Disaster Chaplaincy Training

Three members of the Arkansas Episcopal Disaster Relief Team recently completed Disaster Chaplaincy Training sponsored by the Beecken Center of the School of Theology at the University of the South (Sewanee) and the National Disaster Interfaiths Network (NDIN). Stan Vladenmar, St. John’s Episcopal, Fort Smith, Skip Cochran and Jan Thames, both of St. Margaret’s, Little Rock, were among 35 participants from across the country joining the August training.

The purpose of the disaster chaplaincy curriculum is to train faith leaders, spiritual care providers and institutional chaplains of all faiths to volunteer as disaster chaplains or spiritual care workers in their diocese or faith community or with NDIN and its national partners in a time of crisis. The 16-hour course curriculum was originally developed as a multi-faith training course following 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina by New York Disaster Interfaith Services (NYDIS) and an editorial board of 19 disaster spiritual care experts in partnership with ERD (Episcopal Relief & Development.).

This disaster spiritual care skills-building curriculum is the official curriculum of ERD, NDIN and NYDIS and is compliant with NIMS (National Incident Management System) and includes FEMA Incident Command System 100 training and certification. The course also conforms to the official Points of Consensus for Disaster Spiritual Care accepted by National VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.)

In conjunction with this course, the Arkansas trio also engaged in a one-day religious literacy and competency course, “Engaging Faith Communities in Disasters,” as a means to further their knowledge of disaster spiritual care best practices.