Regent College Announces Partnership with A Rocha
Vancouver, November 24, 2014—Regent College, known for providing world-class biblical education for everyday people, has entered into a partnership with A Rocha, an international Christian organization that engages in scientific research, environmental education, community-based conservation projects, and sustainable agriculture. The partnership was announced by Regent College President Rod Wilson and A Rocha Co-founder and President Peter Harris on November 8 at the lecture Is Theology for the Birds? The two organizations will collaborate on resourcing, designing, and delivering creation care educational events, courses, and programs.
The partnership grows out of an already existing history of integration between the two organizations. A number of A Rocha’s staff members are former Regent College students. Both organizations care about “living out biblical faith,” in the words of Peter Harris—that is, approaching environmental issues through the lens of creation care, which is rooted in Scripture. Two of Regent’s signature courses on issues of creation care, Food: Communion, Community, and Creation and Technology, Wilderness, and Creation, routinely include instructors from A Rocha.
The partnership therefore provides a more formal framework for the continuation of these signature courses, as well as for the development of new initiatives. “Regent students can expect a lot out of this partnership,” says Jeff Greenman, Executive Vice-President and Academic Dean at Regent College—in terms of internships, practicums, supervised ministry placements, and joint research and writing projects. “Students get the chance to have their hands dirty, restoring salmon habitats, for example, which we do not get to do at Regent. The working farm and salmon stream [at the Brooksdale facility run by A Rocha] will be made available for people who are integrators and practitioners, taking Regent theology and putting it into practice.”
One of the first new initiatives coming out of the partnership is a joint conference, Holy Ground—Answering God’s Call to Creation Care, which takes place May 5-8, 2015. It is open to pastors, church staff members, lay leaders, and all those interested in environmental issues. Speakers will include Loren Wilkinson (Professor, Regent College), Peter Harris (Co-founder of A Rocha), Leah Kostamo (Lead Writer for A Rocha Canada), Chris Wright (Langham Partnership), Katharine Hayhoe (Texas Tech University), Terry LeBlanc (North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies), and others.
In the longer term, the partnership will enable the education and equipping of churches and congregations with programs on earthkeeping practices, and the encouraging of communities to care for the planet. If Regent offers theological grounding, A Rocha works out that theology in and through the vocation of caring for creation. They are partners in “a biblical enterprise” that is both exciting and promising.