Trinity Partners with Ukrainian Universities, Colleges, and Seminaries to Offer Chaplaincy Training

138 Ukrainians have registered for the newly created, free Trinity course that will help Christians provide spiritual guidance and pastoral care to those in crisis.

Building with shattered glass and shrapnel in the bricks in Ukraine

The war in Ukraine has forcibly displaced millions of people inside and in neighboring countries. Many higher education institutions have been destroyed, and an additional 206 have suffered damage from bombing and shelling. Universities and colleges that have not incurred damage have faced high disruption in operations or closed down due to the short supply of educational resources and supplies. 

In the fall of 2022, Trinity was approached by several higher-education institutions in Ukraine for support of theological education courses, chaplaincy, mental health training, trauma care, and faculty and leadership development. Trinity’s faculty and leadership quickly embraced the opportunity to share Trinity’s expertise and come alongside fellow educators to bridge any gaps resulting from the loss of staff or support.

“We are excited and honored to partner with 16 evangelical universities, colleges, and seminaries to offer instruction on how to be a spiritual caretaker in Ukraine and bring words of hope and grace to those in crisis,” said President Nicholas Perrin. “Our Ukrainian brothers and sisters in Christ have incredible faith but recognize the need for acquiring the skills to minister to people experiencing the trauma of war effectively.”

Trinity has developed a two-credit post-baccalaureate course, Chaplain Ministries: Calling, Role, and Function, with classes beginning on March 27. Dr. John Carter, assistant professor of pastoral theology at TEDS, will be the faculty of record for this 14-week introductory course. Core curriculum resource materials are being developed in conjunction with the International Association for Evangelical Chaplains (IAEC). 138 Ukrainians have registered for the course. 

Asynchronous learning has become a lifeline in Ukraine, where blackouts occur daily, and air raid sirens can abruptly interrupt instruction. This course will follow that model and be made available for audit as well as for credit through partner institutions at no cost. Registered students will also receive free access to the Digital Theological Library through 2023.  

“Through the generous gifts of a few donors, we were able to quickly secure the initial funding for the development of the first course and its necessary resources,” said former Interim Vice President of Advancement and University Relations Dwight Gibson. “As Trinity’s response to the educational needs in Ukraine grows, we hope additional donors will join us and be a part of this incredible opportunity.”

Efforts are underway to translate two textbooks into Ukrainian, making it available for an even wider audience than Trinity’s 16-institution Ukrainian consortium. The authors’ thorough guidance and practical advice on chaplaincy will be invaluable to those looking to offer pastoral care.

Trinity ultimately wants to develop a chaplaincy certificate program that explores topics such as mental health counseling, trauma care, and theology. Trinity will also host faculty development masterclasses to help instructors in Ukraine better navigate their current work environments. Dr. Donald Guthrie will offer the first masterclass on teaching and learning, for Ukrainian faculty, on March 29.

“About half of the faculty at our partner institutions have left due to the war, so this initiative allows Trinity to support the often under-resourced and overburdened members who remain,” said Vice President for Strategic Partnerships Amanda Onapito. “Many have told us how they are living out the faith and theology they have regularly taught since many schools now serve also as places of refuge for internally displaced people.”

  3. Photos from 2022 in previously published article written by Ukrainian Anastasia Diulda, a friend of current TEDS student


Support This Initiative & TEDS

To support this initiative and to learn more about Trinity’s partnership in Ukraine, please contact Amanda Onapito in the Office of Strategic Partnerships at 847.317-7034 or email [email protected]. Trinity would not be able to serve students around the world without the support of alumni, parents, friends, and churches. Your gifts advance our mission to cultivate academic excellence, Christian faithfulness, and lifelong learning in each students’ life.