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​It's good to ask questions

Disaster Spiritual Care may be new to you.  It is to many.  While we may have a sense of what other disaster responders do, the idea of spiritual response may not be as clear.  Below are a few questions that you may have wondered about.  If you don't see your question below, click here and ask us.  We will respond as quickly as possible.

Important Questions You May Wonder About

Can anyone become a Spiritual Care Provider?

Yes. and No.  Yes,KDSCN is composed of people from all kinds of backgrounds.  Many faiths are represented.  Many educational levels are represented.  Some Spiritual Care Providers are official representatives of organized religious expressions.  They may be "ordained" or officially appointed to leadership in a particular faith community.  Other Spiritual Care Providers are commonly called "lay persons."  They may or may not have official leadership responsibilities in their faith community.  Maybe No.  Not all people are suited to the demands of serving those in distress. This is a demanding service.  One's commitment to self-care is as important as the commitment to care for others.  Nor are all people comfortable with being a Spiritual Care Provider in a disaster setting because of the necessity of honoring and respecting all forms of spirituality. There are many faith based organizations that believe that proselytizing (or urging others into a particular religious body) is their calling. However, the Pennsylvania Disaster Spiritual Care Network does not proselytize in any fashion.  See Points 8 & 9 in the National VOAD Points of Consensus. 


What if I can't respond when I am called upon?

You are a volunteer.  There may well be times when your own life circumstances make it impossible or inadvisable to respond.  That is okay. Every Network member may accept or decline a call to service.


How is "spirituality" different than "religion"?

Spirituality refers to a basic and essential part of humanity.  It may take many forms or it may take no perceptible form at all.  Religion refers to a prescribed set of beliefs and/or practices shared in common by a group of people.  


What if I want to serve, but haven't yet met all of the criteria?

You can take as long as you need to meet the criteria for credentialling.  There is no time limit.  However you cannot be officially credentialed until all those criteria are met.


What is credentialing and why is it important?

Credentialing is a process of certifying you as one well trained to attend to persons who have experienced disaster.  It also witnesses to your comittment to professional and ethical standards befitting your service.


What lay in the future for KDSCN?

In the future, KDSCN will feature three types of volunteers.  These will include Spiritual Care Provider, Disaster Chaplain, and Spiritual Partner. At present we are only training volunteers to be Spiritual Care Providers.  Once firmly established we will activate the Disaster Chaplain group. Disaster Chaplains will have all of the training of Spiritual Care Providers, and more.  Spiritual Partners will be activated last.  Spiritual Partners will be persons who have gained special expertise and experience in providing spiritual care. In addition, they will have become experts in community dynamics following disasters and during the long recovery period.  They will work with faith based leaders in affected communities as those leaders engage in leading their larger community through the various stages of recovery.