The Model: University extension agents offer low or no-cost resources to communities (originally farmers and agricultural communities) as a public service. For instance, an agricultural extension agent might consult with farmers on how to manage certain pests, or offer low cost soil analysis. In November 2015, the EcoFaith Recovery Core Team engaged in conversation about what it might mean for faith communities to have similar access to faith based extension agents, particularly around congregation education and consulting around eco-literacy and biblical imagination.
The Pilot Project: In conversation with Dave Pritchett, a member of the Wilderness Way Community, who has served as an EcoFaith Recovery Intern in the past and offered the Columbia River Watershed Discipleship Course, the core team chose to pilot an EcoFaith Permaculture Extension Initiative.
This pilot project will be led by Dave and its purpose will be to offer area faith communities the opportunity to engage in:
- weekend workshops on the themes of permaculture, gardening, or watershed discipleship and biblical ecotheology;
- design and implement a food-bearing, pollinator friendly, or native habitat landscape and garden;
- permaculture/eco-biblical literacy mentoring of interns as opportunities present themselves.
During the pilot phase, Dave Pritchett will serve as the primary “extension agent.” He will help bring EcoFaith Recovery’s Practices for Awakening Leadership to the communities he works with, namely spiritual grounding, relational conversations, telling our stories, rhythms of engagement, mentoring and conscious leadership development.
The goal will be to build ecological and biblical literacy in order to engage those communities more deeply into EcoFaith’s vision and mission.
Role of Participating Congregations: Participating faith communities will be asked to engage their members in any agreed upon effort, offer a contribution to EcoFaith Recovery to help advance this important work in the future, and participate in other Initiatives of EcoFaith Recovery as may be of interest to their members.
To Learn More: Contact Dave Pritchett at firstname.lastname@example.org