2021 GEMN GLOBAL MISSION CONFERENCE
April 22nd-24th, 2021
online, via Zoom
“Earthkeeping: Creation Care in Global Mission”
Climate change and ecological degradation constitute the major planetary crisis of our time. How can Christians in global mission engage with the crisis through the Creator God, the Redeeming Christ and the Empowering Spirit? What can our mission companions around the world teach us about climate justice, and how can we collaborate with them?
10 am-1pm Pacific
5-8 pm GMT
8-11pm South Africa
- Canon Dr. Rachel Mash of Green Anglicans in South Africa and the Anglican Communion Environmental Network, who will speak on forming mission companionship for climate justice.
- The Rev. Melanie Mullen, Director of Reconciliation, Justice, and Creation Care for the Episcopal Church, who will will relate creation care to racial justice and global mission.
- The Rev. Leon Sampson of the Episcopal Church in Navajoland, who will share how Native American spirituality can inform missional creation care.
- The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas from Massachusetts, who will explore a theology and spirituality of creation care.
- The Rt. Rev. Orlando Gomez of Costa Rica, who will share from the experience of his diocese in caring for the creation and promoting climate justice in Latin America.
- Global Mission Workshops
Plenary Speaker bios
The Rev. Leon Sampson, curate priest at Good Shepherd Mission in the Navajoland Area Mission Diocese, has been instrumental in establishing the Navajoland beekeeping program: Bees Bring Hozho to Navajoland. ‘Hozho’ means harmony in one’s relationship with nature. “As Navajo, we we understand the Earth to be a living being who gave life to us as a people. We are connected intrinsically to her and feel a kinship for every living thing that inhabits this planet with us. As Episcopalians, we believe we must honor Gods creation by stearding Earth’s precious resources. This project allows us to live fully in both beliefs.”
The Rev. Sampson graduated in 2019 from Virginia Theological Seminary. He returned home to St. Christopher’s Mission in Bluff, Utah, just in time to move to Fort Defiance, Arizona. He began by listening to the community and entered a discernment process as to what his new ministry would encompass. In July 2019, he was ordained to the priesthood. He is focusing on strengthing the community engagement ministry by increasing outreach programs with local schools and other churches, and responding as witness to the needs of the community.
The Rev. Dr. Rachel Mash is the Environmental Coordinator of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, which includes South Africa, Swaziland-Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, Angola and Mozambique. She works with the Green Anglicans Youth Movement, which is growing in Africa. She is secretary to the Anglican Communion Environmental Network and sits on the steering committee of the Season of Creation group.
Southern Africa is one of the areas most affected by climate change. “We are suffering both from severe drought in parts of the region as well as devastating floods in others,” says Dr. Mash. “Cape Town, where I live, recently suffered the worst years of drought in 100 years and as Day Zero drew near, there was the threat that we would become the first major city in the world to run out of water. This year the rains have been better, and the situation has improved, but we have gone from rainy winters to drought. This is becoming the new normal.”
Dr. Mash played a critical supporting role in the Southern African Anglican Church passing a resolution to divest from fossil fuels in 2016. As a Climate Reality Leader trained by former Vice President Al Gore in 2014 in Johannesburg, Dr. Mash is making the Anglican Church of Southern Africa an example for religions across the world to follow.
The Rt. Rev. Orlando Gómez Segura, Bishop of Costa Rica in the Anglican Church of Central America since 2018, is offering leadership to the diocese’s creation care ministries. Costa Rica is well known for its environmentalism, with a full 25% of the country’s landmass consisting of protected forests and reserves. Costa Rica is ranked the second most environmentally sustainable country in the world. The country uses 99.2% renewable energy, of which 78% is from hydroelectric sources and 18% from geothermal and wind power. During one 75-day stretch, the entire country was able to run on renewable resources only.
Bishop Gómez was ordained priest 2000 and has been part of the mission of the Episcopal Church since 1991. He was priest-in-charge of All Saints Mission in San Rafael Abajo, one of the poorest districts in the south of the province of San José. There he developed a social, communal and environmental ministry in conjunction with the local government and other social organizations.
Originally from Turrialba, Cartago, Bishop Gómez grew up in the countryside as a farmer in a Roman Catholic family. He is the sixth of 10 children. In 1978, he emigrated from the countryside to the city and began his high school studies. In the city, he stood out as a carpenter specializing in cabinetmaking.
In 1991 he and his wife were invited to participate in an activity of the Episcopal Church. They immediately became active members of La Ascensión. In 1993, he was transferred to serve All Saints’ Mission, where he felt called to ordained ministry. He completed his biblical and theological studies at the Latin American Biblical University.
Attendance at the conference is by donation. There is no fee, yet attendees are encouraged to make a donation as they are able. Those who are not yet members of GEMN are encouraged to become members. (Please see our Membership page for options.) There will also be opportunity to contribute to ecological justice projects in various parts of the world.