Donna Cheesebrough, felt a calling to pursue a theological degree. She was drawn to Seattle University because of the Jesuit tradition and ecumenical approach the School of Theology and Ministry offered with its degree programs. She chose to pursue a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies degree and embark on a journey to fulfill her calling.
One class that has resonated with Cheesebrough within the Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies degree program, was the “Theology in an Ecumenical Context” course, taught by the Associate Dean of Ecumenical & Interreligious Dialogue and Associate Professor of Theological Ethics & Constructive Theology, Dr. Michael Reid Trice. The course is designed to increase ecclesiological awareness and theological fluency in the reality of the Christian faith, and the Church families associated with it, while reflecting critically on this faith in light of current challenges in the world.
Cheesebrough elaborates, “Dr. Trice selected texts and readings were very thought provoking and provided a wide range of perspectives that caused me to reflect on not just the writers’ theologies, but my own.”
In her final assignment for the class, Cheesebrough was asked to offer a composed a response to a constructive theological position—in response to how the Church is responding to one of several key challenges in the world today. Cheesebrough explains, “I selected Care for Creation from a number of potential challenges because it is something near and dear to my heart. The assignment was particularly interesting because it asked us to discuss the responses from the various Christian churches and identify how their specific theologies informed their response.” She wrote a paper entitled, “Care for Creation – A Historical Perspective and Path Forward,” which was published in the June 2017 issue of “Ecumenical Trends” journal.
The paper attempts to provide a brief overview of the positions and actions taken by various Christian faiths and their evolution over the past 50 years from an “Ecology Awareness Phase” starting with the first Earth Day in 1970 to a “Social Justice Phase” beginning around 2000. In it, Cheesebrough drew out points of convergence across Christian faiths as well as several non-Christian religions, and proposes some steps which can provide hope for a shared eco-theology than can lead us to a way forward.
Click below to download a PDF of “Care for Creation – A Historical Perspective and Path Forward.”
For more information on the Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies degree click here.