Douglas Day Kaufman, who will be granted his Master of Theology degree on Saturday, November 14, was drawn to study at St. Michael’s Faculty of Theology because his interest in ecotheology.
“I came because of The Elliott Allen Institute for Theology and Ecology (EAITE) as a way to have a deeper understanding for articulating a Christian approach to environmentalism,” Kaufman says. “When I met Dr. Dennis Patrick O’Hara, I knew he would be an excellent guide for me and so he proved to be.”
As he reflects on his time at the Faculty, several things resonate: the weekly worship, the diverse community, the beautiful University of Toronto campus with its multiple libraries and the opportunity to grab a fast bite, often from another culture’s cuisine.
When asked what he will take away from his studies, he cites a quote from Thomas Berry, whose work in ecotheologian who inspired the EAITE: “ ‘We must say of the universe that it is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects.’ I experience that communion and community in my daily walks in the woods near my home, and that helps empower my ongoing activism for the sake of creation.”
Now, Kaufman looks forward to employing what he has learned in his role as Director of Pastoral Ecology at the Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions, a partnership in Goshen, Indiana, encouraging Anabaptists/Mennonites to see climate change as the moral equivalent of war. A pastor himself, at Benton Mennonite Church in Goshen, he lead retreats at the centre on climate change for Anabaptist pastors and leaders.
“ I consider it a privilege to have been part of an elite institution like the University of Toronto and St. Mike’s,” he says. “There are so many resources and yet it did not feel elite to me. The library staff, for example, was so amazing to graduate students. I treasure my time there.”
Visit the Faculty of Theology’s Fall Convocation 2020 page to learn more about this year’s graduates and to celebrate their unique achievement.