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Debra Rienstra

Professor / Author
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Speaking Schedule

Fall 2022

  • Author Event. Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan. September 22, 2022.
  • “Living by Refugia Faith.” Preaching and Adult Education Hour. Douglas UCC, Douglas, Michigan. September 18, 2022

Summer 2022

  • “Refugia Faith: Seeking Hidden Shelters, Ordinary Wonders, and the Healing of the Earth.” Featured speaker, January Series in July. Calvin University, Grand Rapids, Michigan. July 27, 2022. https://vimeo.com/731070757/909b035d6d
  • “Christians and Climate Change.” Featured Presenter, AuSable Institute Climate Day. AuSable Institute, Mancelona, Michigan. July 26, 2022.
  • “Sustaining Church: Reimagining Communities of Faith in a Climate Crisis.” Hazelnut Farm online conference, Bristol, UK. July 13-14, 2022. Session presenter.
  • Refugia and Resilience: Sanctuaries for our Spirit, Climate and Creation. Creation Justice Ministries online webinar. June 30, 2022. Featured speaker.

Spring 2022

  • “The Church and Climate Change.” Reformed Journal webinar. April 28, 2022. Presenter and moderator of conversation with Kyle Meyaard-Schaap, Tim Van Deelen, and Andrew Oppong.
  • Gary Alan Taylor and Kelly Rose Lamb, hosts. “ReWilding and Refugia: Healing Our Sacred Earth with Dr. Debra Rienstra.” Holy Heretics Podcast Episode 49, Sophia Society, 19 April 2022. https://www.sophiasociety.org/podcast/rewilding-refugia-healing-our-sacred-earth
  • Peter Enns and Jared Byas, hosts. “Eco-theology: Beyond Stewardship,” The Bible for Normal People Podcast, Episode 201, 11 April 2022. https://peteenns.com/episode-201-debra-rienstra-eco-theology/
  • Better Together Faith Formation Conference, Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, Washington. March 12, 2022. Leading breakout session and roundtable conversation.
  • Second Christian Reformed Church adult education hour speaker. March 13, 2022. Grand Haven, Michigan.
  • Calvin Academy of Lifelong Learning course on Refugia Faith. March 15, 22, 29, and April 5. Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  • Book release event. Calvin University, Grand Rapids, Michigan. March 16, 2022.
  • “Refugia Faith.” Adult Education Hour. First Presbyterian Church, Oak Ridge, Tennessee Michigan. April 10, 2022.
  • “Beyond Stewardship.” Adult Education Hour. Eastern Ave. Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan. April 10, 2022.
  • “Living by Refugia Faith.” Preaching and Adult Education Hour. Peace Lutheran Church, Waunakee, Wisconsin. March 20, 2022.
  • Jim Stump, host. “The Discipline of Hope.” Language of God Podcast Episode 108, Biologos, 10 March, 2022. https://biologos.org/podcast-episodes/debra-rienstra-the-discipline-of-hope

Fall 2021

  • “Refugia Faith: Adapting Spiritual Practice for a World in Crisis.” Breakout session presentation, Biologos Creation Care Summit. October 9, 2021. Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  • “Trust and Tribal Epistemologies: A Case Study.” Featured speaker, BYU Humanities Center Symposium on Belief. September 25-26, 2021. Provo, Utah.
  • “Praying the Psalms.” Featured speaker, The Faith We Sing Symposium (convening of Methodist worship leaders from Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines). September 11, 2021. Singapore/Online.

Spring 2021

About

I am a writer and professor. For my day job, I teach early British literature and creative writing at Calvin University, where I have been on the faculty since 1996. I still need to pedal fast to keep (mostly) ahead of smart, feisty undergraduates.

These days, most of my scholarly work and speaking engagements connect faith with the urgent global task of mitigating climate change and building resilience. I have also spoken frequently on language in worship. My scholarly work in British literature focuses on early modern Psalms and religious poetry, especially poetry by George Herbert.

I was raised in the Reformed Christian tradition by Dutch immigrants who traced their religious heritage back to the Reformation. I was taught to combine love for God with the life of the mind and a sense of humor.

I’m also an amateur musician (viola), science fiction fan, and the mother of three adult children. I am married to Rev. Dr. Ron Rienstra, professor of preaching and worship arts and director of worship life at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan.

I have published four books, hundreds of essays for The Twelve blog of The Reformed Journal, and numerous articles, poems, and reviews in popular and scholarly contexts. I have a B.A. from the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Rutgers University.

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