Research Question:

How are American churches responding faithfully to the challenges of climate change & ecological despair?

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Seeking how churches are answering this increasingly urgent question...

In late 2019, I (Kaleb) will begin a nationwide road-trip to ask the question: how are churches (in the United States and Canada) faithfully responding to the challenges of climate change and ecological despair?

What makes this project unique is that it looks beyond generic actions such as changing lightbulbs and petitioning elected officials. The focus, rather, is specifically on how church institutions and traditions are being adapted at the congregational grassroots to give Christians and non-Christians alike a sense of hope and direction in response to climate change.

Right now, I am in the process of gathering leads and creating a travel itinerary. By April 2020, I will make my findings widely available in two forms:

  • first, a practical resource for pastors and church leaders seeking project ideas that help them to sustain faithful ministry in an increasingly warming world (e.g., a downloadable 16-page .pdf file).
  • second, a philosophical resource on what it looks like when a congregation moves past despair or complacency on climate change and instead adopts an orientation of hope (e.g., a publicly available 10,000 word longform essay).
  • third, an anonymized database that will aid future researchers and creatives who are seeking to better understand and respond to the dynamics of congregations responding to climate change and ecological despair.

🧭 Climate Orientation Quiz

As a conversation starter, I am developing a quiz that categorizes participants into one of four orientation "types" that helps to spur reflection on the patterns by which one relates to the issue of climate change.

You can take a beta version of the quiz here. Your feedback on the experience is greatly appreciated.

Building Trust 🤝🏽

There is some vulnerability involved when it comes not just telling one's story but also having it analyzed. To that end, consent forms for individuals and congregations are required for participation.

Questions? Want to get involved?
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This bulk of this project is being undertaken by Kaleb Nyquist, a recent divinity school graduate with an additional masters degree in public policy. Kaleb has previously worked as a youth ministry director and as a faith-based activist for responsible climate change policy.


This project is financially supported by the Pastoral Study Project program of the Louisville Institute. You can learn more about the grant proposal on their website by looking up "The extension of Christian congregational practices to meet the Anthropocene".


The institutional sponsor of this project is Ravenswood Evangelical Covenant Church, a long-standing neighborhood congregation on Chicago's north side, committed to loving God and loving neighbor. Any premises or conclusions related to this research are the investigator's own and do not represent an official public stance of the congregation.