This session explored the concept of “societal chaplaincy” in order to provide tools for responding to the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis. This global crisis is producing layers of grief and trauma beyond what most people are anticipating. Religiously informed leaders have particular callings to respond not just to their defined communities, but to society as a whole, helping others name their grief while pointing to paths forward. The insights of social analysis, grief coaching, and chaplaincy each have contributions to make as we move forward together. Read this article for context:

On April 22, our guest speaker was Robert O. Smith (Citizen, Chickasaw Nation), an ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament serving as Director of Briarwood Leadership Center and Associate to the Bishop in the Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod of the ELCA. Previously, he served as Director of the Jerusalem Global Gateway of the University of Notre Dame and Area Program Director for the Middle East and North Africa in the Global Mission Unit of the ELCA. He holds a PhD in Religion, Politics & Society from Baylor University, along with an MDiv and an MA in Islamic Studies from Luther Seminary. He is the author of several academic articles on the theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and several books on American Christian responses to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.