One of the things I really appreciate about the Affiliate program resources is the clear and consistent information that supports my understanding of trauma-informed ministry. As a professor and consultant to clergy and seminarians who are stressed and burnt out, the trauma informed resources help me to help them contextualize, grieve and grow through difficulties in ministry. In particular, I have found the assessment guide for Becoming a Trauma Informed Congregation to be something I use in almost every consultation these days. Being able to help faith leaders understand what is happening as "trauma" instead of some sort of personal moral failing seems revolutionary to so many folks! I'm a better advocate, better educator and better spiritual companion thanks to these materials and the community that I have started to meet.
Last year, I was informed that 65% + of the clergy (and seminarians) I work with have been impacted by trauma. I wasn't surprised - but I was concerned . . . In the months since, I have referred to the ICTG materials repeatedly to help clarify how messy and multigenerational the work of healing can be.
Among other things, I've learned how the work I do with "after pastors" fits into the trauma framework. In my context, after pastors are those clergy who replace or follow ministers who violated trust or committed misconducted in some way. And, in the "after pastor" congregations/communities I work with, there are unique hurts and predictable patterns that we can discern to strengthen personal and organizational resilience and build new, faithful understanding. I feel like I've gained a new community that appreciates the power of storytelling and deep listening as we lament the broken spirit that has come to be and as we mourn our losses. I find the assessment tools to be empowering and the commitment to "calm, connect and communicate" offers a new (daily!) mantra to me. From the authentic grief to the tentative new growth, the research and resources I have accessed validate and expand my work with new possibilities and abiding hope. I encourage everyone I work with to check out ICTG and think much of this material should be required reading (and practice!) for ordinands! Thank you thank you thank you!”
Rev. Michelle Favreult
Unitarian Universalist Minister
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