Bring congregants together, beginning with small groups, to discuss the events and how individuals have been affected. Allow for differing perspectives and experiences. As the conversations unfold, and as small groups become larger groups over time, empower congregants to explore how they can hold varying experiences for one another.
2. Bring the conversations into your common worship
Hamman notes how the prophet Joel exhorts us to call a sacred assembly. Through vigils, worship services, prayer services, and services of lament, congregations can come together after the trauma. Mourning can be practiced through the elements of worship, including preaching, music and corporate prayer, as well as rituals that fit the experiences of the congregation and allow for embodied expressions.
3. Engage in acts of compassion
Through compassion, listening, being moved, and being hospitable, the congregation will discover together healing steps forward. Hamman also teaches that "compassion helps us find our new identity" after trauma.
Trauma events inevitably bring about changes in a group or congregation's identity. Following these steps, congregations can begin the process of moving forward after tragedy in ways that honor one another, practice integrity, and provide safety for growth. You can learn more by viewing Hamman's short "Sustaining Congregational Leadership after Trauma," as well as other congregational responses to trauma on the ICTG "Response in Congregations" page.