Navigating Climate Spiritual Care

A Learning Community for chaplains, pastors, educators, lay leaders, and spiritual seekers

October 2024 – March 2025
Monday evenings, twice monthly • 7:00 - 8:30 pm (Eastern) • Online

Application process:

  • Application deadline: September 15, 2024
  • Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
  • By October 1, 2024, commitment forms will be due with a $200 program fee or request for financial assistance.

Program Fee: $200
Payment plan options and need-based financial assistance will be available.

Are you interested in Navigating Climate Spiritual Care: A Learning Community but still wondering if this offering is right for you? Then please consider joining us for a "Taste of Navigating Climate Spiritual Care" conversation on Tuesday, July 23 from 4.00 - 5.00pm (Eastern). This online gathering with the hosts of the Navigating Climate Spiritual Care Learning Community, Rev. Alison Cornish and Nicholas Collura, will give you an opportunity to find out more about the Learning Community, to meet the facilitators, and to ask any questions you might have. We hope you will join us! The session will be recorded for those who are unable to attend live.

Spiritual care in this time of climate change — with so many social, emotional, and spiritual consequences resulting from such instability — is both deeply necessary and, in many ways, uncharted territory. As chaplains, preachers, pastors, lay leaders, and spiritual seekers who are unaffiliated religiously, we hold resources from our own traditions and our own spiritual formation that can help us face the climate emergency. Yet those resources can feel difficult to access or utilize when so much is unknown.

The BTS Center is pleased to offer this learning community, originally developed in an asynchronous format by our friends Jessica Morthorpe and Blair Nelsen, and offered by our partner Waterspirit. We will engage Waterspirit’s materials together as a learning community, guided by two  hosts and facilitators, meeting twice each month to deepen our understanding of the physical, emotional, mental health, and spiritual impacts of the climate crisis, and to explore how to address these impacts through the practice of spiritual care.

In this learning community, participants will explore a range of resources for addressing the climate crisis within their chosen vocations. Together we will navigate this landscape by drawing on already-established spiritual care skills and wisdom that we bring to this work as practitioners, and which can reassure us of our preparedness for the challenge. 

Topics for discussion will include: 

  • climate anxiety and grief
  • race-conscious spiritual care
  • care to peoples of the land
  • natural disaster and climate migrants
  • ministry to climate activists and climate-anxious people
  • spiritual care to children
  • contextualizing self-care and self-differentiation
  • responding to climate denial and eco-phobic theologies
  • complicated hope

Participants will engage in discussion in both context-specific small groups and in the larger, cross-sector group, thereby developing a network of peers for ongoing support and consultation. Our hosts, Rev. Alison Cornish and Nicholas Collura, themselves deeply experienced in spiritual care settings, will guide participants through discussions, practices, and assignments based on online materials within the Waterspirit course. 

Time commitment: Meetings will run for 90 minutes twice monthly, and participants can expect to spend an equivalent amount of time engaging with online materials on non-gathering weeks.

Questions? Please contact Alison Cornish at alison@thebtscenter.org for more information.

Dates:

Mondays • 7:00 – 8:30 pm (Eastern)
October 21, 2024
November 4, 2024
November 18, 2024
December 2, 2024
December 16, 2024
January 13, 2025
January 27, 2025
February 10, 2025
February 24, 2025
March 10, 2025

CEU Track

1.5 CEUs offered for:
  • full participation in the Navigating Climate Spiritual Care Learning Community
  • engagement with Learning Community assignments
  • submitting a written reflection at the end of the Learning Community
  • participating in a CEU track debrief session

Meet our Hosts

The Rev. Alison Cornish serves as the Coordinator of the Chaplaincy Initiative at the BTS Center. Alison spent the first half of her professional life working as an historic preservationist and architectural historian, primarily in New England and on Long Island, NY.  After 20 years of work with museums, municipalities and nonprofit organizations, Alison attended Andover Newton Theological Seminary in response to a felt sense of call directly from Earth to address what is it that we are doing in our daily lives and habits that is destroying the planet that we inhabit. Following CPE, field education in interfaith work and parish ministry, and ordination in the Unitarian Universalist tradition, Alison served congregations on Long Island while also embarking on studies with the Buddhist teacher Joanna Macy and Dominican sister Miriam McGillis. Alison became a GreenFaith Fellow in 2013, and a Climate Reality Project presenter in 2017. She has served as Senior Director of Programs at Partners for Sacred Places, Executive Director of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light, Director of Seminary and Congregational Initiatives at Interfaith Philadelphia, and as the Affiliated Community Minister at First Unitarian Church, Philadelphia.  Alison’s facilitation work includes the Work That Reconnects, training-the-trainers for Civil Conversations, group practice of Nonviolent Communication, and the curriculum “Healthy Congregations.” A Program Consultant for the BTS Center since 2021, her work has focused on ecological and climate grief, religious imagination, and chaplaincy in a climate-changed world. Alison and her husband Pat live in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, on the unceded lands of the Nipmuc and Pocumtuc peoples, in the watershed of the Connecticut River.  When not working, Alison can be found along, on, and in, a local natural body of water, currently the Deerfield River.

Nicholas Collura currently directs the Radius program for ethical reflection on technology and culture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he also serves as a campus chaplain. Prior to his time at MIT, he trained as a board-certified healthcare chaplain and worked in both caregiving and supervisory roles in palliative care and hospice for several years in Philadelphia. There, he also co-founded and co-coordinated EcoPhilly, a faith-based organizing initiative dedicated to creation care in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Nicholas is a trained and practicing spiritual director who is certified as a teacher in the Narrative Enneagram Tradition. He earned his Doctor of Ministry degree from Fordham University and is an adjunct lecturer in Villanova University's Master's program in pastoral care, where he teaches The Spirituality of Care and Human Growth and Faith Development. Additionally, he offers retreats and workshops on eco-spirituality, the political context of spiritual care, Ignatian spirituality, and other topics. His early education was in film studies and comparative literature, and he retains an avid interest in the arts and a respect for the wisdom of the creative imagination.


The BTS Center Featured in a Piece on Eco-Chaplaincy Published by Sojourners
 
This past spring, climate journalist Shreya Agrawal spent time with Rev. Alison Cornish, The BTS Center's Chaplaincy Initiative Coordinator, to learn about how we are approaching our Climate Conscious Chaplaincy Initiative. That piece, which spotlights the work of several peer organizations, including Sewanee and the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies, was published recently in an article in the online version of Sojourners, called "What Is an Eco-Chaplain?" by Shreya Agrawal.
 

Program Partner