Making Peace with the Land

Embracing God’s Call to Reconcile with Creation

Duke Divinity School

September 21, 2012 to September 22, 2012


We invite you to join us for the Center for Reconciliation’s sixth annual Reconcilers Weekend, co-hosted by the Center for Environmental Leadership.

As Christians, we sometimes have a hard time imagining that God desires all creatures to be reconciled with each other and with God.  But the long arc of God’s redemptive love is not confined to humans. The promise that “all things” have a place in God’s reconciling and redeeming love through Christ encompasses land, food, and the environment. As creatures whose very existence is interdependent with the rest of creation, entering into God’s work of reconciliation begins with, and continually returns to, reconciliation with the land. Yet we find ourselves living in an increasingly degraded world, often with little direct relationship to the plants, animals, soil, and water sources that sustain our lives. 

Join us for a weekend to explore why reconciliation with creation is an essential part of God’s work of redemption, the connections between care for the land and just relationships among people, and practices for faith communities seeking a reconciled relationship with creation.

The Duke Center for Reconciliation believes that forming Christian leaders in the theology and practice of reconciliation requires a close relationship with living signs of hope, the faithful witnesses throughout the global church that embody deep wisdom about the ministry of reconciliation.

Reconcilers Weekend is an annual event that brings together leading practitioners and leading theologians dedicated to a life of Christian reconciliation to share their stories and wisdom at Duke Divinity School. The program is designed to provide theological and ministry formation to students, pastors, lay Christians, and other ministry practitioners.


Fred Bahnson

BahnsonFred Bahnson directs the Wake Forest University School of Divinity’s Food & Faith Initiative. He holds a master’s in theological studies from Duke Divinity School and writes about the intersection of food, faith, and agriculture. After being wooed into the agrarian life while serving as a peace worker among Mayan coffee farmers in Chiapas, Mexico, he returned to the U.S. and co-founded Anathoth Community Garden, a church-supported agriculture ministry that he directed from 2005-2009. His essays have appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, Orion, The Sun, The Christian Century, and the anthology Best American Spiritual Writing 2007. Writing awards include a Kellogg Food & Community fellowship and a North Carolina Artist fellowship in creative nonfiction. He is co-author, with Norman Wirzba, of Making Peace with the Land: God’s Call to Reconcile with Creation (IVP) and is currently at work on Soil & Sacrament: Four Seasons Among the Keepers of the Earth, forthcoming from Free Press.

Articles by Fred Bahnson in Faith & Leadership:

Dr. Norm Christensen

ChristensenDr. Norm Christensen is Research Professor and Founding Dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University.  He not only a world-class scientist but is also a gifted and dedicated teacher who has taught the introductory environmental science course for over 15 years and was awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award at Trinity College of Arts and Sciences at Duke in 1991. Dr. Christensen's research focuses on the effects of disturbance on structure and function of populations, communities and ecosystems. Dr. Christensen has also written about the relationship between environmental protection and human survival in Haiti. He was elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and served as the president of the Ecological Society of America in 2008. Dr. Christensen is author of The Environment and You, a college-level environmental sciences textbook which will be published in 2012 and is expected to be widely used.

Dr. Norman Wirzba

WirzbaDr. Norman Wirzba is Research Professor of Theology, Ecology and Rural Life at Duke Divinity School. He is the author of several celebrated books on the doctrine of creation, practice of Sabbath, and Christian agrarian movement. In particular, he focuses on understanding and promoting practices that will equip both rural and urban church communities to be more faithful and responsible members of creation. Current projects focus on eating as a spiritual discipline, theological reflection as informed by place, and agrarianism as a viable and comprehensive cultural force. Dr. Wirzba has published The Paradise of God: Renewing Religion in an Ecological Age and Living the Sabbath: Discovering the Rhythms of Rest and Delight. His most recent book is Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating.  He is also co-author, with Fred Bahnson, of Making Peace with the Land: God’s Call to Reconcile with Creation (IVP).


Friday, September 21

Duke Divinity School

6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Registration Available

7:30 – 9:00 p.m.

Dr. Norman Wirzba and Dr. Norm Christensen: Environmental Ethics and a Holistic Christian Vision of Reconciliation

Saturday, September 22

Duke Divinity School
8:30 – 9:00 a.m. Registration Available
9:00 – 9:30 a.m. Welcome

9:30 – 10:30 a.m.

Fred Bahnson: Soil and Sacrament -- Stories of faith-based agriculture

10:30 – 11:00 a.m. Coffee break
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. The Story of Anathoth Garden

12:00 – 1:15 p.m.


1:15 – 2:00 p.m. Voices of farmers
2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Panel and Q&A: Justice and Reconciliation with Creation
3:00 – 3:30 p.m. Break
3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Panel and Q&A: Experiments in Reconciliation with Creation
4:30 – 5:00 p.m. Closing

6:00 – 7:30 p.m.


The following event is free and open to the public. No registration is required for those who are not participating in the Saturday conference.

Friday, September 21

Duke Divinity School
7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Dr. Norman Wirzba and Dr. Norm Christensen: Environmental Ethics and a Holistic Christian Vision of Reconciliation


Duke University is committed to providing access to programs for persons with disabilities. If you anticipate needing accommodations or have questions about physical access, please contact (919) 660-3578 in advance of the program.


Lodging reservations should be made directly with Durham motels or hotels. We recommend using the Millennium Hotel.

Millennium Hotel on Campus Walk Avenue:

  • $99 nightly rate, plus applicable taxes.
  • Call 800-633-5379 or 919-383-8575 or reserve online.
  • Ask for the Center for Environmental Leadership rate.
  • Millennium offers free shuttle services to Duke.


  • Air Transportation
    The nearest airport is the Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU), a 20-minute drive to Duke University. Many area hotels offer shuttle service to and from the hotel. There is now Super Shuttle Service from RDU airport to Duke University and the surrounding area. You can make a reservation online prior to your arrival to Duke (provided you have a credit card). There will also be taxi cabs waiting outside each terminal of the airport.
  • Rail Transportation
    The Durham Train Station offers Amtrak service to and from Charlotte, Raleigh, Washington DC, and New York City and points in between. Make reservations in advance online or by phone.
  • Ground Transportation
    Directions to Duke University


Parking will be available for those who have purchased a permit in advance when registering for the conference. Additional discounted parking permits will be available for sale at the conference.

Things to Do in Durham

Visit many of Duke’s gifts of beauty including the Sarah P. Duke Gardens the Nasher Museum of Art, the Duke Lemur Center, and the famous home of Duke basketball, Cameron Indoor Stadium. Enjoy Durham’s flourishing downtown restaurant scene with dinner in a renovated warehouse or outdoor café.

By September 14: $50 for the general public and $25 for full-time students.
After September 14, register at the door: $60 for the general public and $25 for full-time students.

We can accept cash or checks only at the door, but no credit cards.

If you are applying for a scholarship, please do not complete the online conference registration before receiving your scholarship award notification. You will be notified of your scholarship award by September 14.


If you are unable to register online, you may submit a paper registration form (pdf) by mail.

All registration fees are non-refundable.

We have some scholarship funds available for participants who have financial need and who are actively involved in ministry (either vocational or lay). If you would like to be considered for a scholarship for the weekend conference, please complete the scholarship application below and email it to by September 7. Please do not complete the online conference registration before receiving your scholarship award notification. You will be notified of your scholarship award by September 14.

Scholarship application form (pdf)
Scholarship application form (doc)