Words for a Dying World book

Words for a Dying World was published in December 2020 by SCM Press. You can order it here, and through all the usual retailers. You can also read the foreword and introduction to the book here, for free.

Author royalties for this collection are split evenly between contributors. The majority of those royalties have been pooled as a donation to Client Earth, who work globally to defend the rights of people and planet. The other royalties are directly supporting the contributors and communities represented in the book.

A few reviews: 

“These essays from the global church express the grief of many a living descent into hell. But what struck me most, was to see grief without the wallowing in self-pity of “despair narratives” that can mar environmental grief work in privileged Western settings. How is this so? What is distinctive about this book? Partly, it is the community and politically grounded vantage point of many of the contributors from the South. Mainly, it is theological depth. As the editor concludes: “At the end of a book about death I want to talk about resurrection, and not just my own, but the resurrection of all things.” Here is a spiritual vision that descends into hell but sees straight through it. And our task? To birth that vision into immanence. “Thy community come….” These beautiful essays from the global church are liberation theology: a theology that liberates, that flows out from underneath the temple for the healing of the nations.” — Alastair MacIntosh, author of “Soil and Soul”, “Poacher’s Pilgrimage” and “Riders on the Storm

“This is a truly wonderful book. It deserves to be read slowly, prayerfully and with humility, such is the depth and richness that it contains.” — Ruth Valerio, Global Advocacy & Influencing Director, Tearfund

‘Words for a Dying World’ is a must-read but not a comfortable one. It’s voices are highly diverse yet disturbingly consistent, articulating the agony of places and peoples, and wrestling to integrate Christian grief and hope amidst ecological collapse” — Dave Bookless, Director of Theology, A Rocha International

“This book is astonishing. Its beauty comes in the drawing together of a rich tapestry of voices of lament and hope from the global Church; breaking your heart before piecing it back together and pointing the way forward. It is truly heartening to see brothers and sisters from around the world coming together, their voices, with their different cadences and textures and cultures – uniting for the sake of the climate. A book needed for such a time as this, that leads us in the uncomfortable path from death to resurrection.” — Chine McDonald, Head of public engagement, Christian Aid

“How might our grief in the face of climate and ecological catastrophe be gift to us? This haunting collection of essays gives voice to experiences of ecosystem loss from outside of mainstream Western environmental consciousness, and in doing so beautifully demonstrates how the shared experience of grief might be a means of drawing us towards the global webs of solidarity we will surely need if our lives together are to be sustained into the future.” — Robert Song, Durham University, UK

Some long-form reviews: 

John Ray Inititative

Fare Forward

Scottish Episcopal Institute Journal 

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Contributors

Anderson Jeremiah Revd Dr Anderson H. M. Jeremiah is lecturer of World Christianity and Religious Studies in the department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University, UK. He is an Anglican theologian and priest from the Church of South India (an Anglican Province). He currently serves the Church of England in Lancashire, Diocese of Blackburn. Anderson is an elected member of the General Synod. His research interests and publications lay in the lived facet of World Christianity, and its theological and missional engagement with other faith communities and the wider society. Anderson is also deeply passionate about social justice as a Gospel imperative and currently involved in number of inter-religious and peace initiatives. Alongside being an expert in South Asian and West African Christianity, he is also conducting research on diverse ethnic and racial makeup and its implications for Christianity in Britain. Anderson has published widely in the areas of Contextual Theology, Post-colonial theology, Mission and Ecumenical Studies, and Culture and Christianity.

Anupama Ranawana is a writer and theologian based in Oxford. Her work focuses primarily on feminist religious thought and decolonial and critical race theory approaches to religion and global politics.

Archuna Ananthamohan is a young poet, writer and filmmaker. As a mental health campaigner, he frequently speaks at schools and other venues to raise awareness. He is the founder of ItMatters, a non-profit movement that explores mental health using the creative medium. Coming from a Hindu family but growing up in a Christian environment, faith has always played a pivotal role in his life. Archuna believes that Christ continues to inspire his poetry and writing, which he explores using his Instagram. His mantra is ‘to think critically, love radically, the Truth will set you free!’

Azariah France-Williams is a priest, poet, and prophet and ministers in the Diocese of Manchester. He is the author of Ghost Ship: Institutional Racism and the Church of England. Fr Azariah is really from Leeds in West Yorkshire. His accent has faded but there is a northern spirit at play. His parents were part of the Windrush generation so as well as northern grit Fr Azariah has some sunshine in his heritage. As a dyslexic he sees the world a little differently to many and enjoys the power of words to animate and illuminate the world anew.

Bharadhydasan Kannan has assisted research on marginalized communities like Dalits and Tribals of Tamil Nadu, covering their musicology and social life. He comes from a Hindu family and accepted the Lord Jesus at the age of 14. He works under Church Planting missions and welfare programs. Being from an engineering background and witnessing the impact of development projects and industrialization on tribal groups, his focus shifted towards developing an inclusive and sustainable socio-economic growth model. He believes churches in India shy away from discussing ‘identities’ both within themselves and in the secular world. This includes displaced tribal groups, whose homelessness is hardly noticed or discussed in mainstream churches. Part of his work has been to initiate discussion on loss of livelihood, impact of industries on environment and human habitation among church groups and academic circles.

Caleb Gordon is a PhD student at the University of Manchester, writing and researching about theological treatments of aesthetic experience in environmental ethics. Though currently living in the UK, he is originally from Alaska, and Alaska continues to serve as a source of inspiration for his academic and creative projects. Prior to his PhD, Caleb balanced his winter studies by working on commercial fishing boats and on scientific projects for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the University of Alaska, Anchorage. These experiences both deepened his love for wilderness and prompted some of the difficult questions which stimulate his ongoing work.

Christopher Douglas-Huriwai is a priest in the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia currently serving as Canon to the Ordinary and Chaplain to the Archbishop. He is married to Sharlene and together they have a daughter, Te Aomihia. Christopher affiliates to the Ngati Porou, Ngai Te Rangi, Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki, Rongowhakaata, Raukawa, and Maniapoto tribes and has a passion for Indigenous Theology and Liturgy. He is also on the staff of Te Rau Theological College, an indigenous theological college founded in 1882 and located on the east coast of the North Island where he teaches Ministry Formation and lectures in the areas of Liturgics, Cultural Exegesis, and Indigenous Theology.

David Benjamin Blower is a musician, writer and podcaster from Birmingham in the UK. In 2019 he released We Really Existed and We Really Did This, a record of reflections on ecological breakdown. He is part of Nomad Podcast, and has written several books, including Sympathy for Jonah, reflections on terror, humiliation and the politics of enemy-love.

Debo Oluwatuminu is a poet, writer, director, facilitator, collaborator and producer who conceives, writes and collaborates with creatives in the fields of theatre, Film and TV to produce what he calls ‘heart-transforming art’. He is dedicated to finding fresh ways to illustrate how to ‘live’ the Christian message in the world today. He has worked in Israel with Palestinians and Israelis on the British Mandate, which he explored from a Christian perspective. He was the Head Writer, Script Editor and Creative Consultant on EbonyLife TV’s adaptation of Season One of the popular ABC/Disney series Desperate Housewives, called Desperate Housewives Africa, among other projects. He is also involved in the Christian Aid Worship and Theology group, and works with Theologians, Creatives and Academics to create prayer and worship resources for their partners around the world. He serves as the chair of Trustees in his local church and occasionally preaches and teaches God’s word. Debo has an MA in Writing for Performance from Goldsmiths University, London, and an MLitt from St Andrews University, Scotland in ‘The Bible and the Contemporary World’. He is a strong believer in making the values and principles of the kingdom practically relevant both in the ‘Church’ and within contemporary culture. He is associated with the Institute of the Imagination, Theatre and the Arts (IITA), and the African Theatre Association (AfTA), based at Goldsmiths College, London.

Debra Murphy is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at West Virginia Wesleyan College. She is the author of Teaching that Transforms: Worship as the Heart of Christian Education; Happiness, Health, and Beauty: The Christian Life in Everyday Terms; and numerous articles, essays, and book reviews. She is a featured columnist for The Christian Century, where her subject matter has included prayer, poetry, climate collapse, restorative justice, and the teaching life. She is Roman Catholic and a member of the Catholic Committee of Appalachia. Debra also serves on the board of directors of The Ekklesia Project, an ecumenical network of Christians and Christian communities committed to the nonviolent way of Jesus.

Di Rayson is an adjunct research fellow in the Public and Contextual Theology Research Centre at Charles Sturt University, Australia. She is a public theologian who researches ecotheology and ecoethics, influenced by the life and work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. She lectures at several universities and has published on war and ecology, rape culture, Bonhoeffer and Gandhi, and ‘Earthly Christianity’. She has had former careers in community development and public health, working in Papua New Guinea and Australia’s Northern Territory. Di lives on a small farm on Biripi country, surrounded by forests and mountains and not too far from the ocean. Her forthcoming book with Lexington Press is titled Bonhoeffer and Climate Change: Theology and Ethics.

Elia Maggang lives in Kupang City, West Timor, Indonesia. Elia spent his childhood in the coastal areas (Pasir Panjang and Nunbaun Delha) of the city. Swimming in the sea, playing football on the beach, fishing from the shorelines and collecting seafood during low tide with his friends were the daily activities which made him love the sea so much. That experience also helped him to understand the significance of the sea for the poor people and artisanal fishers, and the severe impacts of climate change for the sea and those people. Many of his childhood friends and former neighbours are dependent on the sea for their food and livelihood. Elia is currently writing a PhD on a theological approach to sea conservation in Indonesia. He is a member of Gereja Masehi Injili di Timor (the Protestant Evangelical Church in Timor).

Emma Lietz-Bilecky is currently a fellow at Princeton Theological Seminary’s Farminary. She has an abiding interest in land and seeks to understand how people, landscapes and words about God shape one another. She holds a Master of Theological Studies from Duke Divinity School and a Master of Environmental Management from the Nicholas School of the Environment, where she studied food systems, environmental policy and land loss. She works to heal the personal, collective and ecological wounds of settler colonial Christianity while building soil.

Grace Thomas originally graduated with a degree in nursing and gained an MA in Healthcare Ethics and Law, both from the University of Manchester, UK. She spent time as a researcher, publishing papers in women’s sexual health and scar conditions that predominantly affect black and brown people, before responding to a call for ordination into the Church of England. During her ordination training, as part of an MA in Theology at Chester University, Grace undertook research into female clergy wellbeing, and developed a tool which is now in use by clergy in Manchester Diocese and beyond. Grace is currently serving her curacy in Manchester, and teaches Pastoral Care and Theological Reflection in two local theological colleges. Her interests remain in the fields of wellbeing, feminist theology, the church’s response to the climate crisis, diversity and inclusion, and how these different issues intersect. Grace is an active member of Christian Climate Action and, in the Christmas of 2019, she wrote some climate carols which were sung by groups in the UK and around the world.

Hannah Malcolm is training to be priest in the Church of England and writing a PhD on theology and climate and ecological grief. She is a member of Christian Climate Action and set up their regional Manchester group. She regularly speaks on the Church and climate, and has previously written for Theos Think Tank, Church Times, Radio 4’s Thought for the Day, and Christian Climate Action’s Time to Act, edited by Jeremy Williams.

Holly-Anna Petersen has a degree in biology, a masters in psychology and a Postgraduate Certificate in LI Cognitive Behavioural Interventions. She works as a mental health practitioner in the NHS, treating people with a range of emotional difficulties. Holly is a trustee of Operation Noah, a charity which campaigns on Church–fossil fuel divestment. She is also a founding member of Christian Climate Action, a non-violent direct action group, which works alongside others in the movement such as Extinction Rebellion and Phulbari Solidarity.

Hugh Jones is a parish priest in the City and Diocese of Lincoln where he also serves as Rural Dean and is a Priest Vicar at Lincoln Cathedral. He teaches Philosophy of Religion at Bishop Grosseteste University. Prior to ordination, Hugh studied psychology to doctoral level before joining the home civil service. After a long illness forced him to take early retirement, he developed a freelance career as a musician, music teacher and technical author. He trained for ordination at Ripon College Cuddesdon and was ordained in the Diocese of Lincoln in 2010. He served title in Boston before becoming Vicar of St Nicholas Church in 2014. He is married with two grown up sons.

Isabel Mukonyora is an international scholar of religion whose training began with an undergraduate degree in Theology, followed by a Master of Letters Degree in the History of Religions from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and a Doctor of Philosophy Degree from the Faculty of Theology at Oxford University, UK. She has been teaching at Western Kentucky University since 2014 and is now a Full Professor.

Jon Seals is a conceptual artist, teacher, and curator. He holds an M.A.R. from Yale Divinity School and Yale Institute of Sacred Music and an M.F.A. in Painting from Savannah College of Art and Design. His artistic practice is organized around exploring the ways in which identity relates to memory, loss, and redemption in visual culture. He is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Art and Digital Media at Olivet Nazarene University

Jione Havea is a native pastor (Methodist Church in Tonga) and research fellow in religious studies with Trinity Methodist Theological College (Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand) and with the Public and Contextual Theology research centre (Charles Sturt University, Australia)

Julia Kendal is a storyteller and social justice advocate. She has spent the last ten years engaging and supporting people in making choices which are good for all of creation – people and planet. She currently works for the international development charity, Tearfund, advocating on global issues such as climate change and waste. Julia is a poet and a writer, with a regular column in Clarity magazine. She shares about her own sustainable living journey at Papier-mâché Thoughts. She is regularly called away from her laptop by the sound of a pager as volunteer Lifeboat Crew with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) on the River Thames. You can read more of her writing at https://papiermachethoughts.com or find her on Twitter at @JuliaRKendal.

Kyle Lambelet is Assistant Professor in the Practice of Theology and Ethics at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. He and teaches and researches at the intersection of political theology, religious ethics and social change. His first book ¡Presente! Nonviolent Politics and the Resurrection of the Dead (Georgetown University Press, 2019) explores the moral and political dimensions of nonviolent struggle through an extended case study of the movement to close the School of the Americas. His current research examines the apocalyptic dimensions of talk and action around climate change, and how apocalyptic political theologies can offer resources for pastoral and political engagement in the midst of endings. Lambelet worked for several years in faith rooted organizing for racial and economic justice in the southeast United States. He lived for a season at the Open Door Community, a Catholic Worker community in Atlanta, and worked with the Greensboro Truth and Community Reconciliation project, the first citizen initiated truth and reconciliation process in the United States. He continued his education with an MTS at Vanderbilt University Divinity School and a PhD in the joint degree program in Theology and Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Leigh Kern is a printmaker, musician, artist, priest, and prison chaplain based in Toronto and the current territories of the Anishnawbe Nation and Haudenosaunee Confederacy. The cover art of this book is titled ‘our love is like mountains’ and was created in support of the protectors of Mauna Kea. The second block print featured in this publication is titled ‘offering’. Kern’s work is based on ritual, community, contemplation, and action.

Maggi Dawn The Revd Professor Maggi Dawn (MA, PhD, Cantab) is a songwriter, theologian and author. She is currently Professor of Theology at Durham University (UK), having previously taught at Yale University (USA) and the University of Cambridge (UK). Her first career was in the music business, as a singer, musician and songwriter, and she later turned these gifts to writing hymns and songs for Christian worship.

María Alejandra Andrade Vinueza is an Ecuadorian Sociologist and Theologian, with interest in issues related to faith, spirituality, decoloniality and justice. She works for Tearfund as the Theology and Network Engagement Lead, promoting a global theological thinking and supporting the mobilization of Christian communities to alleviate poverty, stop the degradation of the environment and promote justice. She has the privilege of discovering life together with her husband, Frank, and with her two children, José and Mati.

Miles Giljam and Peter Fox live in Cape Town, South Africa. Peter is a minister with the Uniting Presbyterian Church; a grief counsellor and author. Miles Giljam works in Public Affairs for Tearfund and SACLI. Their article is written in their personal capacities.

Nangula Eva-Liisa Kathindi is an Anglican Priest in the Diocese of Namibia. She lives in Oshakati, northern Namibia. Her experience includes working among Church youth after she had finished my studies in Sociology and Theology in the United States of America. When Namibians were preparing to receive those who were in exile for the purpose of liberating the country, she mobilized church women to prepare the reception of returnees from exile in 1989. She was one of the first two women who were ordained priests in the Anglican Diocese of Namibia in 1994. In 1997 I served as parish priest. She served as a member of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches for two separate terms of 7 years (1991–1998 and 2006–2013) representing the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. Between 1999 and 2005 she served as first woman general secretary of the Council of Churches in Namibia. In 2006 she was appointed first woman Dean of St George’s Cathedral in Windhoek. From 2007 to 2008 she served as Provincial Executive Officer of the Archbishop of Cape Town in Cape Town, RSA. From 2011 to 2017 she served as first woman Chief Chaplain of the Namibian Defence Force. Currently she supervises six parishes in northern Namibia and coordinating a Diocesan School for Ministries guiding people to discern their vocation to ministry.

Oana Sanziana Marian is a Romanian-born, US-raised artist and writer currently pursuing a PhD in theology from Trinity College Dublin. She is a co-founder of the Active Hope Network, a community that aims to bridge political activism, spirituality and collective thriving.

Panu Pihkala is an expert in eco-anxiety and Lutheran Pastor. He researches the subject in the University of Helsinki, leads practical workshops on the theme, develops educational materials, and writes popular books. Pihkala is an adjunct professor (Title of Docent) of environmental theology in the Faculty of Theology at the University of Helsinki and a postdoctoral researcher in the HELSUS Sustainability Science Institute. Pihkala’s dissertation (2014) rediscovered various forms of Christian ecotheology from the first half of the twentieth century, including theological work from the British Isles. Currently, Pihkala is the leading Finnish expert in interdisciplinary research about eco-anxiety and climate anxiety. Pihkala’s pioneering monograph on the subject (‘Päin helvettiä? Ympäristöahdistus ja toivo – Eco-anxiety and Hope’) was published in Finnish in October 2017 and has raised much public discussion in Finland. Pihkala’s latest book is a 300-page popular handbook of ‘ecological emotions’ (‘Mieli maassa? Ympäristötunteet’). Pihkala has been an active public intellectual in Finland, giving over 50 interviews a year during the last years. He often co-operates with artists and educators. Pihkala was awarded the National Prize for Adult Education (Sivistyspalkinto) in 2018 by The Finnish Lifelong Learning Foundation (Kansanvalistusseura) for his work related to eco-anxiety.

Pilar Vicentelo Euribe is an agronomist engineer, graduated from the National Agrarian University, La Molina, with more than 20 years of trajectory linked to sustainable development processes from small agriculture and educational institutions. Her work has been linked mainly to different organizations for civil society, as well as national and international networks for climate change. Currently, she is head of the Christian development organization Vida Abundante, which has more than ten years of experience and has won the first Environmental National Prize, given in the context of the COP 20.

Seoyoung Kim is a PhD student supervised by Professor Peter Scott at the University of Manchester, UK. Her research focuses on a theology of water in response to the context of a global water crisis. Seoyoung is an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK).

Sophia Chirongoma is an African woman who is passionate about writing and publishing on the interconnections between Earth justice and the current ecological crisis bedevilling the subaltern in the Third World with special reference to her home country, Zimbabwe. Although she is a Christian and draws most of her theological reflections from the Bible and Christian tradition, some of her theological resources are drawn from the African indigenous knowledge systems and traditions, particularly the Karanga-Shona worldview in Zimbabwe which is her cultural heritage. Currently, she is serving as a senior lecturer in the Religious Studies Department at Midlands State University, Zimbabwe. She is also an Academic Associate/Research Fellow at the Research Institute for Theology and Religion (RITR) in the College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa (UNISA).

Tim Gordon is a marine biologist at the University of Exeter and the Australian Institute of Marine Science. His research focuses on the impacts of climate change on tropical coral reefs. Working on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, he has recorded some of the most severe environmental destruction in human history, but still aims to find ways to protect marine life and all that it provides for people. He regularly discusses his work in schools, churches, conferences and the media, with audiences ranging from primary school children to prime ministers. He believes that combining science and faith can help us marvel at the natural world and learn to live sustainability as part of creation. In 2018, Tim was named as the Society of Experimental Biology’s Young Scientist of the Year.

Tim Middleton first trained as a scientist, completing a PhD in Earth Sciences at the University of Oxford. His scientific work examined earthquakes at the margins of the Ordos Plateau in northern China, and he was previously a stipendiary lecturer in Earth Sciences at St Anne’s College, Oxford. Currently, Tim is a doctoral student in Theology – also in Oxford – where his research focuses on intersections between ecotheology, trauma studies, and contemporary philosophy. He is especially interested in how the category of trauma, and our theological responses to it, might help us to register the severity of contemporary ecological devastation. Within Oxford, Tim is a member of both the Laudato Si’ Research Institute and an interdisciplinary network that is investigating Climate Crisis Thinking in the Humanities and Social Sciences. He also sits on the editorial board of the Journal of the Oxford Graduate Theological Society. Since 2018, Tim has been the Communications Officer at the William Temple Foundation – a think tank working on the role of religion and belief in public life. He is also an Associate of the Faraday Institute of Science and Religion and regularly leads workshops in schools as part of the God and the Big Bang project.

Victoria Marie is an African American/Canadian woman, priest, poet, Indigenous rights and climate justice advocate, and author of Transforming Addiction: the role of spirituality in learning recovery from addictions. She serves the Our Lady of Guadalupe Tonantzin faith community in Vancouver that practices a renewed and inclusive Roman Catholic tradition where all are welcome. On 18 May 2018, she was arrested and sentenced to 120 hours community service for violating the injunction against peaceful protest within five meters of the Kinder Morgan Tank Farm on Burnaby Mountain, currently the Trans Mountain Tank Farm. Unintimidated, on the second Saturday of every month, she joins an interdenominational group on Burnaby Mountain to pray for climate justice, especially the cessation of pipeline construction for transporting fossil fuels. http://victoria-marie.blogspot.com.