2014 CARR SCHOLARSHIP in SCIENCE & RELIGION AWARDED to TALLESSYN Z. GRENFELL-LEE
Tallessyn Zawn Grenfell-Lee comes from a long line of Methodist ministers, both women and men. She earned her BS in biology at MIT and her M.A. in biology at Harvard University before earning her M.Div at BUSTH. At that time, she was particularly inspired by the teachings and writings of James Nash, especially his book Loving Nature: Ecological Integrity and Christian Responsibility. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a specialization in ethics and decided to pursue a doctoral degree in social and ecological ethics.
She is currently working on her dissertation, “Creation, Food, and Ecological Ethics: The Garden as Mediation.” She has observed that when churches cultivate vegetable gardens, their communities are strengthened for greater commitment to eco-justice mission and discipleship. Cultivating a sacred relationship with the “The Garden of God” can overcome our alienation from nature and from one another.
Grenfell-Lee's dissertation explores a basic ethical problem: we the people of God know we are called to do better; so what are the impediments to a virtuous and holy life? To address this challenge, John Wesley advocated the continual, communal cultivation of holy habits in our daily lives. These habits include the virtues of frugality, fruitfulness, efficiency, empathy, and the balancing of over-consumption with under-consumption. After finishing her dissertation, Grenfell-Lee plans to continue exploring and teaching the intersection of eco-feminism and eco-justice with concepts of fear, trauma, empathy, and empowerment.