Eco-chaplaincy stems from acknowledging the ecological crisis as a spiritual crisis, and as such provides spiritual, theological and healing support to people engaged in transforming our way of life into a more life-sustaining society called the Great Turning.
Eco-chaplains help groups and individuals honor pain for the world in order to transform despair, apathy, anger, overwhelm and the like into empowerment based on choice while also bearing witness, attending to and providing empathy for those experiencing the uncertainty of these times of ecological crisis. These three are met through a combination of the four roles: theologian, pastor, healer and change-agent.
Of course chaplains rarely act solely from one role. It is entirely possible to provide pastoral support for grieving clients after conducting a funeral service or while facilitating conflict mediation, for example. A chaplain’s job is always changing shape to accommodate circumstances as they arise.
Eco-chaplains can be hired by non-profit environmental and social justice organizations, boards, foundations, social work or environmental agencies in towns, counties, states and nations, educational and scientific institutions, or by communities or individuals. The possibilities are as varied as the Earth is diverse. The key is that eco-chaplains will work for established groups, teams, cohorts or institutions like military chaplains are assigned to their unit or hospital chaplains to their ward.