Ignatius Jesuit Centre Ecology Centre (Guelph, ON)
The Ecology Project was established in 1999 to address ecological issues from a Christian faith perspective. Key to this initial effort was the “greening” of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, which integrate ecological awareness with spiritual transformation.
Because the Centre believes that the root of the ecological crisis is spiritual, it seeks to restore a spiritual relationship with Earth. The Centre believes deep-seated change in personal lifestyles and collective accountability will take place when individuals experience God’s presence in Creation.
Educators, religious, theology students, scientists and professionals in all fields are increasingly interested in incorporating a knowledge and practice of ecology and spirituality into their daily lives. The Centre’s programmes combine science, faith, Ignatian spiritual practices and hands-on training in ecology and spirituality. Its retreats, workshops and other events help people to experience the profound mystery and wonder of Creation and understand how ecological awareness is critical to our faith at this time.
The Ecology Project team is dedicated to fostering a just relationship between humanity and the Earth. As an Ignatian Ecological Community founded on a commitment to ecology and spirituality, it empowers people to address the ecological crisis and transform their lives spiritually by “finding God in all things” (St. Ignatius of Loyola).
The Sophia Center in Culture and Spirituality (Oakland, CA, USA)
Sophia Center is a place to align one’s aspirations to the challenges presented by this new defining moment in human/earth relations. For over two decades, its campus, in the wooded hills overlooking the San Francisco Bay, has been a gathering place for people from many backgrounds and traditions to explore the profoundly changing human experience that Teilhard de Chardin and Thomas Berry foresaw.
At the Sophia Center in Culture and Spirituality scholars and seekers probe the remarkable contemporary convergence that is blending religion, art, science and justice into an all-embracing, global cosmology. This year, our degree-granting and community programs continue to expand, unfolding with ever-renewing commitment.
The Elliott Allen Institute (Toronto, Ontario)
The Elliott Allen Institute for Theology and Ecology (EAITE) is a collaborative teaching and research institute that offers a Certificate of Specialization in Theology and Ecology in each of the graduate programs at the Faculty of Theology of the University of St. Michael’s College, part of the Toronto School of Theology at the University of Toronto. Interdisciplinary by definition, the Institute facilitates serious contact between the theological and ecological disciplines and the scientific, cosmological, and cultural paradigm shifts that are sweeping our times.
Facilitators and Authors
Thomas Berry was born in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1914. From his academic beginnings as a historian of world cultures and religions, Berry developed into a historian of the Earth and its evolutionary processes. He describes himself as a “geologian”.
For two decades, he directed the Riverdale Center of Religious Research along the Hudson River. During this period he taught at Fordham University where he chaired the history of religions program and directed 25 doctoral theses. His major contributions to the discussion on the environment are in his books:
- The Dream of the Earth (Sierra Club Books, 1988; reprinted, 2006),
- The Universe Story (with Brian Swimme – Harper San Francisco, 1992)
- The Great Work: Our Way into the Future (2000)
- Evening Thoughts: Reflection on the Earth as Sacred (2006)
- The Sacred Universe (2009; editted by M.E. Tucker)
- The Christian Future and the Fate of the Earth (2009; editted by M.E. Tucker and J. Grim)
Brian Swimme is a physicist and author of several books dealing with cosmology, evolution and religion. His research focuses on the evolutionary dynamics of the universe, the relationship between scientific cosmology and more traditional religious visions and the role of humanity in the unfolding story of Earth and cosmos.
In 1998, he founded the international Epic of Evolution Society forum for artists, scientists, ecofeminists, ecologists, religious thinkers and educators interested in the new story. He is the author of these works:
- The Universe is a Green Dragon: A Cosmic Creation Story
- The Universe Story: From the Primordial Flaring Forth to the Ecozoic Era: A Celebration of the Unfolding of the Cosmos (with Thomas Berry)
- The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos, and
- A Walk Through Time: From Stardust to Us – The Evolution of Life on Earth (with Sidney Liebes and Elisabet Sahtouris)
Swimme’s media work includes the video series, Canticle to the Cosmos and The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos.
Diarmuid O’Murchu, a member of the Sacred Heart Missionary Order, and a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin Ireland, is a social psychologist whose entire working life has been in social ministry. In that capacity he has worked as a couple’s counsellor, in bereavement work, AIDS-HIV counselling and laterally with homeless people and refugees.
As a workshop leader and group facilitator he has worked in Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, The Philippines, Thailand, India, Peru and in several African countries, facilitating programmes on Adult Faith Development.
His best known books include:
- Quantum Theology (1996 – revised in 2004),
- Reclaiming Spirituality (1998),
- Evolutionary Faith (2002),
- Catching Up with Jesus (2005),
- The Transformation of Desire (2007), and
- Ancestral Grace (2008).
Quotes of Interest
We stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise. To move forward we must recognise that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. Towards this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations.
(Preamble of The Earth Charter)
We are not lacking in the dynamic forces needed to create the future. We live immersed in a sea of energy beyond all comprehension. But this energy, in an ultimate sense, is ours not by domination but by invocation.