Emotional & Spiritual Care (USA)
Spirituality is part of the human experience, so when a disaster disrupts a person’s and a community’s life, emotional and spiritual care contribute to healing. This is the Frontline’s work. Respectful care in time of disaster helps people cope and recover, laying the groundwork for resilience and hope.
What Is the Orthodox Frontline?
IOCC’s Orthodox Frontline, under our US program, is part of an emergency response network formed in 2001 to respond to disasters within the United States—natural or human-caused. Whether it’s a tornado, hurricane, flood, or other devastating event, IOCC Frontliners can offer emotional and spiritual care to the people affected.
Who Are IOCC’s Frontliners?Each Frontliner is a professional trained to care for others: some are priests or chaplains, counselors, social workers, or therapists; others are medical professionals, EMTs, or emergency response managers. As a group, Frontliners are well equipped to support both people facing trauma and the first responders and emergency workers serving them. In addition to their professional education, all Frontliners receive specific training with IOCC in disaster chaplaincy and response.
While they focus on emotional and spiritual care, Frontliners may also support IOCC’s emergency action teams responding immediately after a disaster, or later during long-term recovery efforts.
How We Work
In its disaster response, IOCC partners with the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) members, as well as with state VOAD coalitions and local groups. These organizations coordinate in offering emotional and spiritual care tailored to the needs of those directly affected. Even more important is IOCC’s collaboration with local parishes, which often serve as a base of operations for IOCC disaster response or host Frontliners for group sessions with people after a traumatic event.
Frontliners first deployed after September 11, 2001, and have responded numerous times since. Deployments have followed floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters. There are now over 125 IOCC Frontliners from various Orthodox jurisdictions based throughout the United States.
- Orthodox Christian in good standing
- Fully completed application package with references
- Clergy in good standing with at least 1 year pastoral experience OR mental health professional with at least 1 year clinical or field experience (counselor, therapist, social worker, etc.)
IOCC accepts applications for the Orthodox Frontline on a rolling basis. New Frontliners are accepted based on their professional qualifications and appropriate levels of experience.
Your Commitment as an Orthodox Frontliner
- Complete IOCC Frontliner training
- Maintain appropriate credentials through continued education
- Be on standby and able to deploy to a disaster-affected area on short notice
- Commit to deploying at least 1 time per calendar year