The Watershed Discipleship Course was held June 16-20 at in Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa. This conference was sponsored by the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative at Wake Divinity with support from Kalleiopeia Foundation.
Four of PHW’s influential liaisons came together along with other powerful minds to confront the “interlocking crises of deepening climate change, resource exhaustion, and social disparity” that are embedded.
One of the most profound statements that circled this conference was, “to truly face these crises is to commit ourselves, as Christians and citizens, to radical and urgent changes that are both profoundly political and personal.”
It is this statement that caught some of PHW’s strongest leaders and upcoming youth leaders in a personal conviction stronghold.
“I haven’t been able to eat the same” Cindy Taylor, PHW Liaison from Montgomery County, says to me as she sits on my couch, telling me about the conference. “I look at food differently now, and crave what I know will really work for my body. This conference was exactly what my soul needed to encourage me.”
I knew this conference was the perfect match for Cindy, who is the founder of Body of Christ United in Troy. She told me months prior how she was looking to expand her roots. I quickly sent her information on the conference, and, unhesitatingly, she and her daughter registered.
Cindy was impacted by Ched Myers, the conference keynote speaker and an activist theologian. “He said that he has all of these nationalities and ethnicities running through his veins, and although he grew up in Europe, it wasn’t until he came to the United States in his late adult years that he became White.”
She continued, “He knew that racism is still driving many institutionalized decisions in today’s society, especially regarding food.”
Cindy was so moved by Ched that she wrote him a poem, during the conference, and recited it in front of the whole class. She read the poem to me as we sat on my couch, and I felt the emotional well within my belly stir out of agreement that racism still affects our food system.
Linda Tyndall, a PHW Liaison in Lumberton, shared the same sentiments about the conference, “Joy, I cannot tell you how awesome this conference was. Ched Myers and Fred Bahnson are incredible. Joy, they even told me about using alternative methods to put on your plants for fertilizer. There are ecological ways to build the nutrients in your garden without using harsh chemicals or spending lots of money.”
I just smiled as I talked with her on the phone. I actually did know this, and I use several low-cost methods, such as putting your dryer lint in your compost pile. I have learned different methods from the several self-sustaining ecological communities I have visited over the years. This practice and others are quite a popular practice among gardeners and eco-activists.
While this conference was only for a select few, they capped it at 35 participants, many more will be affected. I know that Cindy and Linda and the youth partners who attended with them will be sharing their knowledge with their churches, friends, and community.
If you want to attend a conference that will encourage you to go deeper into your health and faith, then make plans to attend the PHW Health Summit on October 10 in Winston-Salem at Ardmore Baptist Church, 501 Miller Street. Mark your calendars and register today.