Disaster Spiritual Care Committee

Committee Chair: Ethan Raath, American Red Cross + Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

Committee Members: Adventist Community Services Disaster Response, American Red Cross, Colorado Baptist Disaster Relief, International Orthodox Christian Charities, Lutheran Family Services, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, The Salvation Army, United Methodist Committee on Relief

The Disaster Spiritual Care Committee’s mission is to foster emotional and spiritual care to people affected by disaster in cooperation with state and local response organizations and VOAD organizations. The idea for a ‘COVOAD Emotional & Spiritual Care (ESC) Committee’ was conceived in the summer of 2013 after disaster responses highlighted the need and desire for disaster spiritual care providers (2012 fires, 2013 fires & 2013 flood). At the same time, the statewide disaster behavioral health response network, the Colorado Crisis Education & Response Network (CoCERN) expressed a desire to complement behavioral health response with a spiritual care response cadre to address often unmet spiritual care needs. The COVOAD DSC accomplishes its mission in several ways:

Embracing the unique contribution of various mental health disciplines and faith-based groups.
Identify specific issues of emotional and spiritual needs as a significant component of disaster response.
Educate state and local VOADs and non-affiliated partners about emotional and spiritual needs in disasters.
Promote best practices, standards, and models to provide effective emotional and spiritual care.

All COVOAD faith-based member organizations adhere to National VOAD’s Disaster Spiritual Care Guidelines.



Colorado Disaster Spiritual Care Provider Training

Colorado VOAD, in partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment and the Colorado Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management, have developed training for individuals who would like to provide Disaster Spiritual Care in Colorado. This training equips providers to provide spiritual care during disasters in agreement with the National VOAD Spiritual Care Guidelines. Participants will understand:

  • National VOAD Spiritual Care Guidelines
  • Ethical considerations
  • Working in multi-faith settings
  • Disaster spiritual care to impacted individuals

Those who wish to participate should be experienced local spiritual care providers, with documented education. Prior to attending, participants are required to complete FEMA independent study classes: IS-100 Incident Command System and IS-700 National Incident Management System.

Please check out this brief video outlining what is covered in the training. For more information on how to access this training, please email [email protected].



For more information on the COVOAD Disaster Spiritual Care Committee, please reach out to [email protected].