Living the Common Good(s): The Promise and Challenge of Activisms Today

Thursday, February 7, 2013

11:20 a.m. – 12 p.m.: Community Worship, Craig Chapel

Preacher: Joerg Rieger, Professor of Constructive Theology, Perkins School of Theology

5 – 7 p.m.: Community Activism Fair, Seminary Hall Atrium

Co-sponsored with Drew’s Center for Civic Engagement and CLA Office of Campus Life and Student Affairs

7 p.m.: Public Lecture, Craig Chapel

Crazy Eyes: Notes from Occupy Wall Street’s May Day Apocalypse

Nathan Schneider

After creating an international phenomenon virtually from scratch in the fall of 2011, organizers in Occupy Wall Street set about planning something even bigger for the following May Day: a general strike. But as May Day itself approached, the event that they hoped would be their movement’s apotheosis—”the face of God,” one of them said—began to seem like it might be the last hurrah. Based on up-close reporting at discreet planning meetings and last-minute sign-making sessions, this is a study of the ambivalent space between religion and politics so apparent as Occupiers brought art, organizing, and theological themes together in order to sustain and deepen their movement.

Nathan Schneider has written about the Occupy movement for publications including Harper’s Magazine, The Nation, and The New York Times, as well as in a forthcoming book from University of California Press. He earned his BA in religious studies from Brown and an MA in the same from University of California, Santa Barbara. He has been an editor at several online outlets including the Social Science Research Council’s The Immanent Frame, Religion Dispatches, Killing the Buddha, and, currently, Waging Nonviolence. His first book, God in Proof: The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet, will be available in June, also from University of California Press.

Friday, February 8, 2013  

Coffee and tea available free all day in Cyber Cafe

8:45 – 9:45 a.m.: Workshop session 1: Choose one of two

CHOICE 1A: How Religious Studies Can Take Over the World

Leader: Nathan Schneider

This participatory discussion will explore ways in which scholars of religion might engage more deeply in the wider public square, both through publication and non-academic employment — and why the world desperately needs them to.

Nathan Schneider has written about the Occupy movement for publications including Harper’s Magazine, The Nation, and The New York Times, as well as in a forthcoming book from University of California Press. He earned his BA in religious studies from Brown and an MA in the same from University of California, Santa Barbara. He has been an editor at several online outlets including the Social Science Research Council’s The Immanent Frame, Religion Dispatches, Killing the Buddha, and, currently, Waging Nonviolence. His first book, God in Proof: The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet, will be available in June, also from University of California Press.

CHOICE 1B: Taking Place: Squatting and Organizing with and Among the Homeless

Leader: George Schmidt, Union Theological Seminary

This workshop will invite participants to learn about the realities of urban homelessness and consider actions that insist on real change around this problem. The primary resources for this work come not from the experiences and analysis of those who have shelter but from the efforts among the homeless to organize and take action for themselves.

George Schmidt is a master’s of divinity student at Union Theological Seminary in New York City who has worked closely with homeless activist groups.

10 – 11 a.m.:  Workshop session 2:  Choose one of two:

CHOICE 2A: Divest and Reinvest – Climate Change Campaigns for Campuses and Faith Groups

Leader: Rev. Harper Fletcher, Executive Director, GreenFaith

Participants in this workshop will learn about how to organize and carry out a fossil fuel divestment campaign in their faith community and/or on their campus.  GreenFaith is organizing such efforts in faith communities and has created a sample resolution, and gathered materials, to assist faith groups in this regard.

Rev. Harper Fletcher is an Episcopal priest and the Executive Director of GreenFaith. He preaches, teaches, and speaks weekly at houses of worship from a wide range of denominations in New Jersey and beyond about the moral and spiritual basis for environmental stewardship and justice.

CHOICE 2B: Standing in the Intersection: An Interactive Conversation on Race, Sexuality, Activism, and Religiosity

This interactive workshop will engage participants in a dialogue exploring the interconnections between race, queer sexualities, activism and Christian thought. Using examples from work done in Newark, NJ, the facilitator will lead a discussion that will ultimately lead to the development of strategies that can be used to guide social justice and equity work done within and without church settings.

Leader: Darnell L. Moore

Darnell L. Moore is a writer, educator, and activist whose work on Black Christian thought is informed by anti-racist, feminist, queer of color, and anti-colonial thought and advocacy. Darnell’s essays, social commentary, poetry, and interviews have appeared in various scholarly journals and national and international media venues, including the Feminist Wire, Ebony.com, The Root.com, Gawker, Arts & Understanding, PrettyQueer.com, Mondoweiss, NewBlackMan (In Exile), Social Text: Emergences and The Huffington Post. He was appointed by Mayor Cory Booker as Inaugural Chair of the city of Newark, NJ LGBT Concerns Advisory Commission, the first of its kind in the state of New Jersey. He is the co-chair, with Beryl Satter, of the groundbreaking Queer Newark Oral History project–an archival project that seeks to chronicle the multifaceted lives of LGBTQ Newarkers and their allies.

11 a.m. – 12 p.m.: Community Brunch

11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.: Public Lecture, Craig Chapel

Common Good(s): Economy, Ecology, and Political Theology

William E. Connolly, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University

Connolly is a political theorist known for his work on democracy and religious pluralism.

1 – 2 p.m.: Workshop session 3

An Hour on Route 78: Bridging Environmental and Economic Landscapes Through Partnership

Leaders: Leena Waite, America’s Grow-a-Row and Debi Hall-Dean, Partners in A.C.T.S., Franklin-St. John’s Community Center, Newark NJ

Leena Waite of America’s Grow-a-Row in Pittstown and Debi Hall-Dean of Partners in ACTS in Newark present their organizations and share how their rural and urban communities have come together to share fresh healthy produce for those in need. The reality of food deserts AND food swamps is very present in New Jersey and contributes to our national health epidemic and its costs. What are the realities of these two communities and what is our theological response?

Leena Waite is the Director of Volunteer Management and Educational Programming of America’s Grow-a-Row, and a Drew alum with a Master’s of Arts in Ministry. The mission of AGAR is to positively impact as many lives as possible through a volunteer effort of planting, picking, rescuing, and delivering free fresh produce to food pantries, soup kitchens, crisis centers, and food banks all over the state of New Jersey. AGAR now partners with the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers to set up Free Farm Markets in the food deserts of the Camden area, as well as with Team Walker Org. in Jersey City and Partners in ACTS, in Newark. Debi Hall-Dean is the Executive Director of the St. John’s Community Center, a not-for-profit faith and community based service organization in Newark. Through partnerships with over 40 organizations of like-minded people in and outside of the city, Partners in Acts (Assisting our Community Through Service), the outreach arm of the center, seeks to be a positive presence and resource for the community through the principle of “one hand washing another.”

2:15 – 3:15 p.m.  Workshop session 4

From the Pulpit to the Streets: Empowering God’s people for Social and Economic justice

Leader: Michael Sniffen, Rector of the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew, Brooklyn, NY, and Occupy Sandy organizer

This workshop investigates the connection between worship and direct social action inspired by the gospel What does it take to activate a faith community in the local struggle for economic and social justice? What happens when people of faith take to the streets in transgressive ways?

The Rev. Michael Sniffen is an Episcopal Priest, activist and organizer in Brooklyn, NY. He has been engaged in the Occupy movement since September 2011. The Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew, which he serves as Rector, is the hub of Occupy Sandy – a grassroots disaster response movement that has trained over 60,000 volunteers. The movement has received national and international attention for its effectiveness and horizontal organizing principals. Sniffen graduated from Drew’s M.Div program in 2005 and is currently a GDR doctoral candidate in the area Liturgical Studies/Homiletics.

http://www.odysseynetworks.org/video/occupy-sandy-a-movement-grows-in-brooklyn

3:30 – 4:30 p.m.: Workshop session 5 on Activism around Debt Relief                                            

6 p.m.: Dinner: The Interfaith Chef, Ehinger Center Atrium

Sponsored by Drew’s Center for Religion, Culture, and Conflict and several Drew student groups.

To end the day, join Drew community members from several religious traditions for a fun and informative evening of breaking bread and conversation about food justice. Student groups compete in an Iron Chef-style cooking competition and participants learn about Halal and Kosher foods.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Coffee and tea will be provided all day in the Cyber Cafe

8:30 a.m.: Light Breakfast

Paper sessions, Craig Chapel

12:30 p.m: Colloquium lunch, Seminary Hall atrium

Paper sessions, Craig Chapel

6:15 p.m.: Wine and Cheese Reception

Sunday, February 10, 2013 

Coffee and tea will be provided throughout the day in the Cyber Cafe

8:30 a.m.:  Light Breakfast

Paper sessions, Craig Chapel

12:30 p.m.: Colloquium lunch, Seminary Hall atrium

Paper sessions, Craig Chapel

4 p.m.:    Colloquium conclusion