Cross-Cultural, Urban, Reformed, Ecumenical

Certificate in Environmental Leadership and Ministry

A practical, interactive, cross-disciplinary program for clergy and lay leaders discussing Environmental Ministry in terms of the State of Creation, Biblical Foundations, Theological Foundations and Christian Ethics.

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The Certificate in Environmental Leadership will next be held January 18-22, 2021.

In partnership with the organization Faith in Place, McCormick Theological Seminary offers the Certificate in Environmental Leadership and Ministry as an interactive, cross-disciplinary approach to the conversation about faith and the environment. Together, we provide a unique partnership for environmental study and practice. Our goal is to equip religious leaders with tools to further sustainable and just practices in their own ministry contexts. All students will be guided in a final project that explores an in-depth issue or practice within their current ministry.

Who should attend?

Pastors and religious educators concerned about ecological challenges who wish to learn more;

People of faith who seek a deepened understanding of the earth's ecosystems and our Christian call to shape policy to heal the world;

Congregational and Community leaders committed to responding to our ecological challenges from a faith perspective;

Directors of mission, outreach, and creation care looking for deeper biblical and theological practices in stewardship of the earth.

What are the topics and who are the instructors? 

The program will focus on four major themes and include presentations, discussions, and off-site learning. Instructors are subject to change.

State of the Earth: A Scientific and Religious Overview

A non-technical scientific description and analysis of the ecological state of the world, including up-to-date data on climate change, habitat loss, farm issues, water supply and accumulation of toxins, followed by a panel discussion with the instructors about why the environment is a religious issue, from their different points of view.

Biblical Foundations: Recovering Creation

Dr. Theodore Hiebert,
Francis A. McGaw Professor of Old Testament,
McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, IL

Reexamine nature's place in the Scriptural roots of our faith. Beyond finding green texts, this component cultivates a new way of reading biblical texts to recover the core role of nature in biblical thought. Also included will be resources for using the bible in study, reflection, preaching, and worship.

Theological Foundations: A Down to Earth Approach to Eco-Justice

The Reverend Dr. Anna Case-Winters,
Professor of Theology,
McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago, IL

Explore theological themes and foundations for the work of eco-justice. How do we think about God in relation to the natural world? How may human beings “know our place” with and within nature? Considered responses to these theological questions can transform our relationship to the natural world and deepen our commitment to care for creation.

Practical Approaches: Empowerment Organizing

The Reverend Brian Sauder,
Executive Director,
Faith in Place (

How can people of faith care for the Earth in ways that are concrete, practical, and effective? Explore creative ideas, resources, and training for education, connection, advocacy, and concrete steps for "greening the church." People of faith can come together and stand together to change things.

Practical Approaches: Migration Stories,Spirituality, & Nature

Veronica Kyle,
Chicago Outreach Director,
Faith in Place ( 

For people of color the legacy of relationship with the land is broken and complex. Learn how healing in Chicago is beginning to take place through migration stories and "truth-telling." Understand the history and barriers to engaging communities of color in the current environmental movement and practical ways to shift the paradigm. 

The Certificate Instructors: 
Headshots of all four instructors.

What’s required to enroll?

An open and inquiring mind and a commitment to collegial learning and practice;

Your leadership experiences and challenges in a congregational, institutional, or non-profit place of ministry;

A bachelor’s degree (highly recommended), but no advanced degree is required;

Note: Students currently enrolled in an M.Div. or D.Min. program are eligible to receive academic credit in connection with the Certificate.

To complete the program, students must attend the weeklong intensive session (January 18-22, 2021), do all reading and writing assignments, and complete a capstone project and final paper. Sessions will be held at McCormick Theological Seminary, 5460 S. University Avenue, Chicago, IL.

Certificate tuition is $900. Applications will be accepted beginning June 1, 2020 and will continue to be accept if received or postmarked by October 1, 2020.

For questions, please contact Courtney Jacobson at