“To everything there is a season…” and so, after much prayer and discernment, I have announced to the Executive Committee of the Green Seminary Initiative (GSI) that I will be stepping down as Co-Director immediately following the AAR/SBL conference on November 20, 2018.
Over the last three years my commitment to the mission of GSI has only increased. My creative energies now need to go in a new direction, however, as my husband, Rodney, and I embark on what we see as perhaps our life’s great work - the planning and development of a place we are calling Sister Grove Farm.
As a patch of blackland prairie along Sister Grove Creek in north Texas, it is our home. It is also a place where we hope to:
· create a community gathering space that facilitates learning and inspiration around our relationship with the land, and
· serve as an agricultural model for others through holistic soil and water conservation practices and restoration of native grasses.
As such, we are becoming students and practitioners of regenerative agricultural practices such as holistic planned grazing and no-till farming. Joining us are other farmers in various places around the country and the world. These are farmers who recognize the weaknesses and systemic exploitations of industrial agriculture and the need for carbon sequestration as a way to reverse atmospheric accumulation.
A healing of our planet begins with a healing of the land. This is what gives me hope as we participate in practices which increase biodiversity, enrich soil health, improve watersheds, and enhance ecosystems.
Plus – here’s the fun part for you academics – the concepts and theories from our seminary classroom experiences are coming to life for me in a new and relevant way. When I sat in a workshop of farmers who were talking about the “interconnected webs of mutuality” I leaned over to Rodney and whispered, “These people are process theologians and they don’t know it.”
There are resonances obviously with eco-theology but also with queer theology and eco-feminist theology. Likewise, Scripture is proclaimed by the land; and the doctrines of Creation, Incarnation, and yes, even the Trinity, are embodied.
It doesn’t matter whether these farmers know the theology or can read the original languages. They are doing the good work that much of our scholarship dreams of and it makes sense to them, both ecologically and economically. The work involved in co-creating this place, with God’s help, is not a drudgery then but a delight; and yes, a calling. In fact, Royal Lane Baptist Church in Dallas recently affirmed this calling through their ordination of me into the Gospel Ministry.
I am not going to a “church” but Sister Grove Farm will be the home base for me and whatever ministry unfolds.
The Green Seminary Initiative has played a significant role in leading me to this point and, without GSI, Sister Grove Farm would not have the potential that she now has.
The experiences of working alongside each of you is being carried with me. Our relationships as friends and colleagues are not going away. Instead we now have a new place to gather; cultivating new ideas and working in new ways towards a harvest of justice.
I am grateful to each of you in this initiative and eternally indebted to my alma maters for leading me in the direction of GSI. Special thanks go to Dave Jensen and Bill Greenway at Austin Seminary and, of course, GSI co-founders Laurel Kearns at Drew Theological School and Beth Norcross at the Center for Spirituality in Nature.
My trust and confidence in abby mohaupt as full Director of GSI knows no bounds. She will continue to serve well at the helm.
I hope to see as many of you as possible in Denver at AAR/SBL. And, better yet, come see us at the farm.
Rev. Sarah Wells Macias
Theologian in residence
Sister Grove Farm