Scholar-Activist Encounter: Discussion of Healing Haunted Histories with Sweetwater Cultural Center

Scholar-Activist Encounters

July 15, 2021, 7:30pm Eastern Time

How do activism and scholarship contribute to our understanding of Scripture in the world today?

On July 15, 2021, CLBSJ will welcome Elaine Enns and Ched Myers for a discussion of their newest book, Healing Haunted Histories: A Settler Discipleship of Decolonization. They will be joined by Maria De Freece Lawrence (Lenape) and Gretchen Thies Brokaw (Shinnecock), founding members of the Sweetwater Cultural Center, an indigenous-led organization that is featured in Ched and Elaine’s book as an example of indigenous-settler solidarity.

Healing Haunted Histories is part of CLBSJ’s imprint at Wipf & Stock Publishers. This event is co-sponsored by Sweetwater Cultural Center and the Community of Living Traditions.

About the Book

Part memoir; part social, historical, and theological analysis; and part practical workbook, Healing Haunted Histories invites settler Christians (and other people of faith) into a discipleship of decolonization. How are our histories, landscapes, and communities haunted by continuing Indigenous dispossession? How do we transform our colonizing self-perceptions, lifeways, and structures? And how might we practice restorative solidarity with Indigenous communities today? The authors write as, and for, settlers on this journey, looking at issues of Indigenous justice and settler “response-ability” through the lens of Elaine’s Mennonite family narrative, from Ukrainian steppes to Canadian prairies to California chaparral. They examine her forebearers’ immigrant travails and trauma, settler unknowing and complicity, and traditions of resilience and conscience. And they invite readers to do the same. Read more:

About the Speakers

Gretchen Thies Brokaw, currently in Hospitality Services for the re-emerging Stony Point Center and Botsford Briar B&B in Beacon, NY, joined the Sweetwater Cultural Center at its inception. A grand-daughter of New Jersey colonial farmers, she was raised by her Presbyterian Preacher dad and the Shinnecock tribal mothers in Eastern Long Island to honor the experiences of her ancestors and bring forth social and environmental justice for those yet to come. After a career in corporate global IT services and information Safety and Security, Gretchen moved into community building activities with and through local faith-based organizations, and reconnected with Presbyterian practices in Putnam and Dutchess Counties, NY. Traveling the local native PowWow circuit this century has strengthened Gretchen’s relationship with our ancestors and Creator called her to Sweetwater in 2019 as both a Hudson River Presbytery representative and a Shinnecock tribal member.

Dr. Maria De Freece Lawrence is a member of the Ramapough Lenape Nation and a founding Board Member of the Sweetwater Cultural Center. She is a Professor and Coordinator for Elementary Science Education at Rhode Island College. Her teaching and research focuses on inquiry science education, instructional technology and multicultural curriculum and pedagogy. A Fulbright Scholar, she often consults on grant development and programs supporting Indigenous/Native sovereignty.

Elaine Enns has worked across the restorative justice field since 1989, from facilitating victim-offender dialogue in the Criminal Justice System to addressing historical violations and intergenerational trauma. With a DMin from St. Andrews College Saskatoon, she trains and teaches throughout North America, and with her partner Ched published the two-volume Ambassadors of Reconciliation: A New Testament Theology and Diverse Christian Practices of Restorative Justice and Peacemaking (Orbis Books, 2009). They codirect Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries (

Ched Myers is an activist theologian and New Testament expositor working with peace and justice issues. A founding board member of CLBSJ and currently a member of its Advisory Committee, he is a popular educator, animating scripture and literacy in historic and current social change movements. Myers has published over a hundred articles and eight books, including Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark’s Story of Jesus (Orbis, 1988). He and Elaine are ecumenical Mennonites based in the Ventura River Watershed of southern California in traditional Chumash territory.

The Center and Library for the Bible and Social Justice invites you to join us for an interactive dialogue exploring the interfaces between scholarship and activism. How do these ways of being contribute to our understanding of Scripture in the world today? Let’s come together to learn from each other. Most events take place on the third Thursday of the month at 4:30pm Pacific Time / 7:30pm Eastern Time. We do not meet every month, and occasionally meet on a different night.

See the full schedule of the Scholar-Activist Encounter series. For questions, email

This series is co-sponsored by the Community of Living Traditions.