Cherice Bock, Ph.D., is a 2024 graduate of the Ph.D. Program in Environmental Studies at Antioch University, New England

Dr. Cherice Bock

Dissertation Committee:

  • Joy Ackerman, PhD, Committee Chair
  • Elizabeth McCann, PhD, Committee Member
  • Laurel Kearns, PhD, Committee Member


contextual theology, critical ecotheology, critical phenomenology, ecologically informed theological education, ecospirituality, environmental care, praxis

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In recent decades, the field of ecotheology has emerged in dialogue with the context of the interconnected environmental and climate crises, particularly relating to the critique of Christianity being used to justify human and resource exploitation. A range of disciplines within the religious academy have taken up these intersecting concerns, together termed “ecologically informed theological education.” Graduate institutions training faith leaders and theological educators have created degree programs and certifications, and/or incorporated awareness of ecology, sustainability, and care for creation into their curricula. A research approach for ecotheology is described through the conceptual framework of critical ecotheology, which acknowledges ecotheology as a form of contextual theology, as well as recognizing every theological context occurs within an ecological setting. The praxis model of contextual theology provides a container for the methodology. Critical phenomenology methodology was used to examine the lived experiences of those past and current graduate students working to put ecotheology into practice in their lives and workplaces. Participants had taken at least three seminary courses related to religion and the environment in one of 14 seminaries in the United States of America. These seminaries had a program, certification, or emphasis related to religion and environment or had incorporated environmental awareness into their core curriculum. Purposeful sampling and snowball sampling were used. Initial semi-structured interviews (N=50) and a follow-up demographic and short answer questionnaire (N=48) provided data about seminary student experiences of programs and courses related to environmental care and what participants are doing with these degrees outside the academy. The types of actions participants had taken that they consider pro-environmental at various levels (personal/household, social network, congregation, public and community, and cultural values/worldview) were collected and described. In-depth phenomenological interviews were conducted (N = 16) to study the phenomenon of putting environmental care into action as an expression of participants’ faith. Findings include use of spiritual disciplines and ecospiritual practices to sustain environmental action. Participants still struggled, however, to connect personal actions to communal or systemic change toward the health and wellbeing of the community of all life. A new theory of an “expansively Christian ecotheology of orthopraxis” emerged from the data. Recommendations are included for theological educators and for those interested in working on environmental topics with people of faith. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA ( and OhioLINK ETD Center (


ORCID No.: 0000-0002-0255-2322


Cherice Bock, PhD (she/her), has taught in higher education at the intersection of religion and environment for over a decade while also filling roles in nonprofit and faith-based organizations with a focus on the environment, sustainability, and climate change. At the completion of her PhD, Bock was teaching at Earlham School of Religion as adjunct professor of spirituality and ecospirituality and working for 350PDX as climate policy manager. Previous roles include teaching in the creation care program at Portland Seminary of George Fox University and leading Oregon Interfaith Power & Light. As a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Bock considers environment and climate issues to be the social justice issue of our time. She works toward a just transition to a sustainable future for the community of all life through environmental and climate justice. Along with her MS and PhD in environmental studies from Antioch University New England, Bock also holds a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary. She lives with her family in Oregon on the land of the Kalapuya. Learn more about Cherice Bock and view a complete list of her publications at

Select Publications:

Bock, Cherice. (2022). A Quaker Ecology: Meditations on the future of Friends. Barclay Press, Inc. Print or digital editions.

Bock, C. (2023). Faith Communities as Hubs for Climate Resilience. In R. Bears (ed.), The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Urban and Regional Futures (pp. 529–536). Springer International Publishing.

Bock, C. (2018). Watershed Discipleship: communicating climate change within a Christian framework, a case study analysis. In Walter Leal Filho, Ulisses Azeiteiro, Evangelos Manolas, and Anabela Mariza Azul (eds.), Handbook of Climate Change Communication, vol. 3: Case Studies in Climate Change Communication (pp. 161–182). Springer International Publishing.

Bock, Cherice. (2016). “Climatologists, Theologians, & Prophets: Toward an Ecotheology of Critical Hope,” Cross Currents 66(1), 8–34.