ChurchLands Report, March 2020

ChurchLands Retreat Report – Sunday, March 1, 2020

In 2020, St. Dunstan’s has been invited to join a year-long pilot program called Churchlands, which is an opportunity to explore how Episcopal churches that own land can begin to relate to land holdings in a way that is more faithful to the Gospel: integrating discipleship, ecology, justice, and health.

Nurya Love Parish – Plainsong Farm; Episcopal food movement

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry:  Inviting Episcopalians into renewed focus on evangelism, reconciliation/justice, and creation care.


King Solomon’s court, 1 Kings 4.

  • What do you notice about this text?
  • Solomon loved nature in the abstract; but what was his relationship with the land like?…
  • “Creation care” often abstract. Emotional, intellectual, or even spiritual connection, without accountability to land in practice.
  • How do we think of land? – free association exercise at retreat.
  • George Washington and the “under their own vine and fig tree” idea – vision of US as land of the smallholder farmer. Land (farmed) as wealth and security. Joshua from our cohort: “This is why there is no old growth forest in Indiana.”
  • “Who is my neighbor?” What is creation? What is care?
  • Eating seasonally, for example, is reconciliation work – reconnecting what has been disconnected.


Naboth’s vineyard (1 Kings 21). Dispossession & disconnection.

  • Our local history…
  • Can the land tell the difference between being treated as heritage or commodity? … Living on stolen, grieving land.
  • Cain & Abel – blood crying out from the ground. PFAS pollution, etc…
  • What does repentance and amendment of life look like, for the land? How might our land be a site of, or resource for, justice and reconciliation?
  • How face our own complicity without being paralyzed? Paul: “We are all under the power of sin.”


Nurya: Hunch that there are young adults saying, “I wish I had land and a church that cares,” and churches that say, “I wish we had young adults!”

  • People need to know there are churches where you can love God ad be loved and think and question and believe in science and care urgently about the land.
  • Sozo/Soterio = restoration to safety, soundness, health, well-being.(Book: “Salvation Means Creation Healed”)
  • St Peter’s, Lebanon – Harvest House – teaching ministry: Plant, Prepare, & Preserve. (Freeze dryer)
  • How are land and liturgy separated in our context? How integrated?
  • How might our interaction with our/the land, proclaim our faith?

MIRANDA’S CHURCHLANDS GOAL: Gather a group of at least 5 people, at least 3 times this year, to explore and share vision and develop ideas for how to more deeply connect faith and creation at St. Dunstan’s.

So: Who wants to talk more about this stuff & where it might lead?

How can we imagine creation care, justice and reconciliation, & evangelism on our land?