Eco-Ministry Intensive

Eco-Ministry Intensive2019-07-23T16:39:28-07:00


Seminary Dean Rev. Lauren Van Ham, M.A.

Seminary Dean Rev. Lauren Van Ham, M.A., 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.


EBSD_ChI_SDI Regional Meeting

February 5 @ 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm

Ministry Basics – 1

February 18 @ 8:00 am - February 20 @ 5:00 pm


June 3 – 8, 2019

Creating a resilient and thriving human and Earth community for religious leaders, chaplains or other spiritually-oriented professionals

With Rev. Lauren Van Ham, Kerry Brady, David Tucker Brock Dolman, Melissa Nelson, Gopal Dayaneni, and special guest Brian Swimme

The Eco-ministry Intensive is rooted in the desire to create resilient and thriving human and earth communities in support of a more regenerative future. It is about bringing curiosity to our deepest ways of knowing, courageously questioning our core beliefs and lifestyles, and prophetically imagining what is life-affirming for the whole. During this intensive, we will explore questions about belief and knowing and look at what it is to embody faith-supported activism and community support during this time of unrest.

We will immerse on the land, drawing from the new sciences, nature-based processes, listening meditation, inner and outer tracking, dream-work, somatic resiliency work, council practices, ceremony and other time-tested processes that usher us towards dissolving our borders and discovering our deepest belonging. Throughout our time, we will become courageously curious about our roles in ministry, community care, and how we might spiritually guide our faith groups into a place of similar awakening, connection, and action.

Dates and Location

Monday, June 3, 10:00 AM – Saturday, June 8, 1:00 PM 2019;
Occidental, West Sonoma County, California

as well as a pre-retreat Zoom call with Brian Thomas Swimme on Tuesday, May 14 at 6:00 PM PDT and a post-retreat Zoom calls (Date TBD).
Both Zoom calls will be recorded for those who are unable to make the dates, although we highly encourage you to be with us if possible. For those who wish, carpools will leave Berkeley early June 3rd in order to be on time for our 10:00 start at OAEC in Occidental.

Group Size

Maximum Number: 16


Sliding scale $1,895 – 1,295; **For Chaplaincy Institute students: Please send an email to to receive academic and/or continuing education credit.

Application Deadline: April 15, 2019

Registration Deadline: April 22, 2019

For other CHI Open Course catalog and descriptions, fees and registration details, contact Admissions Manager at: or 510-843-1422

“The Chaplaincy Institute (“CHI ”) offered me, and so many others like me, the opportunity to engage in the Interfaith dialogue in ways that most of us never imagined. CHI ’s curriculum is unique, in that students who are interested in Interfaith Ordination not only read, reflect, and engage with literature and liturgy from a wide scope of faith traditions, it also insists upon first-hand experience. This Nice Jewish Girl found herself genuflecting in embodied Muslim prayer, meditating with a Buddhist nun, kneeling in a Catholic mass, and sweating in a lodge with a Lakota guide. The insistence upon empathy and the invitation to compassionate sharing offered a clerical formation unlike anything I could have imagined.

CHI envisions as many different types of ministers, chaplains, and spiritual directors as individuals striving towards those ends. It is often repeated that people of all faiths, no faith, and everything in between are welcome both at the seminary and at the Interfaith services and workshops. There is an emphasis on the arts, inviting people to bring their authentic voice to their service. We sing, we dance, we eat, we pray, and we sit in silence while holding sacred space for each other.

CHI ’s Ministers, Spiritual Directors, and Chaplains are spiritually, emotionally, and academically ready to support the journeys of those whom they serve. With creativity and the remarkable talents of their dedicated staff and faculty, they offer so much more than a seminary; they have created their own community as well, one where inclusion and integrity are paramount. I feel blessed by my calling to service, but I feel that call answered by my experience at CHI .”

Rev. Jennifer Bernstein, Interfaith Minister, Veterinary Chaplain, Community Chaplain