When mass trauma hits, faith leaders are called upon to guide communities through the aftermath, but who reaches out to heal these healers and their families? This new media resource is designed to support clergy, laity, social workers, first responders, and other spiritual care providers facing community-level trauma. The five-part film series also offers a discussion guide which includes written reflections from scholars, clergy, and other experts.
In this series, Reverend Matthew Crebbin of Newton Congregational Church holds powerful conversations with faith leaders who have experienced mass trauma, such as Newton or during 9/11, and even those ministering to a community facing chronic violence such as Hartford, CT or St. Louis, MO.
This series does a remarkable job of touching on both traumatic events as well as addressing what the faith leaders and other responders have to deal with during times of traumatic events as well as the results for communities many years in the future.
The first episode is titled – Newtown Faith Leaders Unite in Tragedy. This episode includes self-awareness and self-care, phases of human-caused disaster as well as the impact on the families of faith leaders. It addresses the ideas of re-traumatization, moving forward and looking ahead.
The Very Rev. Kathleen E. Adams-Shepherd
The second episode is entitled “Looking Ahead and Moving Forward”. This episode features Reverend Kathleen Adams-Shepherd, who was formerly from Newton and currently lives in St. Louis. This episode includes the themes of mass tragedy and the Liturgical calendar, self-awareness, self-care, denominational as well as congregational support and more.
The third episode, “Pastoring in a Community That Faces Continual Trauma” addresses the topic of chronic gun violence. Rev. Crebbin speaks with Rev. Henry Brown of Mothers Against Violence of Hartford, CT, and Pastor Samuel Saylor, Sr., Senior Pastor of Gardner Memorial AME Zion Church. Both have personal connections to trauma that they discuss with Rev. Crebbin and discuss how they cope with the chronic stress, both mental and physical, that can result from ministering to a community re-traumatized continually by gun violence.
Father Basil O’Sullivan
Cantor Michael Shochet
The fifth episode, “Faith Leaders as First and Second Responders examines Cantor Michael Shochet’s journey from poiice officer to Cantor. He discusses his personal experiences of being at the Pentagon following 9/11 and the trauma of seeing his partner being shot in front of him. He discusses the similarities between faith leaders and the police in being first responders.
If you have experienced any type of personal trauma, you may want to think twice about watching this series. Or you may wish to contact a professional prior to watching it.
I loved the variety of people interviewed, especially their backgrounds (Christian and Jewish), a former police officer), and their willingness to share their own experiences.
As a mother of four, I can not begin to fathom what these individuals have been through and continue to live with each day. Yet this film does a remarkable job of addressing the issues facing communities and those called on to provide healing. This series contains powerful words and imagery. It provides an excellent look into what faith leaders may experience personally in their congregations and communities following acts of violence, whether those acts occur on a regular basis or unexpectedly such as the shooting at the school in Newton, CT.
You can see a trailer of the film below.
You can find the film series here. If you know of someone who could benefit from this resource, please share the link with them.
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I received free access to these episodes for my fair and honest review.