Eco-Ministry Intensive

This intensive will look at the important intersection of ecology, spirituality, and social systems. Together, we will bravely consider the “inconvenient"; we will explore ways to re-member ourselves to the New and the Ancient; we will share ideas and resources about the tools that already exist, as well as the new practices inviting our participation as a species. With the understanding that these themes live inter-dependently within us, and within our cultures, what might we learn about personal and social transformation?

This intensive will equip individuals for the furthering of innovative, life-sustaining and healing practices for Earth and the lifestyle systems humans use. 

Part ONE (February) - will be the Earth Based Traditions' themed module that is offered each February as part of the Interfaith Studies Certificate Program at ChI. This 5-day course is both an introductory and experiential overview of existing connections between earth, religion and spirituality. The module includes earth-based teachings from Paganism, the African Diasporic Traditions, and Native American perspectives, as well as drumming in community, participating in a sweat lodge ceremony, and the Cosmic Walk (a ritual that celebrates our 13.7 billion year Universe story).  

Part TWO (May) - Eco-Ministry for Life on Earth is offered as the second part of the intensive or as a single module. Each day will focus on a particular theme in the morning (left-brain input), with a deeper exploration of this theme in the afternoon (right-brain output/integration) through art, group work and/or field excursions. In our days together, we will share time in nature and at an urban farm. We will practice other ways of knowing, by looking to the teachings of plants, animals and all forms of life.  Practices and presentations will be with subject-area experts living in the San Francisco Bay Area. During the week, we will look at lifestyle choices, systems change and social transformation. We will also grieve, ritualize and make space for the Earth liturgy that wants to be born in us and shared. 

About the program's evolution

This two-part intensive took place as a pilot in 2017.  Participants formed community, exchanged ideas, and continued a lively, co-creative process with one another and for Earth.  In the future, the current image is that The ChI Eco-Ministry Program may expand to be several modules (3-6?).  Parts of these modules would happen online (low-residency), other parts would happen together as a co-hort in Berkeley (high-residency), and other parts might happen regionally/locally, encouraging participants to engage with the resources already alive in their communities, or to create projects that are ripe to begin (grassroots/practicum). 

VERY IMPORTANT: This is merely a starting place and these are only ideas.  Your participation in continuing to shape this vision matters!!!  Thank you for sharing your time, your love of earth and your passion to invite wakefulness and engagement from humans at this very important time.

Program Dates/Schedule:

A 5 day and a 4 day module – February and May

Part One: Earth-Based Traditions Module February 14-18, 2018 (9am - Wednesday to 4:30pm - Sunday)

Part Two: Eco-Ministry for Life on Earth Module, May 29 to June 1, 2018 (mid-day Tuesday to 2 pm - Saturday)


ATTENTION: Current Interfaith Studies Certificate Program Students and Alumni

If you have taken the February Earth Based Traditions module at ChI within the last 5 years, you can retake it again as a part of this two module intensive OR you can take Part Two of the Eco-Ministry Intensive as a stand alone module.  

CEU’s may be available.  Please inquire at the office – chioffice(at) 


Program Leadership

Dean and Core Faculty

Lauren.jpgRev. Lauren Van Ham, M.A., Dean of the ChI’s Interfaith Studies Certificate Program, Lauren was ordained with the very first cohort of ChI ordinands in 1999, and completed the Interfaith Spiritual Direction Certificate Program in 2006. Before joining the ChI staff in 2010, Lauren served for 8 years as a staff chaplain at St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco. From there she moved to a corporate environment, where she custom-designed employee programs for multi-national companies committed to sustainability and culture change. As part of her evolving call and commitment to "eco-chaplaincy”, Lauren served as Executive Director for Green Sangha (a non-profit dedicated to spiritually-engaged environmental activism) from 2004-2006 and has chaired Fair Trade Berkeley, a group whose dedication helped make Berkeley the 19th Fair Trade Town in the U.S.  Lauren holds degrees from Carnegie Mellon University and Naropa University.  


More Information: admissions(at) or 510-631-3066

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