Episode 2

Looking Ahead and Moving Forward

Expanding on the conversation he began in the first episode, Rev. Crebbin talks with another Newtown colleague, Rev. Kathleen Adams-Shepherd, formerly of Newtown Episcopal Church, about her healing journey since the Sandy Hook School Shooting. Rev. Adams-Shepherd discusses maintaining faith in the face of tragedy, and talks about how her experience in Newtown prepared her to serve her new community. Rev. Adams-Shepherd is currently Dean at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown St. Louis, where she ministers to communities (inner-city St. Louis and Ferguson) that face ongoing trauma in the form of chronic gun violence.

Featuring

Rev. Kathleen 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

[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.
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 also how the impacts of collective loss changes who you are as a person and who you are in your profession.
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.

Featuring

The Very Rev. Kathleen E. Adams-Shepherd

Rev. Kathleen E. Adams-Shepherd has served as the Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, the Episcopal Cathedral in the Diocese of Missouri since January 2017. Previously, she served for as rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Newtown, CT, for over two decades.

Rev. Shepherd graduated from New York City’s Union Theological Seminary in 1981 and was ordained deacon by the Rt. Rev. John Coburn, Diocese of Massachusetts, and priest, by the Rt. Rev. O’Kelly Whitaker, Diocese of Central New York. While in seminary, she served on the staff of St. James’ Church, NYC; as curate and then, priest-in-charge at The Church of the Resurrection, Oswego, NY; and rector of Christ Church, Clayton, NY; St. John’s Church, Cape Vincent, NY; and Trinity Church, Newtown, CT.

In the Diocese of Connecticut, Rev. Shepherd has served as a Deanery Dean; a member of the Commission on Ministry; as chair of the Committee on the Diaconate; on the Diocesan Christian Formation Committee; on the Board of Trustees for the Bishops’ Fund for Children; and on the Bishops’ Fund Race Committee.

Since the tragic murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, Rev. Shepherd has been an active, outspoken advocate for victim families across the United States, especially in Sandy Hook and St. Louis, where multiple gun deaths happen weekly. She is a strong proponent of gun violence prevention initiatives and common sense gun laws.

Rev. Shepherd’s family is also active in serving the community. Her husband and daughter both work as therapists and her son is a former firefighter with Newtown Hook and Ladder and Dodgingtown Fire Department in Newtown township.

Written Reflection

The Rev. Dr. Bruce G. Wismer

Rev. Dr. Bruce G. Wismer is an ordained teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA), and has served in ministry for 35 years. He shares duties as co-pastor at Pine Shores Presbyterian in Sarasota, FL with his wife, Karen. Rev. Wismer graduated from Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC and received his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He has served on the boards of numerous non-profits and other community organizations. Rev. Wismer is also a member of the National Response Team of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance where he has aided in both natural disaster and human-caused events like those taking place in Newtown, CT, Boston, Orlando, and Parkland, FL. Rev. Wismer has also co-authored Recovering from Un-Natural Disasters: A Guide for Pastors and Congregations After Violence and Trauma, published by Westminster John Knox (2017).

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