Center for Religion and Environment names new assistant director

Posted Feb 2, 2015

ens_020215_andrewThompson[Sewanee: The University of the South press release] The Center for Religion and Environment (CRE) has named School of Theology faculty member Dr. Andrew R. H. Thompson as its new assistant director. An environmental ethicist, Thompson was added to the faculty in 2014 as a post-doctoral fellow to expand the School’s commitment to this critical area. In 2013, the School began to offer an M.A concentration in religion and the environment.

“Religion and ecology is an exciting and critical field. Religious commitments and communities will play an important role in any forthcoming solutions to current ecological crises. I can’t imagine a more appropriate, or frankly a more enjoyable, place to be engaging with these issues than in Sewanee.”

Thompson’s book, All My Holy Mountain: A Christian Ethical Approach to Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining, will be published later this year by the University Press of Kentucky.

Thompson is currently co-teaching a course on the ethics of climate change with NASA climatologist Dr. Michael Coffey as part of the M.A. concentration. Coffey will present some of the fundamentals of the Earth’s climate system before addressing how that system is changing and what is driving those changes. Thompson will lead discussions about the difficult moral challenges raised by climate change and the potential ethical responses to those challenges.

“Andrew’s contributions to ethics as it pertains to the environment are important as we expand our academic offerings in this arena,” explains the Rt. Rev. J. Neil Alexander, dean of The School of Theology. “As an Episcopal seminary with access to a distinguished interdisciplinary environmental studies program, an active Center for Religion and Environment that spans the University curriculum, and a 13,000-acre domain rich with lakes, forests, and 50 miles of trails, The School of Theology offers an unparalleled opportunity to study for a graduate degree in the field of religion and ecology.”

Additionally, CRE is relocating its office to The School of Theology, on the first floor of Hamilton Hall. This location better reflects CRE’s role as a link between The School of Theology and other University programs related to environmental concerns.

The Center for Religion and Environment‘s (CRE) threefold mission is to help students of the University of the South and the broader community integrate religious belief with care for the environment, to prepare students across the curriculum for environmentally conscientious work and ministry, and to serve as a focal point for University-wide initiatives related to religion and the environment. Robin Gottfried, professor of economics, emeritus, serves as the executive director of the CRE.

Sewanee: The University of the South comprises a nationally recognized College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, a School of Letters, and a distinguished School of Theology (seminary and The Beecken Center) serving The Episcopal Church. Located on 13,000 acres atop Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau, Sewanee enrolls 1,550 undergraduates and approximately 170 seminarians in master’s and doctoral programs annually. Sewanee is owned by 28 Episcopal dioceses, the only university so directly related to The Episcopal Church.