An Inter-Institutional Action on Climate Change: Where Church and Military Leadership Meet

February 21st, 2024

This interactive Viewpoint session was an extension of our collaborative podcast series titled, An Inter-Institutional Action on Climate Change, where thought leaders in social institutions engage in dialogue to discover transformative learning opportunities to address climate change.

In this session, Lieutenant Colonel Vincent Virk and the Very Reverend Dr. Christopher Pappas shared the approaches to climate justice within their institutions.


Lieutenant Colonel Vincent Virk

Lieutenant Colonel Vincent Virk

Lieutenant Colonel Vincent Virk joined the Canadian Armed Forces (Army) Primary Reserves in 2001 as an Armoured Reconnaissance Officer. He has held various positions including Officer Commanding Reconnaissance Squadron, Regimental Second in Command and Chief Instructor of 39 CBG Training Establishment. He is currently the Commanding Officer of the British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught’s Own) which is an Armoured Cavalry Regiment in Vancouver, BC.
He has supported domestic operations on three occasions, as the Domestic Response Company Commander with Operation LENTUS (2018) in the fight against the BC Wildfires, with Operation LASER (2020) as part of CAF pandemic response plan and most recently as the Op LENTUS 23-08 Land Task Force Commander for wildfire fighting efforts in BC.
He attended the University of British Columbia and completed over 20 courses and qualifications through the Canadian Armed Forces such as the Information Operations Course at the Peace Support Training Center and the Joint Command and Staff Programme (Advance Joint Warfare Stream) with the Canadian Armed Forces College. In 2013 he was awarded the Queens Diamond Jubilee medal for his efforts in recruitment diversity.


The Very Reverend Christopher A. Pappas

The Very Reverend Christopher A. Pappas

Chris has been the Rector of Christ Church Cathedral and Dean of the Diocese of New Westminster since 2020. Before that, he was the Archdeacon for Congregational Development in the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton and Rector of Holy Trinity Anglican Church. Chris has served parishes in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Alberta. His focus is on leadership development and congregational growth. Before Church service, Chris worked as a Research Scientist at the Yale University School of Medicine and as the Assistant Secretary of the State for Connecticut. Chris received a B.S. in Biology from Trinity College in Hartford, CT, and a Ph.D. In Biomedical Science: Neuroscience from UConn, an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School, a Certificate in Anglican Studies from Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, and a D.Min. in Congregational Studies at Church Divinity School of the Pacific.

Chris has served on many civic and community boards and commissions in the US and Canada, as well as on several National Church committees including as the co-chair of the National Worship Conference. Chris is a strong proponent of ecumenism and interfaith activities and served the soldiers of the South Albert Light Horse as the regimental church padre and currently does the same for the British Columbia Regiment. He is active in promoting the Arts and the Environment, supporting those who have served in the military and building community.


Jamilee Baroud, Curriculum and Evaluation Consultant, LDDI



* This summary was generated using HARPA AI and subsequently edited by the LDDI team.

  • The conversation delves into the potential of moving beyond military applications, involving citizens in disaster response efforts alongside institutions like religious organizations.
  • The discussion emphasizes the role of chaplaincy and pastoral care during crisis situations, drawing from past experiences like the 9/11 response to support first responders and soldiers facing traumatic events during emergencies.
  • There’s a call for collaborative efforts between military, religious, and civic institutions to provide immediate relief, advocate for systemic change, and foster a sense of stewardship towards the environment and communities affected by climate-related disasters.
  • Open dialogue and diverse viewpoints are crucial for addressing climate change effectively without being narrow-minded or in denial.
  • Critical thinking and a culture of dialogue are essential within organizations to navigate complex challenges like climate change.
  • The church aims to educate and provide a framework for caring for the environment, emphasizing international connections and resources.
  • Addressing climate change requires critical thinking and proactive, informed actions to avoid unintended consequences.
  • Proactive measures, such as promoting a carbon fast during Lent and considering sustainable energy options, demonstrate a commitment to environmental stewardship.
  • Collaborative partnerships and shared values are vital for addressing climate change across diverse institutions and communities.
  • Communicating the importance of climate change and engaging with diverse perspectives within society, including government, corporations, and other stakeholders, is key to shaping attitudes and actions towards climate action.
  • Military’s role in international support and proactive approach.
  • Canada’s role in partnerships and executing frameworks for global change.
  • Reframing environmental discussions through faith organizations for positive impact.
  • Importance of transforming mindsets and community collaboration for sustainable change.


Listen to the podcast these panelists recorded on this topic previous to this session (Episode 1):