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Back to Refugia: how to Heal



Calvin College English professor and “Refugia Faith” author Deb Reinstra has lent herself to Lent observations at All Saints’ Episcopal Church at Hoffman and Grant streets, Saugatuck.

Reinstra, who knows woods and waters here through her in-laws’ home on Douglas harbor, will discuss the book’s finding-refuge theme Saturday, March 11, in the historic Carpenter’s Gothic structure from 10 a.m. till noon.

The writer will appear here as part of All Saints’ Lenten “Crossroads of Healing” sessions.

Studies, said Pastor Jay Johnson, are meant to help build community asking “What’s broken? How does it hurt? How can we find hope?”

“These questions,” he said, “pose an agenda for key moments of encounter, when crucial intersections appear most vibrantly among us, when race, class, gender and sexuality all unmistakably collide in the wider world of economic and ecological challenges.

“These are ‘crossroads of healing,’ places and moments when communities can choose to name their wounds and seek new life. After Lent comes Easter, celebrating life’s return.”

We reached Reinstra Friday in New Orleans’ French quarter, where she was part of a 30-member Calvin Institute of Christian Worship-sponsored “Pilgrimage to the South.”

“Mardi Gras just ended. It’s still pretty busy outside,” she said.

“Refugia” is a biological term for a place where biodiversity persists in the face of crisis, nature’s way of re-creation.

“In this era of ecological devastation,” Reinstra asked, “how can Christians become people of refugia? How can we apply all our love and creativity to this task?”

Douglas is cited often. “Interstitial (linking) chapters between seven or eight longer ones describe nature I’ve seen,” Reinstra said. “Species extinction and lament makes a longer chapter.”

Her observations of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi could prove grist for the March 11 talk too. All are welcome, free. The event will be live-streamed on YouTube and Facebook too.

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