Series 1:
Communal Trauma

In partnership with the Institute for Collective Trauma and Growth

Overview   |   Episodes   |   Faith Leaders & Partners   |   Purchase

On December 12, 2014, the life of Rev. Matthew Crebbin, Senior Minister of the Newtown Congregational Church, his congregation, and his community were changed forever when a gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School and murdered twenty children and six adults. For Rev. Crebbin, unimaginable grief was laid at his doorstep as he was called upon to heal his congregation, a situation for which he and his fellow Newtown clergy were unprepared. And once the initial shock and grief wore off, Rev. Crebbin began to wonder what his healing journey might look like five, ten or fifteen years down the road. The sacred space of healing took on a new perspective, and Odyssey Impact joined with Matt on this journey to create Series 1 focusing on faith leaders healing through communal trauma.

Series Host

Project Consultant

Series Episodes

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

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

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

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.

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LOOKING AHEAD AND MOVING FORWARD
(17 minutes)

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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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

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?

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

Series 1: Communal Trauma

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