JustPeace’s newly launched Soul Care Initiative is gaining steam in Pennsylvania. In addition to being interviewed by the Susquehanna Conference of the UMC’s “Susquehanna Xpress”, our intern Amanda Morningstar and I conducted two workshops throughout the state.
JustPeace is keenly aware of the impact trauma has on individuals, families, and communities. Often when invited to walk with faith communities experiencing conflict, we discover the depth of trauma in the fabric of the congregation or community. We continue to deepen our understanding about trauma healing and transformation and resources to support both individuals and communities.
Trauma is about a loss of connection – to ourselves, to our bodies, to our families, to others and to the world around us. This loss of connection is often hard to recognize, because it doesn’t happen all at once. It can happen slowly over time, and we adapt to these subtle changes sometimes even without noticing them. We may simply sense that we do not feel quite right, without ever becoming fully aware of what is taking place; that is the gradual undermining of our self-esteem, self confidence, feelings of well being and connection to life. (Levine, 2005)
- To learn more about trauma and resilience, we recommend the STAR program at Eastern Mennonite University.
- To learn more about Transforming Historical Harms, we recommend downloading this free resource by David Anderson Hooker and Amy Potter Czajkowski.
- Click here to learn more about the Soul Care Initiative
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In the Hebrew Bible there is a passage where the Psalmist declares: There is a place where Truth and Mercy have met; where Justice and Peace will kiss. Even though the current justice system is not that place, I pray that the residents of Ferguson and greater St. Louis metro can work to create such a place.
Brittany Spriggle Howell of the The Susquehanna Xpress, a video communications tool from Connectional Ministries of the Susquehanna Conference, recently sat down with Chaplain David Smith to discuss the JustPeace Soul Care Initiative. Watch the video.
“The Act of Killing” (2012) is a brilliant documentary in which the viewer embarks on an emotional journey with Anwar Congo. He is challenged by documentarian Joshua Oppenheimer to create a film depicting his experience as a celebrated executioner in the 1965 Indonesian genocide.
Our veterans who return from combat do so with a wound. Some have experienced a wound not so easily seen, a wound of the soul. Our nation has a special obligation to care for those who were wounded in service to our country. Even more so, the church has a calling to offer healing to our soul wounded warriors.
As the United Methodist Church and individual congregations are starting to explore their place in reaching out to veterans and caring for their needs, it is imperative to recognize the significance of our relationships with one another. Dr. Rita Brock said, “We must earn the right to hear the stories they have to tell.” If we do, maybe we will hear, “They love each other so much. Perhaps, they can love me too,” coming from anyone in our midst.
God’s presence was made real through the beauty of creation, story-telling, the unconditional love of a horse, conversation around the table, and worship with fellow journeyers. Across our country we have veterans returning from war. How can we journey with those who have experienced “soul loss?” The “horse doctor” is just one way.
Below are some links to articles, videos and stories that JustPeace staff have enjoyed this week. We hope you enjoy them too!
Pastor, are you ready to see the returning war veteran now? They are here and they need you. But be aware, when you open you door to the veteran, he or she will open your eyes to visions you may carry with you for the rest of your life.
“Holy Saturday,” the day between life and death, is the place where many returning military personnel and their families live, a theology professor told participants at a conference to help churches welcome home the warrior.