Mennonite Health JournalArticles on the intersection of faith and health
Maintaining Zeal in the Diaspora
from Mennonite Health Journal, Vol. 17, No. 3 – August 2015
It was a great pleasure to convene in Eastern Pennsylvania with so many old and new friends! Like many of you, I attended multiple gatherings. My week of fellowship began at the Global Youth Summit (GYS), held at Messiah College. Following the Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship (MHF) Annual Gathering at the start of the week, I ended my communal journey at the Mennonite World Conference (MWC) Assembly. Throughout all these meetings, I noted concern for the environment and authentic discussion on how climate change affects the lives of our church family around the world.
I led a workshop at the GYS entitled, “Service en route: the gift of alternative transportation.” Youth from various countries shared about what typical versus alternative transportation looks like from their perspective. We talked about how our use of transportation in our daily living can be mindful of the needs of our neighbors as well as our call to be good stewards of the earth’s resources.
During a workshop for the MHF Annual Gathering, Catherine Thomasson, Executive Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility, challenged us as healthcare providers to own our influence as those responsible for the public’s health. She offered several avenues to extend our influence. Healthcare providers can advocate as citizens on policy change relating to climate topics. We can also inform our patients of the health hazards of greenhouse gases and the destabilizing effects of climate change.
Stan Godshall and I led a roundtable discussion the following day which was full of affirmation for the many personal steps that we have taken to lessen our footprint on the environment and how our faith and position as healthcare providers informs these decisions.
Those who attended the MWC Assembly noted many attempts to be environmentally responsible. Upon arriving, each participant received a hand-made bag consisting of an MCC school kit bag with a repurposed tie as a strap; inside the bag was a metal water bottle for reusable hydration purposes throughout the week. At meal time, all cafeteria plates, dishes, napkins, and eating utensils were compostable with special waste containers provided.
Along with engaging in these communal intentional steps in stewardship and many exciting activities and workshops, I enjoyed facilitating a workshop entitled, “The Effects of Climate Change on Human Health: where do justice, missions, and discipleship fit?” In this workshop, participants reflected on Biblical, scholarly, and scientific perspectives on the connections between climate change and human health. They also shared their perspectives on the links and the steps their families and churches are taking to be intentional about creation care. Representatives from Mennonite Creation Care Network were present to offer a space to stay engaged with a like-minded network.
As we all settle back into our normal routines after a busy summer, let’s keep the conversations going! Let us continue our personal and family efforts for environmental stewardship. As healthcare professionals, let us be intentional in acknowledging the link between climate change and human health. Let us keep alive the work for creation care in our local congregations, our work, and our larger communities.
About the author
Lyubov Slashcheva, DDS graduated in 2016 from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Dentistry in Richmond, Virginia. After completing her undergraduate studies at Eastern Mennonite University in 2011, she interned with the Luke Society in Honduras and Peru for four months in a public health service role. She was a National Health Service Corps Scholar and has engaged in research and service opportunities pertaining to Latino, geriatric and special needs populations. She has received numerous honors for her research and service endeavors and during her student years held leadership positions on the VCU campus, including the Christian Medical and Dental Associations chapter. In the spring of 2016, she moved to Iowa City, Iowa where she is in residency and doing postgraduate training in dental public health. She has also been active in leading worship/ music/ children’s education in her local congregation, and is a committed cyclist for commuting. She enjoys playing the flute, reading, and learning about different cultures. She anticipates four years of public health practice in an underserved setting following her studies.