Conversation Circles: Earth and Climate Chaplaincy

Meet the Participants

Tom Kircher

Tom Kircher is an Interfaith Minister ordained through the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine (ChIME) and a Board Certified Clinical Chaplain. He has worked as chaplain in a variety of settings, including transitional housing for veterans, residential programs for those living with mental illnesses, senior residential housing, and hospital chaplaincy. He currently works in the port area of Portland, Maine with Seafarers' Friend. Seafarers Friend is a small non-profit organization which extends the ministry of the churches to meet the unmet spiritual, social and emotional needs in the New England Maritime Community.

Mary Colleen Sinnot

Greetings! My name is Mary Colleen and I have been so blessed by many guides who have led me to this intersection of Earth, climate and chaplaincy at this moment, a pivotal moment in Creation. To name but a few… My dad, Shamus was a classic ‘Druid’ of sorts, imparting the spirited love of land, music (Oran Mor), poetry, dance, story and simplicity deep in my soul. My uncle was a Franciscan who supported Liberation Theology and spent his life in the Amazon River Basin protecting the land and its people from the invading users/abusers. Jerry Berrigan, a lifelong activist (brother of Dan and Phil) was my spiritual mentor who called me to walk a path of justice for all of Creation. Their legacies have become my compost as I continue to grow and weave these blessings into a way of life that celebrates what I like to call, “Elemental Kinning… Being One With all of Creation”. I have lived in a small trailer on a Sufi retreat, raised 3 children by ‘living off the land’ on a small ‘farm’, spent time in a yurt deep in the woods and been connected to the amazing Church of the Woods in NH, where I have been blessed by its founder, Rev Steve Blackmer, another dear friend and mentor (and an awesome presenter as well!) My responsive work that has risen from these experiences has included 5 Element massage therapy, leading Eco-spirituality workshops, teaching, justice work, campus ministry and chaplaincy. I am deeply grateful to join now with kindred spirits on the path of ‘Interbeing-ness ‘ (TNH)!

Cam McCartin

Cam McCartin (they/he) is a 1st year Master of Divinity student at Harvard Divinity School, where they study intersections of Buddhism and ecology. Cam is in the process of articulating a practical Buddhist eco-theology that would inform a spiritual caregiving of the earth and its inhabitants amidst material and spiritual catastrophe. Cam graduated from Brown University in 2020 in the Contemplative Studies Program, where they had the great joy to pursue study of Buddhist poetry and textual criticism of early Daoist texts. After the pandemic began, Cam worked a couple growing seasons as an apprentice on a vegetable farm in northern Oregon, then as an apprentice at Green Gulch Farm and Zen Center. Cam has an abiding interest in translation studies of Buddhist texts (Pali and Chinese), as well as regenerative agriculture and food justice. Cam dreams of one day founding a lay Buddhist farm cooperative and farm apprenticeship program in service of the AAPI community that models the social liberatory praxis of SoulFire Farm and the Zen approach to spiritual liberation of Green Gulch. Cam enjoys playing casual chess, writing occasional poetry, and baking gluten-free bread. 

Erika Dekker 

I (she/her) am a board-certified chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains and I’ve been a staff chaplain in hospital and long term care & rehab settings for 23 years. I was raised in the Christian tradition, with which I continue to identify, and am currently an ordained pastor in the Christian Reformed Church in North America.

I grew up in the USA, Latin America (Costa Rica, Guatemala and Venezuela) and Canada and currently live in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which occupies the ancestral, traditional and contemporary lands of the Anishinaabeg – the Three Fires Council of Ojibwe, Odawa and Potawatomi peoples. My immediate family includes my husband, Tim, and our three nearly grown children: 21 year old twins, Lucas and Ella, and 17 year old son, Caleb, along with Janner, our elderly black lab mix rescue.

I love to read and doodle, cook delicious, wholesome meals and create cocktails, entertain friends and visit family. One of my current passions is transforming my city yard into a mini ecosystem that welcomes and sustains plant and animal native species.

I have a heart for the world, which encompasses humans and more-than-human beings and their many, shared and diverse environments. Since I was young, the natural world has been a source of joy and delight, as well as a respite and place of healing. I experience the current climate crisis/catastrophe in my bones, my belly, my very being and I hope that this group can help me face and explore my fears with clarity and courage.

QuinnElleen Gormley

I'm a spiritual caregiver and equity advocate with substantial experience in clinical, policy, and non-profit settings. I'm dedicated to work that lifts up marginalized people, encourages communities to embrace their diversity and interdependence, and supports people and communities through times of challenge to work towards personal growth and systemic change.

My work experience ranges from non-profit management, to LGBTQ+ health education, to legislative advocacy, to clinical chaplaincy, to sexual violence advocacy.

My academic background includes work in public health, psychology, and theology. And my current areas of research are focused on Transgender death and dying, evidenced based spiritual care practices, the psychological impact of anti-queer and anti-trans policy choices, and pastoral responses to climate anxiety.

Outside my professional roles, I am a passionate classical and liturgical musician (a classical percussionist), determined home cook, math geek, and romance novel enthusiast. I live in Auburn, Maine with my husband, kid, and a menagerie of pets.  

Terry LePage

I have lived in Irvine, California for many years. I was ordained in the United Church of Christ in 2004 after working as a research chemist.  I served as a transitional minister around Southern California, and (briefly) as a hospice chaplain. In 2016 I started organizing and chaplaining around political activism and immigrant rights. In 2018 I awakened to the severity and pace of climate chaos.  I designed “Grief Gratitude and Courage” workshops for climate/ecological loss and for racial justice and then went virtual with the pandemic. I currently facilitate Nonviolent Communication practice groups, grief circles, and community circles locally and for the international Deep Adaptation Forum ( In July 2023 I published a book, Eye of the Storm: Facing climate and social chaos with calm and Courage to share support more widely than small groups. I live in Irvine with my husband Scott, and I enjoy native plant gardening, cooking, contra dancing, and craft beer.