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Ecofeminism In An Adventist Institution? That’s A First!

Happy Earth Day, 2009*
Here is a word that you won’t hear frequently uttered at any Adventist institution: Ecofeminism. A recent smattering of articles in the Adventist Review and other SDA periodicals might give the attentive reader the impression that Adventism is beginning to come around where the “eco” is concerned (finally). Good luck finding anything about feminism though.
Until now, that is.
It might not show up in the church’s flagship journal, but ecofeminism is making its official debut in Adventism. For the first time in the brief history of the SDA Church, an Adventist institution is set to hold a conference on the topic.
Following close on the heels of Earth Day, La Sierra University will host the second annual Young Women and the Word conference. The the three-day conference entitled, “Adventist Women And The Earth: A Response to Ecofeminism,” is a joint effort between the Women’s Resource Center, the La Sierra University School of Religion, and La Sierra University.
Adventists often display ambivalence…even antipathy toward both environmental studies and feminist scholarship. Whether because of misgivings over perceived partisanship, becuase of deep-seated theological convictions, or other reservations, most Adventists have embraced neither feminism nor ecology completely.
The Adventist Women and the Earth conference is an opportunity to demonstrate that ecofeminism deserves a second look and more. Ecofeminism examines the ways in which societies have subjugated women and degraded nature. It also seeks redemptive re-mythologizing as an avenue for gender justice and ecological stewardship.
For Adventists whose emphasis on Creation is a central tenet of faith and whose primary founder was a woman, ecofeminism provides a mode of re-assessing not only the link between Creation theology and Creation care, but also the importance (nay, necessity) of women as fully enfranchised equals in every aspect of the church’s multifold mission and ministry.
The conference schedule combines worship, lecture, and service, offering numerous opportunities for participation and reflection.
The Adventist Women and the Earth official website provides a list of participants, a schedule of events, and many resources that provide points of entry into the conversation on ecofeminism.
On this Earth Day, as we consider the splendor of nature and as the Adventist Church readies for its first discussion of women and the earth, consider what it might look like in your own home/congregation/neighborhood/city/state to begin to connect the dots between the doctrine of creation and care for creation…between the story of women as being co-equals as God’s image-bearers in Genesis as well as in the church today.

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