I have the pleasure of continuing to work with Fred Bahnson, director of the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative at the Wake Forest University Divinity School. Partners in Health and Wholeness sent several of our leaders during the past few years, including Regional Coordinator Shannon Axtell Martin, and faith leader, Linda Tyndall, to the summer course in Western North Carolina that Fred organizes and directs.
This quote from the website gives the best context, “At the School of Divinity, attention to ecological vocation in theological education is not a side program, but is understood to reside at the heart of the Gospel,” said Gail R. O’Day, Dean of the School of Divinity. “The Re:Generate Fellowship will aid young faith leaders’ professional development as they work in farm-to-table, land conservation, and energy sustainability movements.”
The incredible building of young faith leaders continues at Wake Divinity School, and Bahnson has taken a particular interest in grooming these leaders into the forefront of the faith and health movement nationwide.
“So, Fred…” I wrote in an informal email, “can I come back, since you know, you all are doing cooler things than the first cohort?” My email was unashamed. I’d read that the second year’s cohort would be meeting in January, that they would have a storytelling focus, and the arts were more incorporated into the curriculum – I just couldn’t leave that untapped. I had to at least ask.
“Joy, you are like the little sister that won’t go away. Let me check and get back with you.” I laughed when I read his message and wrote back, “Thanks, big bro!”
I was part of the first cohort and I cannot say enough how much love, life, and rejuvenation the experience washed within me. What Bahnson is doing with this initiative is revolutionizing the food and faith movement, and it will only gain strength as other organizations continue to collaborate around food and faith.
I have the continued honor to tag behind such great leaders as Fred, and I can only hope that more people will join — and at this rate, we are sure to get more young leaders.
This week Wake Divinity School will convene all twenty of us, from the US and Canada for its second annual Re:Generate Fellowship on Ecological Vocation and Religious Leadership.
I will serve as the dance artist-in-residence and will help assist with various tasks for this second convening.
Both Fred and outstanding trainer, Matthew Williams from the Forum on Theological Exploration, will be guiding this Fellowship, and Justin Catanoso, who directs Wake Forest University’s Journalism program, will lead a writing workshop.
Please read more about the initiative and the fellows here.