Learn about ecotheology, for free

Learn about ecotheology, for free

An upcoming intensive at United Theological College will explore responses to the climate emergency. Running from 27 June to 1 July, this will be free to auditors.

Dr Dianne Ryson is an ethicist and theologian who has written and taught courses on what Bonhoeffer’s work might have to say about the climate crisis.

“This is an introduction to ecotheology or how we understand and experience the human relationship to creation and God,” Dr Ryson said.

People can enrol for credit and that will involve some written tasks, including ‘authentic assessment’, which involves responding in a way that is appropriate to the student’s context. This can include writing a sermon, a classroom lesson plan, writing a song, or preparing liturgy.

As part of an ongoing promotion at UTC, auditors can attend classes and learn, without undertaking assignments for free.

 “Some topics we’ll cover are ecological hermeneutics, dominion vs domination, ecoethics, and creation theology,” Dr Rayson said.

“We’ll also think about what our own, personal response might be. No assumed knowledge is required. Maybe a sprinkling of Bonhoeffer.” 

For Dr Ryson, the intensive is one of the last events she will participate in before departing for a new role, as Senior Lecturer in Theology and Ethics at Pacific Theology College in Fiji.

Dr Rayson said she was “Very excited” to take this role up.

“As an ecotheologian there is no more pressing place to be interrogating and combatting climate change and sea level rise than in the Pacific,” she said.

“I’m excited to be part of that challenge and equipping future leaders with theology that assists them to both understand these problems and respond to them. The theology coming out of PTC is really cutting edge, especially around ecotheology and ecological hermeneutics.”

“It’s a chance for me to be learning alongside students who will be bringing deep understandings of their relationship to the land and sea. It’s also a return to the tropics where I had lived and worked for 15 years.” 

Dr Rayson told Insights she hopes that the event will draw people from a wide variety of backgrounds.

“I have a real commitment to the idea that theology is for the church so should be accessible to everyone. I hope people will feel welcome to join in the intensive regardless of their background or experience – we each have plenty to offer and to learn from each other.”

THL211: Ecotheology intensive runs at United Theological College from 27 June to 1 July. Classes will run from 9.30am to 4:30pm.

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