annual conference from January 18-21. The graduate fellows conference provides an opportunity for fellows that hail from chapters across the country -- Cornell University, University of California Berkley, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Purdue University, and Michigan State University -- to meet for a time of personal, professional, and spiritual growth. The conference blends group breakout sessions led by a prominent ecotheologian, times to connect with other fellows, recreation and enjoyment of God's creation, and personal reflection.

This year, the Graduate Fellows hosted Dr. Loren Wilkinson, adjunct professor of Interdisciplinary Studies & Philosophy at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, for its conference sessions. Dr. Wilkinson was no stranger to the Au Sable Great Lakes Campus. A frequent contributor to the Au Sable fora in the early 1980s, Dr. Wilkinson played a critical role in reintroducing evangelical Christians to the biblical vision for creation care. The book he edited, Earthkeeping in the Nineties: Stewardship for Creation, drew heavily from his experience at Au Sable fora and was one of the first theological resources available for evangelical Christians on creation care. 

Drawing from a new book he is authoring, Dr. Wilkinson led three sessions at the graduate fellows conference on the topic Creation and the Cross, entitled:

  1. Biblical and Theological Foundations for thinking about the Cross at the centre of Creation
  2. Evolution, Pain, and Suffering: How the Cross helps us understand the Integrity of the Creature
  3. The Cross and "Dark Green Religion": How an understanding of the Cross in Creation opens doors of communication with the religious dimension of the environmental movement

Wilkinson explained, "Christians believe that the character of God is most clearly seen in Jesus' death on the cross. But that insight has seldom been used to illuminate our understanding of creation. In these lectures, [we] explor[ed] three areas in which the cross is relevant for creation."

Says Au Sable Graduate Fellows Coordinator Rolf Bouma, "It was a pleasure to welcome Loren and all of our graduate fellows to the Great Lakes Campus for a weekend of renewing our hearts and minds for purposeful academic work and a life-long commitment to caring for God's creation. As every year, this proved to be a wonderful time together."

Read about last year's graduate fellows conference, which featured Dr. Steven Bouma-Prediger, author of For the Beauty of the Earth, discussing "Earthkeeping as Homemaking."