I write to you from South Bend, where I have returned from my sabbatical leave and am back teaching at Notre Dame this semester. As I shared during my last update, I spent my sabbatical leave studying the meaning, application, and impact of integral ecology, using Bethany Land Institute as a case study to see how integral ecology is materialized in the world. I look forward to sharing more insights with you as I continue with this project (titled Sowing Hope).
While I was at Bethany Land Institute, we commissioned the first group of Caretakers who fully completed the 2-year residential formation program. They have all returned to villages across Uganda and started their own farms. (If you have not already, please see Notre Dame’s story, “Start Small,” which features the farm of Alice Nanfuka, a recently commissioned Caretaker.)As I told them at their commissioning, they are BLI’s pioneers. We are excited to see how their projects continue to develop. I was also happy to host a small class of Notre Dame students at BLI this summer as well as bring my friends Dave and Mindy Mankowski for their visit to Uganda! See photos below. Two cohorts remain on BLI’s campus (around 30 students in total), along with international interns, staff, and a variety of constant visitors, so it remains a lively and energetic place. I will be returning to BLI next month to engage in site mapping as we continue to look toward our organization’s future.
I also recently was invited to present annual Scherer Lecture at the Catholic Theology Union in Chicago. In this lecture, I discuss BLI and how it is actively engaged in the practice of reconciliation, a practice that is symbolized by the Biblical figures of Mary and Martha. You can watch the full lecture here: https://ctu.zoom.us/rec/share/xweNkLEvXRLqtNickIQeYPSShSQZLuMwe3lMHu6bVTRZOj2TsuBJXvxTChS8Xkt3.Ujdw5bTt0UnHInYR.
Lastly, I am happy to announce that the paperback version of my book, Who Are My People?, is now available. See here: https://undpress.nd.edu/9780268202576/who-are-my-people/. As always, thank you to everyone who made this possible, and I hope to continue to engage in such scholarship, examining my identity and the interplay between Africa (particularly the land and soil on which I grew up) and Christianity.
Please enjoy the photos below. Have a wonderful fall,