Food and Faith

In celebration of Earth Day, participants of Union Presbyterian Seminary’s first Ecotheology Conference were challenged to think of the implications and relationship between food and faith.

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From left to right, panelists Dawn DeVries, John Newton Thomas Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Presbyterian Seminary, Toby Vernon of the Community Food Collaborative, Duron Chavis of Renew Richmond, and Sequoia Ross of Tricycle Gardens.

“If we’re interested in spirituality and relationship with God as a daily part of life, what better point to begin than in our eating?” asked Dawn DeVries, professor of theology.

Sponsored by the seminary’s Black Caucus, the panel featured representatives from the community, including DeVries, Toby Vernon of the Community Food Collaborative, Duron Chavis of Renew Richmond, and Sequoia Ross of Tricycle Gardens. DeVries is the John Newton Thomas Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Presbyterian Seminary.

Vernon asked the audience to think of food as a unifier and a divider, encouraging movement from an attitude that “moves from sustainable and towards regenerative.”

The event addressed a growing longing for practical response to the needs of creation.

“My generation is trying to figure out how to address systemic poverty in a way that is systemic and regenerative” said Chavis. “I believe that the Bible teaches us that we should live in abundance and I do believe that it is our birthright to live abundantly and to not be in a struggle. So urban agriculture and farming has been that space to try to entice youth and adults alike that control over food is something you can have.”

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Duron Chavis responds to a question posed by the audience during the Q&A portion of the event.

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