Sixth Rooted & Grounded Conference at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary: September 28-30, 2023


originally published by Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary

ELKHART, Indiana (Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary) — Rather than being stuck in despair about climate change, how do people of faith find ways to combine active engagement and deeply rooted hope?

Kaitlin Curtice, Leah Thomas and Jackie Wyse-Rhodes will be the keynote speakers for the sixth Rooted and Grounded Conference on Land and Christian Discipleship, to be held Sept. 28–30 at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana.

Participants in the sixth Rooted & Grounded Conference on Land and Christian Discipleship will engage this question together, examining theological, biblical and pastoral care responses to climate doom. The conference will be held Sept. 28–30, 2023, at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana, and online.

The planning committee chose the theme — “Pathways through Climate Doom: Resistance and Resilience” — because climate doom has surpassed climate change denial as the main reason people don’t take action to confront the environmental crisis the world is facing, said Janeen Bertsche Johnson, MDiv, AMBS Director of Campus Ministries and conference coordinator.

“We want participants to gain tools to face the sense of climate doom that pervades our culture — especially among youth and young adults — and resistance and resilience are partner tools in this journey,” she said. “We also wanted to use the biblical framework of a ‘path’ or ‘way’ to remind ourselves of how God’s people have been called to faithful journeys in the past.”

The conference, which begins at 4:30 p.m. EDT on Sept. 28 and ends at noon EDT on Sept. 30, will weave together worship, theology, biblical study and praxis. In addition to the keynote sessions, the event will feature 12 paper presentations and 10 workshops on creation care, eco-justice and more — offered during five time slots. Participants can also register to join one of four optional Immersion Experiences on Thursday afternoon, prior to the beginning of the conference.

All parts of the event will be available to in-person participants, and some elements (keynote sessions, worship sessions and one paper/workshop option in each of the five time slots) will be available to participants joining online.

Keynote speakers (all times EDT)

  • Thursday, Sept. 28, 7 p.m., and Friday, Sept. 29, 8:45 a.m.: Kaitlin Curticea Potawatomi Christian author and speaker, will speak on “Resistance,” sharing insights from her most recent book, Living Resistance: An Indigenous Vision for Seeking Wholeness Every Day (Brazos, 2023)and applying those to the climate crisis. On Thursday, she’ll present a keynote address, and on Friday, she’ll lead a workshop.
  • Friday, Sept. 29, 3 p.m.: Leah Thomas, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care at AMBS, will lead a workshop on “Resilience,” showing how the climate crisis is a form of collective trauma and how practices of resilience can move people beyond classic trauma responses of “freeze” or “flight.”
  • Friday, Sept. 29, 7 p.m.: Jackie Wyse-Rhodes, PhD, Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at AMBS, will speak on “Seeking Hope when the Path is Crooked: The Bible and Climate Change,” examining the rich biblical tradition of pathways to help Christians ground their work in their faith. 

Immersion Experiences (optional)

Four Immersion Experiences — visits to places of environmental and historical interest in the area — will be offered as pre-conference activities (in person only) from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sept. 28. An additional charge of $50 ($20 for students) includes transportation from AMBS and a packed lunch.

  • Protected Farmland, Forests and an Educational Farm
  • Potawatomi-Miami Trail in Elkhart County
  • Potawatomi Trail of Death (sites of 1838 removal from northern Indiana)
  • Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center in Wolf Lake, Indiana


Co-sponsors of the conference include the Anabaptist Climate CollaborativeBridgefolkMennonite Creation Care Network and Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen (Indiana) College. Bertsche Johnson anticipates that having four co-sponsoring organizations will bring a greater diversity of attendees to the event.

“Anyone who is interested in creation care, the Church’s response to climate change, or finding hope for an uncertain future is encouraged to attend,” she said.

All participants are also welcome to stay on Saturday afternoon and evening for additional meetings of Bridgefolk, an annual grassroots gathering of Roman Catholics and Mennonites. An additional $25 fee will cover both lunch and supper on Saturday for those coming in person, or audio-visual staff for those joining online.

Costs and registration

The in-person registration cost is $125 for the entire conference (includes three meals); the student rate is $60. If three or more undergraduate students register from the same college or university to attend in person, their registration is free. The online registration cost is $60 for the conference; the online student rate is $20. The cost to attend the keynote addresses only (in person or online) is $10 per session.

Learn more, view a schedule and register at

Prior Rooted and Grounded conferences were held in 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2021. 

Located in Elkhart, Indiana, on ancestral land of the Potawatomi and Miami peoples, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary is a learning community with an Anabaptist vision, offering theological education for learners both on campus and at a distance as well as a wide array of lifelong learning programs — all with the goal of educating followers of Jesus Christ to be leaders for God’s reconciling mission in the world.

—AMBS release

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