Mercer to Hold Groundbreaking Conference this Week in Macon, Focusing on Faith, Ethics and the Environment

Statue of Jesse Mercer on the Mercer campus.

MACON – What are the ethical implications of climate change? What can people do to confront and solve this mounting challenge? How can we better care for God’s Creation? Nearly 1,000 Mercer students, faculty and staff, as well as members of the community, will look for answers to those questions this week at Mercer’s conference, titled “Caring for Creation: A Scientific and Theological Response,” Oct. 29-31.

Mercer, in partnership with Harvard Medical School’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, will hold the main conference sessions in Willingham Auditorium. There will be a number of breakout sessions around the campus on Oct. 30 and the conference concludes with a Green Day of Service beginning Saturday morning, Oct. 31, in several locations around Macon. The Service Day includes work on a Green Wall in the College Hill Corridor, projects in the Pleasant Hill Community Garden, home weatherization with Rebuilding Macon and a riverbank clean-up along the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail.

The conference is highlighted by presentations from leading figures in the evangelical, environmental and scientific communities. Among the major speakers for the event are: Dr. David Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics at Mercer; Jonathan Merritt, founder of the Southern Baptist Environment and Climate Initiative; Sharon Astyk, noted author and farmer; Dr. Judith Curry, a professor at Georgia Tech and an expert on climate modeling and climate change; and Dr. Jeremy Hess of the National Center for Environmental Health, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The event begins on Thursday evening, Oct. 29, with the conference’s opening session at 7 p.m. featuring presentations by Dr. Gushee on the “Theology of Creation Care” and Merritt on “Religious Resistance to Creation Care.”

On Friday, the opening plenary session in Willingham Auditorium at 10 a.m. will feature presentations by Dr. Curry and Dr. Hess. Dr. Curry will present “A Changing Climate” and Dr. Hess will give a presentation titled “Climate Change and Human Health.” At 2 p.m., Astyk will present the third and final plenary session, titled “Caring for Creation: Living Sustainably.”

There will be two sessions for breakout presentations, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 3:45 to 4:45 p.m. In total there will be 11 sessions on a range of topics, including nine sessions that will be held during both breakout periods.

About Mercer University
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls more than 8,000 students in 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies – on major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah and at three regional academic centers across the state. Mercer is affiliated with two teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah and the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. The University operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit
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