Walk Justly Conference

october 20-21, 2023

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The (re)inhabit conference is for those leaning into our calling to tend the wellbeing of the earth, our communities, and our own very flesh…and for those wondering how the church can best take on this task.

The (re)inhabit conference will confront the disconnection that many people have with their bodies and with the planet as we consider issues around the domination, control, and oppression of bodies, human and earthly.

The (re)inhabit conference is rooted in ecotheology and embodied theology.

Early Bird Event

Dinner prepared by chef rob connoley | Thursday, OCtober 19 | 6p

James Bead Semifinalist, Chef Rob Connoley of Bulrush STL, will prepare a one-of-a-kind dinner with a special guest chef. Come for a unique and unexpected culinary experience with a collection of dishes from Ozark church cookbooks. All locally sourced and sustainable, this meal is sure to fill your soul and satisfy your pallet. Cost is $50/person and is limited to 50 people.

Featured speakers

Rev Dr Eboni Marshall Turman

Black Womanist Theology as a Launching Point

The launching point of this workshop will be Black and Black womanist theology. In her work, Rev. Dr. Marshall Turman “holds traditions and liberative frameworks in fine methodological tension” (Emilie Townes). With a decidedly womanist point of view, hers stands out as one of very few scholarly millennial voices offering moral perspective on issues facing the Black community. At a time in our history when the Black church and Black lives are once again under constant siege, Dr. Turman has committed her intellectual and ministerial platform to a nuanced exploration of the most marginalized among us.

The Reverend Eboni Marshall Turman, Ph.D. is the associate professor of theology and African American religion at Yale University Divinity School in New Haven, CT. A first-career concert dancer and ordained National Baptist preacher, her research interests span the varieties of twentieth and twenty-first century US theological liberalisms, most especially Black and womanist theological, social ethical, and theo-aesthetic traditions. She co-chairs the Black Theology unit of the American Academy of Religion, serves on the executive committee of the Society for the Study of Black Religion, and is a founding member of the Black Church Collective, Brooklyn, NY. She is also the founder of “Brilliant Black Woman,” a virtual community of thinking women of African descent who are creatively transforming and sustaining the church and the world.


Paganus Christianity: Recovering our Spiritual ties to the Land

Paganus means country, of the land, rustic, rural. In demonizing the earth-based beliefs and practices of Native peoples as “pagan,” beginning in Europe and spreading worldwide, imperial forms of Christianity have cut us off from deep spiritual sensibilities tied to the animating energies of the land. Rooted in an affirmation that Jesus, like so many of the prophets who came before him, was spiritually grounded in intimate relationship with sacred spaces, elements, and creatures, this workshop will invite earth-minded Christians to recover theological beliefs and spiritual practices attuned to the sacred places we inhabit.  

Timothy Reinhold Eberhart is the Robert and Marilyn Degler McClean Associate Professor of Ecological Theology and Practice at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, where he directs the Master of Arts in Public Ministry program and the Center for Ecological Regeneration. Eberhart, who grew up in South Dakota, earned a bachelor of arts in religion from St. Olaf College, master of divinity degree from Vanderbilt Divinity School, and doctor of philosophy from the Graduate School at Vanderbilt University. He has led numerous environmental initiatives at the seminary, including Garrett-Evangelical’s founding role in the Seminary Stewardship Alliance and the completion of a three-year Green Seminary Initiative certification as a Green Seminary. His publications include Rooted and Grounded in Love: Holy Communion for the Whole Creation (Wipf and Stock, 2017), The Economy of Salvation: Essays in Honor of M. Douglas Meeks (Wipf and Stock, 2015), and chapters on mission, ecclesiology, and ecotheology. Eberhart is an ordained elder in the Dakotas Conference of The United Methodist Church, a trained permaculturalist, UMC Earthkeeper, and an Advisory Team member of the UMC Creation Justice Movement. He, his spouse Rebecca, and their three children live in Evanston, IL, where he has been active with Citizens Greener Evanston, Environmental Justice Evanston, and the city’s Equity & Empowerment Commission.      

Chef Connoley

Reparative Restauranting: Can food change the past?

From our opening day we asked ourselves two things – What more can a restaurant do beyond serving great food? And What should fine dining look like today? We didn’t know the answers to those questions in April of 2019, and quite frankly, we didn’t really understand the questions. But, by keeping those questions forefront in everything we have done, increasingly we’re beginning to understand both, or at least we feel like we’re heading in the direction as we explore what it means to be a reparative restaurant.

We believe that opening the doors and putting out good food is the starting point for any restaurant. Community giving is the next level, to show support for the people who keep those doors open. But then what? Can we leave the land that provides our food in better shape? Can we honor the people who formed the food that we now serve and profit from? Can we share what we learn with others to create lasting change? Chef Rob is often heard saying, “I don’t want every restaurant to be a political statement, but I do want every chef to be aware of the impact, good and bad, of their profits.”

And it’s exactly this line of thought that reverberates to the question of what fine dining looks like today. Our egalitarian compensation structure addresses the traditional cook-server pay disparity. Our physical design says that a guest in a wheelchair should have the exact same experience as a guest who walks through the door. And our spirit-free cocktail program says that every guest is coming to celebrate and should be able to do so. We’re far from where we want to be, but we’re constantly exploring these concepts and how they translate into a fine dining experience.

Chef Rob Connoley is Chef and Owner of Bulrush Restaurant in Midtown St Louis. The restaurant focuses on Ozark cuisine using a Reparative Restauranting model that seeks to highlight the role of indigenous people and enslaved individuals in the formation of the region. The restaurant uses this model to give voice to marginalized people, financially support harmed communities, and nurture change in the restaurant industry through mentorship programs. This work has garnered recognition from the James Beard Foundation, the Julia Child Foundation, and numerous national and international media outlets.

Rev. Dr. Niles

Embodying Theology

All theology is an embodied act. This class will focus specifically how embodied realities impact how the theological task is undertaken. By exploring intuition, vision, placement, and space, as a way we know and as a practice of theology. We will focus on how we undertake the theological task with an awareness of our own bodies. Additionally, we will explore how we contextualize our own bodies and the bodies of others and examine our own ways of thinking.

Damayanthi Niles’ writing and research have been focused on constructive and contextual theology. She has taught courses on foundational theology, missiology, and post-colonial thought. She has also served as the research associate of the Christianity in Asia Project at the Centre for Advanced Religious and Theological Studies at Cambridge University, United Kingdom.

A frequent lecturer, Dr. Niles has expertise in Asian theology and missiology. Her areas of interest and teaching include constructive theology, inter-faith, comparative theology, theology and power, contextual theology with a particular interest in Asia, language of theology in a landscape of conflict and violence, and using aesthetics in the teaching of theology.

She has been a member of the General Assembly Committee on Ecumenical Relations (GACER) of the Presbyterian Church USA since 2006 and was Chair of the subcommittee on Interfaith Relationships for GACER 2007-2012.

Her publications include Doing Theology with Humility Generosity and Wonder: A Christian Theology of Pluralism. Minneapolis; Fortress Press, 2020, Worshipping At the Feet of Our Ancestors: Hendrik Kraemer and the Making of Contextual Theology in South Asia, Wein: Lit; UK: Distribution, Global Book Marketing, 2012 and “It’s Time to Dance With Dragons” International Review of Mission, Vol 100.2, No. 393, November 2011.

Bishop Wilson - suit

Sharing Mother Earth

This workshop will include various ways that Indigenous persons and tribal groups are using Indigenous methods to care for communities and to share with one another.  The workshop will include highlighting some of these models that can be utilized in communities and local churches.

Rev. Dr. David M. Wilson has served as resident bishop of the Great Plains Conference of The United Methodist Church since Jan. 1, 2023. Bishop Wilson, a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, holds the distinction of being the first Native American elected to serve as a bishop in the history of The United Methodist Church.

Prior to election, Bishop Wilson served as assistant to the bishop of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference (OIMC), which is comprised of 81 Native American churches in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas.

Bishop Wilson was ordained as an elder in 1995 and served charges in Tahlequah and Norman, Oklahoma. During his term as conference superintendent, he also served as the pastor of Norman First American UMC in Norman, Oklahoma, and during his tenure the church grew and completed their building construction in 2007.

Bishop Wilson often lectures on Native American spirituality in classrooms and for groups across the denomination. In his personal time, he enjoys running and studying history, in particular Native American history. His grandfather, Calvin Wilson, was one of the Choctaw Code-Talkers from World War I.

JT Young

“For You There Are No Strangers:” Albert Schweitzer and the Problem of Ethics in Post-Pandemic America

Claiming nearly 7 million lives, the Covid-19 pandemic thrust humanity into a period of intense reflection on the fragility of life. However, in a time when people were encouraged to care for their fellow human beings by taking the precautions necessary to protect one another, many asked the same question as one of Jesus’ antagonistic opponents in the Gospel of Luke: “and who is my neighbor?” In addition to the virus, though, the United States has long been plagued by another adversary: non-necessity toward the other. By claiming no responsibility for the well-being and care of others, no one – including our friends, family, and loved ones – is considered our neighbor.

In this workshop, we’ll talk about the ethical work of 20th century theologian, philosophy, and physician, Albert Schweitzer, and how he can help us on this front. In his work as a missionary doctor in the Congo, Schweitzer developed an incredibly comprehensive system of ethics, extending not only to humanity, but to animal and non-sentient life as well. In this, Schweitzer emphasizes one’s necessity and responsibility toward all life. This ethical system has the potential of providing us a framework to think through humanity’s obligation to one another in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. By utilizing his language and concepts and applying them to our current situation, an argument can be made for the same reciprocity and mutual care of one another in post-pandemic America.

J.T. Young is a pastor, activist, and theologian living in St. Louis, MO. He is the Ministerial Director of Discipleship and Missions at Concord Trinity UMC and Adjunct Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Lindenwood University. He’s earned a B.A. in Religion from Lindenwood University, Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry in Public Theology at Eden Theological Seminary. His current research focuses on the intersection of critical theory, moral development, and activism in the local church, and he is the author of the forthcoming book “Extremists for Love”: A Theological Introduction the Struggle for Racial Justice, under contract with Wipf and Stock Publishers.

cara arrigo

Cara grew up outside of St. Louis, in a little town along the Meramec River. It was there that she developed a love for the outdoors and a passion for conservation. She achieved her Bachelors of Science from Murray State University in Wildlife Biology & Conservation Education.

Cara started with the Stream Team Program in March of 2022 after working in the St. Louis region as a Natural Resource Assistant for over a year. In her position she delivered public programs on a variety of nature topics and outdoor skills, helped with large events, and assisted with wildlife monitoring. Before starting her career with Stream Team, she worked in the interpretive division of the National Park Service, the Forest Service, and Missouri Department of Natural Resources, where she taught a variety of audiences about streams, caves, and wildlife. While working on her Bachelors, she gained experience as an undergraduate research assistant, analyzing samples of aquatic invertebrates to maintain a long-term dataset of a stream’s water quality. In her current position, her primary responsibilities are assisting Stream Teams in the Southeast region, facilitating Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring, managing the Stash Your Trash program, and working on the Stream Team curriculum.

Cara is also a water enthusiast in her free time; besides rowing, she likes to fish and wakeboard. She also has a dog, Fjord, who is her best friend and comes on all her adventures with her.

Diana K. Rice, RD, LD

Rejecting Diet Culture’s Lies and Building an Environment of Food and Body Trust in Your Home

How can we glorify God in a body that we hate? And did God create us to hate our bodies and distrust our appetites, or are these cultural lies that are actually in opposition to God’s will? In this session, we will explore where the messages that lead us to feel food and body shame really come from and how we can reject these lies and truly honor God with our physical selves. Most importantly, this session will explore just how early our children learn these harmful messages, both from the culture around them as well as well-meaning caregivers in their own homes. Participants will learn how to identify and reject practices that may draw themselves and their children away from God through food and body shame, replacing them with an approach that helps children connect with their bodies and enjoy a healthy relationship with food. We will also explore how this approach not only glorifies God, but ultimately helps us attain our best physical health independent of the number on the scale to support a lifetime of doing God’s great work.

Diana Rice, RD, LD (she/her) is the founder of Tiny Seed Family Nutrition, a counseling and consulting company with the mission of helping families enjoy a healthy relationship with food. In her private practice, she treats both children and adults with conditions including selective eating and ARFID, food fixations, weight concerns, dieting trauma and eating disorders. She studied dietetics at the University of Northern Colorado, completed her dietetic internship with Cedar Crest College and also holds a degree in journalism from New York University. Diana practices from a weight-inclusive lens and is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. She is active on Instagram at @anti.diet.kids, a platform to help parents navigate raising children to reject diet culture and embrace their naturally-born ability to be intuitive eaters. She also hosts a podcast, The Messy Intersection, which speaks to parents seeking to restore their own relationships with food while raising children with the resilience to resist dieting and embrace their natural body sizes.  Diana is based in Edmond, Oklahoma where she lives with her husband and two girls.


Tim Gibbons has been with the Missouri Rural Crisis Center (MRCC) since 2005. MRCC represents independent family farmers, rural families and their communities and citizens concerned with our food supply, our natural resources and democracy. Tim works to organize a large membership base of farm families, rural citizens and other Missourians to challenge the industrialization and corporate control of agriculture and our democratic process. Through MRCC, thousands of rural Missourians have been empowered by increased opportunities to participate in public policy formation and advocate for Missouri independent family farms and rural communities. MRCC’s mission is to preserve family farms, promote stewardship of the land and environmental integrity and strive for economic and social justice by building unity and mutual understanding among diverse groups, both rural and urban.

MRCC Description

The Missouri Rural Crisis Center (MRCC) is a progressive statewide farm and rural membership organization founded in 1985 with over 5,600 member families.  Our mission is to preserve family farms, promote stewardship of the land and environmental integrity and strive for economic and social justice by building unity and mutual understanding among diverse groups, both rural and urban



Farming, Distribution & Access of Food

Most of us have heard the terms like, “farm to table” and “food desert,” but what does that really entail on a local level. This workshop features speakers working on food justice issues that impact growing fresh food, and getting it to the people.

Panel Speakers TBD

walk justly 2023 pricing

SCHOLARSHIPS: If you are a clergy, church leader or seminary student who has insufficient Continuing Education funds to cover the registration fee for this conference, you may request a scholarship by emailing [email protected] for assistance.

Walk Justly sponsorship opportunities

There are different opportunity levels of sponsorship for the upcoming Walk Justly Conference.

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For sponsorship opportunities, or to received more information on spoonsorship, please fill out the form below.

The Walk Justly Conference is an annual gathering of pastors, ministry leaders and congregants who are dedicated to creating change in their local communities. Each year, the Walk Justly Conference will focus on a new topic in order to connect, resource, educate, and empower individuals towards effective, culturally informed, context specific ministries.


This year’s conference will offer a variety of guest speakers of diverse backgrounds and callings. Registration includes the opportunity to attend six workshops, and a schedule will be created that allows each applicant the chance to participate their top six choices!


Twice daily worship experiences will cover all genres, pulling from diverse liturgical resources, shared with the excellence and inspiration that Manchester UMC is known for. Guest preachers include the Rev. Dr. Eboni Marshall Turman & the Rev. Dr. Timothy Eberhart.


Interactive prayer room includes works from diverse artists expanding images for God, Christ and the Holy Ghost beyond the dominant and domineering culture. There are opportunities for breath prayer, mediation, interactive coloring, and napping.


Meals, snacks, and beverages will be provided. We will work to accommodate dietary sensitivities and to keep this conference as green as possible. All participants get a conference bag that includes a t-shirt, pens, handouts, & more!


Pastor's Note

Charles in Charge

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Always Easter People

The day of Pentecost is considered the “birthday of the church” and so it is good to just stop everything and celebrate. Celebration for celebration’s sake is rare. But every so often, celebrating just to cut loose, to “let your hair down,” to just enjoy one another and be present.

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Always Easter People

Your money won’t save you. The church needs to do our work, but more so the church needs your heart. God saves the sick, and the righteous – and that has nothing to do with income. It is bringing people into the community that counts to God – your wealth,

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