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Faith and Nature: episode 2

Whatcom Land Trust is hosting a year-long series called "Faith and Nature." Each episode features representatives from various faith traditions who will dialogue about how their faith intersects and informs their love for/care of nature. Charis, the accompanier/pastor of Echoes has the unique opportunity to be involved as the conversation facilitator. The first installment of this series had a full house, an engaged audience, and built enthusiasm for future episodes!

This particular episode will feature an Evangelical minister and a Muslim. How interesting is that?? Location is Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship.

Upcoming participants include persons from Jewish, Catholic, Lummi, Atheist, and Protestant traditions. Stay tuned for future episodes and dialogue partners (see below for confirmed dates and speakers).

Dialogue partners for Episode 2:

Peter Illyn, Founder of Restoring Eden, Evangelical Minister and Record-Setting Llama Trekker

Although raised Russian Orthodox, Peter served as an evangelical pastor for nine years in Portland, OR and Yakima, WA. As a sabbatical, Peter took two llamas on a four-month, 1,000 mile trek through the Cascades, which set the long-distance record for llama packing.

According to Peter, “I went into the mountains an evangelical minister, but I came out an environmental activist...I am called to be a good steward; to protect the fruitfulness and connectedness of creation.” Peter earned a Master’s degree in social marketing and began to create an alternative framework for Christians to engage nature, compared to the “dominion” theology perpetrated by the far right.

Though an evangelical, Peter also works with Catholics, Orthodox, mainline Protestants, and Jewish leaders.  Peter’s success in reaching the church community with a message of environmental stewardship has been featured on Lehrer Newshour, CBS Evening News, CNN, Outside Magazine, Utne Reader, Charisma, and Christianity Today amongst others. In addition, he has also been interviewed for numerous local newspapers, Christian newspapers, and radio talk shows.

Aneesa Ahad, Educator, Advocate, Friend (Muslim)

Aneesa’s personal jihad (struggle) is to combine past experiences with future hopes in daily doses of wonder, intention, and gratitude.  She believes that the best form of gratitude is caring for what we have before us, and that includes the earth.

Aneesa started her professional life as a computer programmer/software tester in the US Air Force. From there she transitioned to working in the oil industry first as a facility operator intern and then as a technical writer. After five years, while ready for a change, Aneesa volunteered at an orphanage in Goa, India. This resulted in a full change of perspective and life dedication. She is now focused on advocacy for women and children in the areas of self-education and self-determination.

She has two associates degrees and doggedly continues to work towards a bachelors of education degree. Currently, Aneesa works as a nanny while homeschooling her only child, and balancing the joys and sorrows of solo parenthood. She is a member of Veterans For Peace, Chapter 111, and a former board member of the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center.

EPISODE THREE: Thursday, Oct. 20th

Featuring Dr. Joseph Correa (former Jesuit trained in Catholic Theology and comparative religions) and Janet Marino (Activist, former Executive Director of the Whatcom Peace & Justice Center, Atheist)

EPISODE FOUR: Wed., Nov. 16th

Featuring: William L. John, Lummi Elder, Cultural Story-Teller

Earlier Event: September 12
2nd Monday: Worship