The Global Chaplain Project

With an initial focus on war-torn Ukraine, TEDS (the divinity school of Trinity International University) is now partnering with non-U.S. governments and organizations to rapidly train and deploy chaplains into global crisis environments. Representing various faith traditions but trained within the framework of Trinity’s longstanding evangelical commitment, these chaplains will provide spiritual guidance, support, and comfort for countless people in diverse contexts well outside the walls of the church. Such contexts may include but are not limited to the military, health care, and educational institutions

Operation Ukraine

In October 2022, well over a dozen Ukrainian seminaries came together in order to request that Trinity aid the Ukrainian church by providing professional support for their hard-pressed faculty and develop post-baccalaureate courses in chaplaincy, mental health counseling, trauma care. Responding to the need, Trinity has not only initiated monthly faculty development seminars for Ukrainian faculty but also developed an introductory credit-bearing course (available in English and Ukrainian) that has attracted 133 Ukrainian participants. Now with the Ukrainian military requesting more educational opportunities of this kind, Trinity, in partnership with the National University of Ostroh Academy and the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Military Institute of the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, is seeking to extend the initial course offering into a full-blown 12-credit certificate program in Chaplaincy. Pending sufficient funding, the program is slated to commence on October 30,2023, targeting 200 students for the first cohort.

About Trinity

Since 1897, Trinity has had a mission of educating “men and women to engage in God’s redemptive work in the world.” Trinity’s seminary, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS), is a premier theological institution preparing the next generation of pastors, educators, scholars, practitioners and leaders. With an internationally recognized faculty, TEDS has sent its alumni into various leadership positions across the globe.

Current Status

The Armed Forces of Ukraine formally recognized the position of Chaplain within its ranks following legislative approval last year. As part of this legislation, chaplains are required to receive theological education within a very limited number of approved institutions. One such approved institution is the Military Institute of the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, which has invited Trinity into partnership in order to support chaplaincy training. We are pleased to announce that Dr. Oleg Tsymbalyuk has been appointed to direct this program.

What We Need

The budget estimate for developing this pilot program is $500,000. This will cover course development, faculty recruitment, translation of course texts, design of online learning platform, etc. In order to make this instruction available at this time free or charge, Trinity requires additional outside funding for this initiative.

“Chaplaincy is a specialized ministry of increasing relevance in our religiously plural world. It involves taking words of hope and grace outside the boundaries of the church to those in crisis. There’s nothing like providing spiritual guidance and pastoral care to those who might otherwise never darken the door of our churches. Ministry in secular, pluralistic institutions presents a myriad of unique challenges, yet bringing pastoral care, compassion, and Christian presence to people in need makes it especially satisfying. The TEDS MA in Chaplaincy and Ministry Care looks to provide the equipping necessary to take up this powerful calling.”