By Jessica Griggs and Sarah Werner for Mennonite Church USA
Elkhart, Ind. (Mennonite Church USA) — Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) has hired a climate justice intern, Sarah Werner, as part of an effort to provide a continual emphasis on creation care. This internship is funded by a Schowalter Foundation charitable funding distribution awarded to MC USA in late 2021. Werner is working with the denominational minister for peace and justice, Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz, through July 2023 to plan the Youth and Young Adult Climate Summit — a one-day event July 7, 2023, immediately following MennoCon23, in Kansas City, Missouri. She has also been tasked with developing climate justice content for the MC USA website, as well as engaging in additional outreach concerning environmental justice.
Werner received an M.Div. from Candler School of Theology at Emory University, in Atlanta and a Ph.D. in religion from the University of Florida, in Gainesville, Florida, where she specialized in religion and ecology. In addition to her work as the climate justice intern, Werner teaches ecotheology and environmental justice courses at Pathways, an online seminary affiliated with the United Church of Christ. She has more than 15 years of environmental education, ecological and theological experience, including five years as the social media coordinator for the Mennonite Creation Care Network. She is an active member of Columbus (Ohio) Mennonite Church, where she serves as a youth sponsor and worship leader. Werner is licensed for educational ministry in the Central District Conference of MC USA.
Stutzman Amstutz said, “The level of expertise that Sarah brings to our climate justice work and her experience in environmental education and theology is a gift to MC USA. Her passion for creation care is evident in her words and in the work she does. Sarah’s passion for working with youth, as well as her work with congregations in the journey of care and advocacy around climate issues, will enhance the planning and implementation of the climate summit.”
On her own time, Werner is also writing a faith-based book that will help teach churches and individuals to engage in environmental justice.
For updates on the Youth and Young Adult Climate Summit and the MennoCon23 convention, visit https://convention.mennoniteusa.org/, and subscribe to MC USA’s weekly email, PeaceMail at mennoniteusa.org/peacemail.
Mennonite Church USA is the largest Mennonite denomination in the United States with 16 conferences, approximately 540 congregations and 56,000 members. An Anabaptist Christian denomination, MC USA is part of Mennonite World Conference, a global faith family that includes churches in 59 countries. It has offices in Elkhart, Indiana, and Newton, Kansas. mennoniteUSA.org mennoniteUSA.org