Pastoral Care for Climate: From Anxiety to Action

Application Deadline January 27

How do we respond to the looming climate disaster? Many people try to live as if it isn’t happening, wile some live in anxiety of a hopeless future. Pastors and church leaders have a unique role in bringing together spiritual, emotional and social roles. This year-long experience in 2023 explores how churches and communities can become places where people learn to engage climate with active hope.

The experience includes teaching and discussion times, goal-setting, worship in natural settings, ecological education, and field trips and practice in activities like advocacy. 

Along with in person participation in two retreats, one in February in VA and another in December in MI, there will be half day gatherings on Zoom every other month. Readings at a master’s level will be assigned. All participants will also be expected to plan and implement a plan for engaging climate change in their congregation or other community.

Join us to:

– Build connections with ministry leaders to engage as faithful climate advocates.

– Explore the pastoral care implications of social psychological research on climate.

– Learn from scientists about how the changing climate is altering human and ecological realities.

– Experience congregational resilience in the face of climate injustice and how climate impacts frontline communities most vulnerable to natural disasters.

– See how the Christian tradition can foster a wild hope in the midst of tragic consequences.

– Worship in ways that engage our embeddedness in nature.

– Learn how your church community can create a supportive network of activists engaged in climate resilience and advocacy deeply rooted in our faith.

Open to 25 pastors, chaplains or similar ministry leaders with a preference for those in the Anabaptist tradition. Leaders and teachers include seminary professors, pastors, ecologists, and activists to walk alongside and mentor.

Cosponsored by Eastern Mennonite Seminary and the Anabaptist Climate Collaborative with funding from the Lilly Endowment. 


Opening Retreat
Monday, February 6, 12 pm to Thursday, February 9, 2 pm
Highland Retreat, Bergton, VA

We explore pastoral care for climate by Douglas Kaufman and the science of climate change from Doug Graber Neufeld of the Anabaptist Climate Collaborative. Peter Dula, theology professor at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, addresses Anabaptist ecotheology, while Tammy Alexander of the MCC Washington Office leads a day of climate advocacy in DC. Another field trip will be to Silver Run Forest Farm hosted by Jonathon McRay. Valerie Luna Serrels will host forest church, worship in the wild, during the week. Participants will share about their intended climate project for the year. 

Concluding Retreat
Monday, December 4, 12 pm to Wednesday, December 6, 2 pm
Camp Friedenswald, Cassopolis, MI

Themes and speakers yet to be finalized but will likely include climate hope, responding to natural disasters, public policy, climate and peacebuilding, also with forest church gatherings. Friedenswald is itself the field trip, a model of climate sustainability. Learn with their sustainability coordinator Amy Huser how your congregation can do something similar. Learn about their unique ecosystem and the ways they are working to protect the endangered Mitchell’s Satyr butterfly. Eat their delicious sustainably sourced, mostly vegetarian meals. Participants will share the results of their projects of the year. 

Four Zoom-based half day gatherings, tentatively scheduled for Wednesdays, March 29, May 24, August 9, and September 20, 9 am – 12 noon Central.

Tentative themes include preaching on climate and hope, climate and racial justice, climate and decolonization (indigenous justice), and climate and immigration. Each session will also be a time for participants to update one another on their climate project. 

Cosponsored by Eastern Mennonite Seminary and the Anabaptist Climate Collaborative with funding from the Lilly Endowment.