Seminarians At Ecology Conference: “We Can Do Something”

On November 11, 2013, Seminarians Megan Martha Carlisle and Ashli Moore travelled to Washington, D.C. to represent St. Vladimir's at the pan-Orthodox ecology conference "On Earth as it is in Heaven." The event was sponsored by the Orthodox Fellowship of the Transfiguration and hosted by St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral. The conference focused on practical applications of Orthodox theology and ecology, and presentation topics ranged from examinations of worldwide ecological trends to architectural design in Orthodox parish construction.

His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios delivered the keynote address. "Harmony between heaven and earth, just as between creation and humanity, has always been a fundamental vocation and principle in the Judeo-Christian scripture and tradition, as well as in our Orthodox liturgy and spiritual life," he emphasized. 

Martha Carlisle was one of the members of the last panel of the day, in which participants discussed ecological concerns in the context of Orthodox higher education. She said a few words on the subject of campus activism, highlighting the existence of the St. Herman's Society for Orthodox Ecology at St. Vladimir's Seminary and advocating the commingling of work, study, and prayer, with ecological concerns. Earlier that afternoon, St. Vladimir's Seminary Trustee Anne Glynn Mackoul moderated a panel devoted to the topic "Putting Theology into Action in the Parish." 

"Our prayers fill us with the hope and humility necessary to carry out our tasks," she noted. "As fallen human beings, we almost never see ourselves clearly. We overestimate our abilities, and believe that we can save the earth ourselves. Or we underestimate them and give up when the problem seems too large. Communion with God keeps us from those extremes. We are not God; but we are his instruments. We cannot do everything, but, with his help, we can do something."

Representatives from Holy Cross Seminary in Brookline, MA, St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Canaan, PA, and Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) also attended the conference. The panel moderator was Dr. Alfred Kentigern Siewers, professor of English and Environmental Studies at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA.  

Read about the September 2013 event sponsored by St. Herman's Society for Orthodox Ecology.

Megan Martha Carlisle is a second-year Master of Arts student from Kirkland, WA, and serves as president of the St. Herman's Society for Orthodox Ecology at St. Vladimir's Seminary.