When mass trauma strikes, faith leaders are called upon to guide and sustain communities through the aftermath. Their role is to help us heal.

But who heals the healers?

Healing the Healers is a new media resource intended to support clergy, laity, social workers, first responders and other spiritual care providers facing community-level trauma. The five-part film series is accompanied by a discussion guide including written reflections by scholars, clergy and other experts.

In the series, Rev. Matthew Crebbin of Newtown Congregational Church, leads an important conversation with faith leaders who’ve experienced mass trauma, either suddenly, as at Newtown or during 9/11, or through ministering to a community facing chronic violence, such as Hartford, CT or St. Louis, MO.

For Immediate Support
If you, as a leader of your congregation, are experiencing a personal emergency or mental health crisis, call 911, the disaster distress helpline (800-985-5990), or the national suicide prevention lifeline (800-273-8255) for immediate assistance. If you are experiencing vocational distress, contact representatives at ictg.org, by emailing office@ictg.org, or by calling 805-364-4496, to receive personal care or coaching.

Today, for many clergy, the question is not IF we will be called to serve in the midst of physical, emotional and spiritual violence, but rather WHEN such a call might come.
Healing the Healers looks at the ongoing experiences not just in the first year after collective loss – but in the subsequent years, the year two, year five, and so forth and how the impacts of collective loss changes who you are as a person and who you are in your profession.

Episode Trailers

Episode 1

NEWTOWN FAITH LEADERS UNITE IN TRAGEDY

Three of Newtown's faith leaders reflect on their personal journeys in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook School shooting.

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NEWTOWN FAITH LEADERS UNITE IN TRAGEDY
(19 minutes)

Featuring: Rev. Mel Kawakami and Newtown clergy Rabbi Shaul Praver

Written Reflection: Phases of Disaster Response – Rev. Marvel Hitson, Director of Congregational Health & Trauma Chaplain, Institute for Collective Trauma and Growth

Themes: Self-awareness and self-care; Phases of human-caused disaster response; Impact on families of faith leaders; Congregational support of faith leaders; Re-traumatization; Moving forward and looking ahead; New wisdom

Episode 2

LOOKING AHEAD AND MOVING FORWARD

Rev. Kathie Adams-Shepherd discusses maintaining faith in the face of the tragedy in Newtown and how her experience informed her in ministering to those facing ongoing trauma.

watch the trailer

LOOKING AHEAD AND MOVING FORWARD
(17 minutes)

Featuring: Rev. Kathie Adams-Shepherd, formerly of Newtown Episcopal Church, and current Dean at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown St. Louis

Written Reflection: Moving Forward – Rev. Dr. Bruce Wismer, Co-Pastor, Pine Shores Presbyterian Church

Themes: Mass tragedy and the Liturgical calendar; Self-awareness and self-care; Denominational and congregational support of faith leaders; Stewarding survivors and community narratives; Where is God when evil happens?; Impact on families of faith leaders; Re-traumatization; Moving forward and looking ahead 

Episode 3

PASTORING IN A COMMUNITY THAT FACES CONTINUAL TRAUMA

Pastors Brown and Saylor examine the chronic stresses of ministering to the continually traumatized community of Hartford, CT, and consider what keeps them strong in their faith.

watch the trailer

PASTORING IN A COMMUNITY THAT FACES CONTINUAL TRAUMA
(22 minutes)

Featuring: Pastor Henry Brown, Mothers Against Violence of Hartford, CT and Pastor Samuel Saylor, Sr., Senior Pastor of Gardner Memorial AME Zion Church

Written Reflection: Pastoring in a Community That Faces Continual Trauma – Rev. Dr. Stephanie Crumpton, Asst. Prof. of Practical Theology, McCormick Theological Seminary

Themes: Personal impact of trauma; Faith and activism; Clergy as first-responder; Bringing hope to the grieving; Living with continual re-traumatization; Sweet justice versus street justice; Pastoring through chronic stress and violence; Building trauma informed ministries; Learning to respond to the tremors of trauma; Resiliency; Self-awareness and self-care; Recognizing the layers of community trauma

Episode 4

HEARTBREAK AND HOPE 20 YEARS AFTER TRAGEDY

Father Basil O'Sullivan reflects on the long-term implications of trauma in the 20 years since the Dunblane, Scotland elementary school shooting.

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HEARTBREAK AND HOPE 20 YEARS AFTER TRAGEDY
(16 minutes)

Featuring: Monsignor Basil O’Sullivan, Church of the Holy Family, Dunblane, Scotland

Written Reflection: The Story of the Tragedy – Michael Shochet, a Senior Cantor, Temple Rodef Shalom and leader of the Police Chaplain unit for metro D.C. police.

Themes: When time does not heal all wounds; Confronting depression; Choosing to stay; The Ministry of Presence; Asking questions of God; Re-traumatization; A different kind of bereavement; Rejoicing in the preciousness of life

Episode 5

FAITH LEADERS AS FIRST & SECOND RESPONDERS

Cantor and Police Chaplain Michael Shochet describes the similar pressures faced by faith leaders and first responders and how essential self-care and reflection is in both callings.

watch the trailer

FAITH LEADERS AS FIRST & SECOND RESPONDERS
(23 minutes)

Featuring: Cantor Michael Shochet, a Senior Clergy at Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, VA, and leader of the Police Chaplain unit for metro D.C. police

Written Reflection: Exploring Personal, Community and Theological Resources, and their Differences – Rev. Jessica Bratt Carle, Chaplain, Spectrum Health and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital

Themes: Immediate and long-term effects of trauma; Providing a ministry of presence; Personal impact of trauma; Compassion and support from those who’ve experienced trauma; Re-traumatization; Challenges in sustaining leadership after trauma; Self-awareness and self-care; Trusting in the rituals of faith; Does theology really help?

[This project] provides deep insight into the pain incurred by pastors as they endeavor to care for the broken and wounded. This documentary gives pastors permission to hurt, cry, and seek healing for themselves.
This project is an exceptional resource for caregivers, faith communities, and theological education, and is long overdue. It provides deep insight into the pain incurred by pastors as they endeavor to care for the broken and wounded. This documentary gives pastors permission to hurt, cry, and seek healing for themselves.
An invaluable resource in theological education. This film series delves into the lived experience of clergy on the ground, in a respectful, compelling, and informative way, which enables the future clergy to learn from those who have walked this path before.