Monica Whitaker, 2nd-year M.Div. Student, is Named a National GreenFaith Fellow

BERKELEY, Calif., Dec 04, 2012 -- GreenFaith announced today that Monica Whitaker, seminarian at Church Divinity School of the Pacific, has been named a GreenFaith Fellow and will join the 2013 Class of the GreenFaith Fellowship Program. The Fellowship Program is the only US comprehensive education and training program to prepare lay and ordained leaders from diverse religious traditions for environmental leadership. “We’re thrilled to welcome Monica Whitaker to the Program,” said Rev. Fletcher Harper, GreenFaith’s Executive Director. “We look forward to working with her to support her growth as a religious-environmental leader.”

Through three residential retreats, monthly webinars, and extensive reading, Ms. Whitaker will receive education and training in eco-theology, “greening” the operation of institutions, environmental advocacy, and environmental justice. Each Fellow writes their own eco-theological statement and carries out a leadership project in their community, mobilizing religious leaders in relation to an environmental issue. Upon graduating, they will join the Fellowship’s alumni/ae network and mentor other emerging leaders in this field.

 Whitaker is in her second year of studies in the Master of Divinity degree program at Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California. Prior to moving to Berkeley, Whitaker was active in various lay ministries for more than two decades in the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande where she is a Postulant for Holy Orders. While living in New Mexico, Whitaker was involved with New Mexico Interfaith Power & Light as a volunteer, presenter, worship leader, and legislative advocate. She currently serves as seminarian at St. John’s Episcopal Church–Oakland, a parish which has a strong reputation for environmental stewardship. “I am excited about developing effective leadership skills that empower congregations to be advocates for Creation care. As a religious leader I look forward to collaborating with my faith community on environmental stewardship activities, and exploring faithful responses to climate change.”

Whitaker will join a class of 21 Fellows from diverse religious backgrounds. The Fellows represent over ten religious denominations, including Roman Catholic, mainline Protestant, Evangelical, Hindu and Unitarian Universalist. Additional Fellows from previous classes are from the Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist communities. Fellows work in a wide variety of settings, including congregations, universities, campus ministries, NGO’s, and denominational organizations.

GreenFaith’s Executive Director, The Rev. Fletcher Harper, directs the Program, with support from a multi-faith and multi-disciplinary faculty. “This program will offer these leaders the opportunity to become well-trained leaders in religious environmentalism,” said Harper. “They will help create an environmentally just and sustainable world.”

GreenFaith is an interfaith environmental coalition whose mission is to educate and mobilize diverse religious communities for environmental leadership. Founded in 1992, GreenFaith is a leader in the fast-growing religious-environmental movement and has won national and international recognition for its work. For more information, see www.greenfaith.org.

GreenFaith is grateful to the Kendeda Sustainability Fund for support for the Fellowship Program. For more information, visit www.greenfaith.org.

© 2012 Church Divinity School of the Pacific