Eco-Chaplain Directory

For almost 20 years, Michigan IPL has educated people of faith about religious values on sustainability, helped congregations put their faith into action by reducing their ecological footprints (especially through energy efficiency and more recently through solar), and encouraged faith leaders to speak out on matters of climate and justice.  

As we've continued in this work-- and confront the ever grimmer realities of climate destabilization-- we've sensed both a gap in what we we've been doing and a missed opportunity.  We've created this Eco-Chaplain Directory with the hope that it can help faith communities reckon with and transform the difficult feelings that arise in response to these challenges, while also helping them move towards faithful action.  

What is an Eco-Chaplain?

Drawing from the work of Sarah Vekasi and others (scroll down for suggested readings), we define Eco-Chaplains as people who:

  1. Engage ecological devastation as a spiritual crisis and opportunity.
  2. Bear witness, provide empathy, and help people honor their pain for the world.
  3. Help communities develop resilience by connecting them with the ecological wisdom of their own spiritual traditions and cultivating deeper allyship with other communities and all of Creation.
  4. Provide structure/ritual for communities to explore their unique abilities to respond to environmental degradation (locally, systemically, and relationally), grounded in the creative potential and power of God/Spirit/Life. 

During the Coronavirus outbreak, we are following recommendations to practice social distancing,
while also encouraging people to connect safely with others.  During this time, you might consider working
with an Eco Chaplain in a virtual format. 

 

Baba Oluwo Ifabayowa
Adesanya Awoyade

Email

Detroit, MI

Available to communities in: 

  • Southeast MI
  • Mid-MI

Available to meet:

  • In person
  • By phone/conference call
  • Virtually

 

Religious/spiritual background: Isese'lagba (Yoruba Traditional Religion)

Services offered: "I believe that nature-based traditions tie us to our traditional roots.  I offer religious consultation, ancestral consultation, spiritual readings/cleansing, and traditional medicines."

Experience: "I've been initiated into this spiritual/ancestral cultural tradition for six years and have assisted hundreds of people with spiritual grounding, contacting their ancestors, and realizing their destiny." 

 

 

 

Rabbi Moshe Givental

Email
Website

West Bloomfield, MI

Available to communities in:

  • Southeast MI
  • Elsewhere

Available to meet:

  • In person
  • By phone/conference call
  • Virtually

 

Religious/spiritual background: Jewish

Services offered: "I create ritual-- providing emotional and spiritual support-- for communities of all religious backgrounds wrestling with how to understand, cope with, and respond to environmental and climate catastrophes around us. My work is rooted in the power of wonder and gratitude, the healing of expanding our circles of care, and the spiritual potential unleashed when we come together as communities with love, humility, and commitment."

Experience: "I am a former psychotherapist (MA in Clinical Psychology) and an ordained Rabbi. I am a trained facilitator of a process called Work That Reconnects, which creates ritual to help people come together as communities, to explore and honor the emotional and spiritual challenges of facing our ecological crises, deepen their connects with each other and to their own religious, spiritual, and/or value-based traditions, and develop more sustained and healthy relationships with the living world. I have worked with many different religious and secular communities, professional organizers and simply concerned citizens."

 

 

 

Rachel Koeson

Email
Website

Grand Rapids, MI

Available to communities in: 

  • Throughout the Lower Peninsula

Available to meet:

  • In person
  • By phone/conference call
  • Virtually

 

Religious/spiritual background: "I was raised Christian but no longer identify as a Christian. There are many parts of Buddhism I appreciate and study but I do not practice any one specific religion."

Services offered: "I do group work that uses a somatic (body-based), nervous system, and mindfulness frameworks to help folks stay present to their experiences, build capacity for discomfort, become more aware of unconscious beliefs, and explore points of transformation. I offer groups specifically in supporting climate grief and resiliency based on Joanna Macy and adrienne maree brown's work as well as work on "Unweaving Embodied Racial Dominance" as an affinity space for white folks to do work on healing so that we can be better allies/accomplices/co-conspirators with BIPOC [Black, Indigenous and People of Color]. That work is primarily informed by Resmaa Menakem and his book My Grandmother's Hands. My orientation is to being one of many midwives helping to support the birth of new worlds of compassionate connection with ourselves, others and our earth. I use an anti-oppression analysis in all I do."

Experience: "My primary training and certification is in the Hakomi Method. I have facilitated groups on grief, mindful anger, Active Hope, Mindful Parenting, Somatic Tools for Resilience, Unweaving Embodied Racial Dominance, and Mindfulness. See a complete list of my training here." 

 

 

 

Claire Maitre

Email
Website

Ann Arbor, MI

Available to communities in: 

  • Anywhere in MI, Southern Ontario, and Northern OH and IN

Available to meet:

  • In person
  • By phone/conference call
  • Virtually

 

Religious/spiritual background: "I was raised in a Christian home. I do not claim any single tradition, but I have an appreciation for the mystical depths of all of them. I am a spiritually motivated person."

Services offered: "I offer workshops ranging from 2-3 hours to full weekends for groups interested in exploring their areas of concern through the Work That Reconnects, a method of experiential group work developed by Dr. Joanna Macy and others since the late 1970s. I facilitate workshops primarily in SE Michigan and love to help people reconnect with their sense of purpose and meaning for being here on Earth at this momentous time in human history. "

Experience: "I have been very fortunate to have trained extensively (2000-2015) with Dr. Joanna Macy to facilitate workshops in the Work That Reconnects and I have been an active facilitator of the Work That Reconnects since 2013. These workshops are designed to help us uncover and experience our innate connections with one another and the healing powers of the web of life so that we can discover our roles in creating a life-sustaining civilization. Pioneered by noted author, teacher and thought leader in environmental activism Dr. Joanna Macy, this highly experiential and interactive work draws from systems thinking, deep ecology, and many spiritual traditions. To increase my awareness and grow my relationships with the web of life, I have also undertaken trainings to foster deep nature connection and understanding intergenerational trauma with Jon Young and the 8 Shields Institute."

 

 

 

Rev. Ruth Moerdyk

Email
Facebook

Kalamazoo, MI

Available to communities in: 

  • Western MI
  • Mid-Michigan

Available to meet:

  • In Person
  • Virtually

 

Religious/spiritual background: "Ordained in the United Church of Christ, pastor in the Church of the Brethren (which comes from a pacifist, simple living tradition)."

Services offered: "I facilitate group work with/in thoughtful communities struggling to enact meaning and hope in the face of unprecedented environmental crises, making use of silence, listening, ritual, lament, creative expression."

Experience: "Training in spiritual direction and pastoral care, some familiarity with The Work That Reconnects (Joanna Macy), experience in small group and retreat facilitation, personal grief work around issue of climate crisis and environmental collapse." 

 

 

 

Dr. James Perkinson

Email

Detroit, MI

Available to communities in: 

  • Southeast MI
  • Western MI
  • Elsewhere

Available to meet:

  • In person
  • Virtually

 

Religious/spiritual background: "Christian (seeking to embrace challenges from indigenous and folk cultures)"

Services offered: "I do workshops, talks, bible studies, poetry performances, etc., both with and without my Filipino spouse who is also seeking to recover her more indigenous roots. I/we seek to challenge people to face into the legacy of European colonization and racism and the ways industrialization and now social media have narrowed our sense of self and our connection with our watersheds (ancestors, community, dreams, nature, place, plants, animals, waters, etc.). As climate change ramps up the fear of apocalypse-like scenarios, we offer resources for facing into what is happening, drawing support and guidance from ancestors and the non-human world, and in my case especially re-kindling appreciation for the biblical tradition in a way that opens up the surprising and amazing witness of land-based spiritualities and social concerns found in the texts."

Experience: "I have lived for 35 years as a settler on Three Fires land in inner city Detroit, currently teaching as Professor of Social Ethics at the Ecumenical Theological Seminary and lecturing in Intercultural Communication Studies at Oakland University. I hold a PhD in theology from the University of Chicago and have authored six books, including Political Spirituality in an Age of Eco-Apocalypse. I have a long history of activist involvement in various community development initiatives and low-income housing projects and more recently in resisting water shutoffs in the city. I am also a recognized artist on the spoken-word poetry scene."

 


We hope to add a few more Eco-Chaplains to this Directory very soon!  If you would like to be considered for inclusion in the directory, fill out our Eco-Chaplain Directory Application

Legal disclaimer: 

This directory is meant to be a public resource. The individuals listed are not Michigan IPL employees and Michigan IPL cannot be held legally liable for their work.

Suggested reading:  

connect