International Collaborators Launch Climate Pastoral Care Course

International Collaborators Launch Climate Pastoral Care Course

A new course, offered by organisations from Australia and the US, explores the mental health and spiritual impacts of the climate crisis.

Climate emotions (like climate grief and climate anxiety) are increasingly impacting young people in particular. A recent study in The Lancet found that 84 percent of the 10,000 global youth surveyed are “worried” about the issue.

A joint initiative between the US-based Waterspirit and Australia’s Jessica Morthorpe, the course consist of thirteen modules that teach pastoral care for the climate crisis. Offered online, the course equips church communities with tools to understand eco-anxiety and climate-based grief. The explores what it means to be a good pastor to climate anxious people, and makes recommendations for particular groups, including activists, scientists, and children. It also makes recommendations for how to address congregational conflict. 

Australian Jessica Morthorpe is one of the course authors.

“We train our church leaders for pastoral care situations like funerals, generalised anxiety and illness,” she said.

“We don’t train them in how to help their communities face their grief over climate change and the destruction of the planet, their anxiety about a climate-changed future and the ways in which climate change is and will impact on both their physical and mental health. This course aims to fill that gap.”

This new course will be launched with an informative webinar featuring several experts in the field: Dr. Sally Gillespie, Rev. James Bhagwan, Rev. Talitha Amadea Aho, and Rev. Douglas Kaufman. This launch event will be co-sponsored by Waterspirit and Common Grace, an Australian nonprofit. It takes place on Saturday, 29 October at 11 am.

Gershon Nimbalker, is the National Director of the event host, Common Grace.

“The impacts of the climate crisis are being felt across the globe,” he said.

“This course provides churches and Christian leaders with much needed resources to care pastorally for those in their faith communities who are struggling with climate anxiety and grief. Common Grace is thrilled to be able to share this online resource with our church partners and wider Australian Christian community.”

The Climate Pastoral Care Launch takes place on Saturday, 29 October at 11am. To register, visit the official website.  


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