Close Menu

Hope for Creation Conference

April 22-23, 2022

Hosted by St. John’s Cathedral, in partnership with the Whitworth Office of Church Engagement, the Gonzaga Center for Climate Society and the Environment, Terrain, and Fig Tree, the Hope for Creation Conference is designed to share a vision of hope for creation; spotlight local caretakers of land, water and air; and renew Spokane's leadership on environmental care.

Expo '74 was the first world's fair dedicated to the environment. It brought the topic of creation care to the world stage and helped shape the consciousness of the Spokane community. As we near the 50th anniversary of Expo '74, now is the time to look back at where we've been, consider carefully what is being done, and develop a road map for the future. Spokane was a leader in creation care then, and that leadership should continue.

All are welcome at this event – civic leaders, nonprofit organizations, faith communities, business people and engaged citizens. All points of view are needed, and the dignity of each person will be respected.

Thank you for joining us! We hope to gather with you all again. Recordings from the conference can be viewed at the link below.


Event Schedule

All events will take place at The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, 127 E. 12th Ave, Spokane, WA 99202.

Friday, April 22
9:15 a.m. Welcome with Heather VanDeventer and Mayor Nadine Woodward
9:30-10:15 a.m. "Creation Care: Bridging Science & Faith" with Jonathan Moo, associate professor of theology at Whitworth University
10:15-10:45 a.m. Biochar with Gloria Flora
10:45-11 a.m. Break
11-11:30 a.m. Adaptation in wheat farming and caring for the land with Aaron Esser
11:30-noon Small logs: utilizing forest fuels creates better projects on the ground with Kurtis Vaagen
Noon-12:30 p.m. Turning waste to resources with Erik Makinson
12:30-1 p.m. Regenerative agriculture & working with nature with Ty Meyer
1-3 p.m. Break for Earth Day March (concurrent event) and lunch
3-4 p.m. Breakout sessions
4-5 p.m. Announcements & Earth Day vigil
Saturday, April 23
8-8:30 a.m. Ecumenical morning prayer
8:30-9 a.m. Sovereignty, Health, Air, Water & Land with Twa-Le Abrahamson of the Spokane Tribe
9-9:45 a.m. Sustaining the 21st Century Forest Carbon Sink with Kelsey Bryant
9:45-10 a.m. Break
10-10:30 a.m. Hopes for environmental leadership with Ali Groza
10:30-11 a.m. Whitworth youth at COP26 with Nate Beine
11 a.m.-noon Breakout sessions
Noon-3:30 p.m. Outdoor fair with showcase of local organizations, music and food trucks (open to the public)
3:30-4:15 p.m. "Spokane's Sustainability Action Plan" with Kara Odegard
4:15-5 p.m. Keynote address: "Expo '74: The Environment Then & Now" with J. William T. Youngs
5-6 p.m. Next steps workshop - provide feedback to local leaders on creation care priorities
6 p.m. Closing reception

Breakout sessions will last one hour and will be split over two days so that individuals are able to participate in two sessions (Friday afternoon and Saturday morning). Sessions include:

  1. Laudato Si
  2. Greening your congregation
  3. Shalom & the community of creation: Native American insights to care for the land
  4. Healthy living under environmental stress
  5. How you can conserve lands
  6. Tree planting in Spokane
  7. Building healthy soil at home
  8. Agrarian lens: Scripture healing all creation
  9. Business practices in a circular economy
  10. Individual responsibility in land care
  11. Interfaith holy days & teachings on creation care (Friday)

Special Events

Spokane Climate March

This concurrent event will take place in downtown Spokane. You can find all the details here >>>

Earth Day Vigil

Organized by Faith Leaders and Leaders of Conscience of Eastern Washington & North Idaho, the vigil will listen to those affected by ecological devastation and connect with others who are active in healing the earth. The vigil will take place at the end of day Friday, 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Juried Art Exhibit

This art exhibit will be on display throughout St. John's Cathedral during the event and until May 2. It features artwork on the theme "sacred care of land and environmental stewardship."

Street Fair Featuring Local Organizations

On April 23, noon-3:30 p.m., this outdoor fair will showcase 30 local organizations, and will offer live music and food trucks. This portion of the event is open to the public.

Interfaith Panel

This panel will take place during the breakout sessions on Friday. It will feature representatives from the Spiriutal Assembly of the Baha'is, the Spokane Buddhist Temple, Disciples of Christ, United Methodist Church, Muslims for Community Action & Support, and members of the local Hindu and Jewish communities. Each panelist will provide perspectives on creation care.

Featured Speakers

J. William T. Youngs, Ph.D. | Keynote Speaker | "Expo '74: The Environment Then & Now"

Youngs is a professor of history at Eastern Washington University, where he teaches two environmentally-themed courses: "History of the American Wilderness" and "History of National Parks." He is a lifetime member of the Sierra Club and author of The Fair and the Falls: Spokane's Expo '74 – Transforming an American Environment, winner of the Washington State Governor's Writer's Award.

Jonathan Moo, Ph.D. | Morning Plenary Speaker | "Creation Care: Bridging Science & Faith"

Moo is the Edward B. Lindaman Endowed Chair and professor of theology at Whitworth University. He holds graduate degrees in both wildlife ecology and biblical studies and teaches and writes in the areas of New Testament, early Judaism, environmental ethics, and science and faith. He is the author of a number of essays and books, most recently the co-authored Creation Care: A Biblical Theology of the Natural World (Zondervan, 2018).

Kara Odegard | Afternoon Speaker | "A Report on the Spokane Sustainability Action Plan"

Odegard is a sustainability research analyst with the Spokane City Council. She works with local and regional stakeholders to develop policy recommendations that address the impacts of climate change and promote environmental sustainability & conservation.


Erik Makinson

Founder and president of Resource Synergy and Terra Preta

Jordan Ryckman

Conservation Associate at Conservation Northwest

Constance Holland

Former Professor of Environmental Policy & Sociology, former Emergency Planner

Nate Beine

Whitworth University Biology & Enviornmental Studies Student

Emily Grant

Medical Student & Board Member at 350 Spokane

Adam Bartholomew, Ph.D.

Episcopal Priest & Adjunct Professor at Gonzaga University

Bruce Howard, M.A.

Senior Director of Environmental Affairs, Avista Corporation

Gloria Flora

Founder of Sustainable Obtainable Solutions & the U.S. Biochar Initiative

Ali Groza

Senior at Lewis & Clark High School, founder of LC Environmental Club and the Green Bluff Harvest Rescue Project

Ty Meyer

Production Ag Manager, Spokane Conservation District; board member, Pacific Northwest Direct Seed Association

Kurtis Vaagen

Vice President of Operations, Vaagen Brothers Lumber

Jessica Zimmerle

Program & Outreach Director, Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power & Light

Aaron Esser

Regional Extension Agronomist, Lincoln-Adams Extension Area, Washington State University

Naghmana Sherazi

Climate Justice Program Director, The Lands Council; DEI Director, Spokane Low Income Housing Consortium

Kelsey Bryant, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Idaho

Todd Meyers

Member, Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Council; Environmental Director, Washington Policy Center

Rev. Kristi Philip

Episcopal Priest, St. John's Cathedral

John Edmondson

Family Ministries Director, Shadle Park Presbyterian Church; Director, Growing Neighbors

Pat Munts

Community Garden Developer & Co-Author of Northwest Gardeners' Handbook; Columnist, Spokesman Review