Disaster Spiritual Care (DSC) Program

Disaster Spiritual Care

There is a need for trained and credentialed persons to provide spiritual care services to survivors of disasters across the Mountain Sky Conference. At this point in time the state VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) have formed Disaster Spiritual Care (DSC) committees to guide the program development. Committee members include representatives of various faith-based and other disaster recovery groups including chaplains serving military, law enforcement organizations, and fire departments. Click here if you are interested in more information on this program.


Program Overview:

This program conforms to the Disaster Spiritual Care Guidelines developed by the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) which provides a framework for developing local disaster spiritual care and includes recommendations for training and credentialing of responders.

The committee has adopted a set of Guiding Principles, which provide a vision for the program:

  1. Disaster Spiritual Care (“DSC”) is a critical component of Emergency Response and Recovery. As stated in the NVOAD “Light Our Way” guide, the basic standards and principles of Disaster Spiritual Care include:
    1. Offer presence and hospitality to any persons affected by a disaster
    2. Meet, accept, and respect persons exactly as they are
    3. Do No Harm—Never evangelize, proselytize or exploit persons in vulnerable need
    4. Local spiritual care providers and communities of faith are the primary resources for post-disaster spiritual care
    5. All communities of faith have the right to provide disaster spiritual care to their own members in accordance with their own traditions (“Pastoral Care”)
  2. The Colorado DSC initiative is a collaborative partnership between Colorado State government organizations, COVOAD, and other voluntary organizations to ensure coordination of services and the effective deployment of appropriate disaster spiritual care
  3. Organizations which provide disaster spiritual care services to the general public MUST:
    1. Be appropriately screened, credentialed, and accountable for their actions
    2. Be able to work within a multi-agency structure and comply with incident management authorities
    3. Be trained at a minimum to meet essential competencies identified by the National VOAD Disaster Spiritual Care Guidelines
    4. Agree to abide by the National VOAD “Disaster Spiritual Care Points of Consensus”
  4. DSC providers shall conduct themselves during emergency response and recovery so that their behavior does not negatively affect those who have been impacted by disaster
  5. DSC providers serving the general public should be prepared to partner with behavioral health professionals caring for communities in disaster

For more information contact Mike Moore at disasterresponse@mtnskyumc.org.